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Old St. Georges Bridge

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1939–1941, Parsons, Klapp, Brinckerhoff and Douglas, engineers, with Aymar Embury II, architect. U.S. 13 over the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal
  • Old St. George's Bridge (Delaware Postcard Collection, University of Delaware Library, Newark, Del)

In January 1939, the steamship Waukegan crashed into the original St. Georges Bridge, which collapsed. This high-level replacement bridge spans 540 feet and stands 135 feet over the canal. A New York City engineering firm provided a tied-arch design (where the arch's horizontal forces are borne by the bridge deck rather then the bridge foundations), a type more common in Europe than in the United States. Architect Embury had consulted on the Triborough and Bronx-Whitestone bridges, New York. Plans survive (at Hagley Museum) that show construction details down to the last rivet. The bridge utilized 7,500 tons of steel, fabricated by Phoenix Iron and Steel. Its opening in January 1942 was timely, as the war brought a boom in canal and highway traffic. Once the new DE 1 bridge opened (PR13), demolition of this earlier span was considered but rejected. Flaking lead-paint chips have raised health concerns among local residents.

Writing Credits

W. Barksdale Maynard


What's Nearby


W. Barksdale Maynard, "Old St. Georges Bridge", [St. Georges, Delaware], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Delaware

Buildings of Delaware, W. Barksdale Maynard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2008, 200-201.

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