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WPA builds Cowen Park Bridge in Seattle's Ravenna neighborhood in 1936. Essay 3132 : Printer-Friendly Format

In 1936, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) builds the Art Deco style Cowen Park Bridge nearly 60 feet above the Ravenna Creek bed. The architecturally notable bridge is made from reinforced concrete. It is part of 15th Avenue NE at 60th Street, located at the northern end of the University District, the western end of the Ravenna District, and the southern end of the Roosevelt District.

The bridge engineer was Clark Eldridge. Architectural historian Lawrence Kreisman gives this description of the bridge:


The open spandrel reinforced-concrete arched bridge springs from abutments ... .The arch, with its vertical pier abutments and deck supporting members, embodies the successful marriage of engineering and aesthetics. Fluting on the piers and columns emphasize the verticality and apparent lightness of the structure, At the portals and over the piers, zigurat-like projections embellish 12 foot tall attenuated Art Deco light standards. This bridge is the finest of a number of bridges constructed under the Works Progress Administration ... ."

Lawrence Kreisman, Made To Last: Historic Preservation in Seattle and King County (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999), 69.

Travel through time (chronological order):
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Special Suite: Bridges |

Related Topics: Landmarks | Roads & Rails | Seattle Neighborhoods |

Licensing: This essay is licensed under a Creative Commons license that encourages reproduction with attribution. Credit should be given to both and to the author, and sources must be included with any reproduction. Click the icon for more info. Please note that this Creative Commons license applies to text only, and not to images. For more information regarding individual photos or images, please contact the source noted in the image credit.
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Major Support for Provided By: The State of Washington | Patsy Bullitt Collins | Paul G. Allen Family Foundation | Museum Of History & Industry | 4Culture (King County Lodging Tax Revenue) | City of Seattle | City of Bellevue | City of Tacoma | King County | The Peach Foundation | Microsoft Corporation, Other Public and Private Sponsors and Visitors Like You

This essay made possible by:
The SCHOONER Project:
The Hon. Jan Drago
Seattle City Council
Seattle Department of Neighborhoods

Cowen Park Bridge (Clark Eldridge, 1936), Seattle, September 2001
Photo by Priscilla Long

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