The William Howard Taft Bridge, constructed from 18987 to 1907, represents the culmination of 19th-century bridge design, exemplifying the transition from utilitarian structures to artistic monuments. Originally known as the Connecticut Avenue Bridge since it carries Connecticut Avenue over the Rock Creek valley, the bridge was renamed in memory of William Howard Taft after his death in 1930. The only masonry bridge designed by noted engineer George S. Morison, the Taft Bridge was the largest monolithic concrete bridge of its time. Edward Pearce Casey was the supervising architect. The bridge incorporates innovative concrete sculpture by Roland Hinton Perry, designer of the Neptune Fountain at the Library of congress, and cast iron lampposts designed by Ernest C. Bairstow. The Taft Bridge represents Morison's work in concrete and because it is an excellent example of a monolithic concrete bridge. Because of its influence on subsequent bridge construction in the District of Columbia and its role in the aesthetic development of bridge design, it is also an embodiment of high artistic values. The period of significance for the bridge is restricted to its years of construction, 1897-1907.
The 52-foot wide bridge features sculpted lions molded of concrete and decorative cast iron lampposts embellished with eagles. Although the roadway was widened and the walkways diminished in 1936, this change has not affected the overall form and appearance of the bridge.
DC Inventory: November 8, 1964
National Register: July 3, 2003