Dumbarton Bridge (Q Street Bridge)

dumbarton-bridgeI fell in love with this bridge — crossing Rock Creek Park and connecting Dupont circle and Georgetown — when I first found it in 1994. Something like this would never be built today, not merely because of the cost for the natural stone, but mostly because of the Native American faces that are at the bottom of each arch.

I’m sure that today such imagery would be considered not PC enough. What’s odd is that when the bridge was being built in 1914-15, the use of indigenous imagery was considered a tribute to the original Americans, and was done in part due to the fear that such peoples would cease to exist in the future.

indian-headOne of the things that is spectacular with this bridge, and in keeping with the spirit of the American West, are the four large sculptures of bison (buffalo) by Alexander Phimister Proctor. When you are up close and personal with the bison, you get a good sense of how truly massive and noble they are. I was particularly surprised at just how wide the heads are.

Another thing I discovered, much to my joy, is that there is a Proctor museum, and they actually have limited edition bronzes of many of Proctor’s more popular sculptures, including the bison.Q street bisonBison front view


2 Responses to “Dumbarton Bridge (Q Street Bridge)”

  1. […] guessing that many more people are familiar with the lions on the Taft Bridge and the bison on the Dumbarton Bridge than they are with the tigers on the Piney Branch Bridge (16th street bridge) just north of Spring […]

  2. Natalie H Says:

    I love those bison. I actually liked them more when they were stained green but I still like them cleaned up. I didn’t know about the scheduled cleaning since I don’t live in Gtown any more so was pretty shocked when seeing them recently. Since it’s going to take about 75 years to get that green patina again I won’t be around for round 2. Sigh.

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