"Details of Bridge Over Aqueduct Piers"
"Details of Bridge Over Aqueduct Piers"
By Alfred L. Rives, 1857
Ink and wash on paper
15" x 411/2"
National Archives and Records Administration, Records of the Office of the Chief of Engineers

Potomac River Bridges: Aqueduct Bridge
The Aqueduct Bridge, built in 1833-44, was a wooden structure that spanned the Potomac River near the site of the present Key Bridge in Washington, DC. Its innovative two-story design allowed Chesapeake and Ohio Canal barge traffic to use the lower water-filled level to cross the Potomac River and continue along the Virginia branch of the canal to the port of Alexandria. The upper level was reserved for pedestrians, wagons, and carriages. This drawing by Alfred L. Rives, Army Engineer in Charge, shows his 1857 proposal for replacing the original wooden piers with masonry arches. The outbreak of the Civil War prevented implementation of this improvement.

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