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Benjamin Franklin Bridge (Delaware River Bridge)

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Delaware River Bridge
1919–1926, Ralph Modjeski and Leon Moissieff, engineers; Paul P. Cret. N. 5th and New sts. and Delaware River
  • Benjamin Franklin Bridge (Delaware River Bridge) (Richard Guy Wilson)
  • Benjamin Franklin Bridge (Delaware River Bridge) (Richard Guy Wilson)
  • (University of Pennsylvania, Architectural Archives)
  • (University of Pennsylvania, Architectural Archives)
  • (University of Pennsylvania, Architectural Archives)
  • (University of Pennsylvania, Architectural Archives)
  • (University of Pennsylvania, Architectural Archives)
  • (Photograph by Karen Kingsley)

Completed in time for the nation's sesquicentennial celebration, this bridge marked the maturation in the design of suspension bridges, and for several years, until the completion of the George Washington Bridge in New York City, was the longest in the world with a span of 1,750 feet. Juxtaposed against the small scale of eighteenth-century brick houses and churches, the bridge's soaring towers of riveted steel and the parabolic curve of the suspension cables are reminders of two centuries of technological transformation along the banks of the Delaware River. The massive stone buttresses at the ends, the gracious plazas at each end, and a cool classical office building for the bridge commission on the Camden side show Cret's influence and mark the urbane pleasures of bridges at the onset of the automobile age. In 1986, the bridge was lighted with an imaginative scheme devised by Steven Izenour of Venturi, Scott Brown and Associates that typically marks the movement of the cross-river trains and can be played like a giant color organ, with a console lighting each chord.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Benjamin Franklin Bridge (Delaware River Bridge)", [Camden, New Jersey], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 47-47.

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