WPA builds Cowen Park Bridge in Seattle's Ravenna neighborhood in 1936.

  • By Priscilla Long
  • Posted 3/24/2001
  • HistoryLink.org Essay 3132
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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.

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