Dumbarton Bridge (Buffalo Bridge)

The Buffalo Bridge is a sandstone and reinforced concrete structure that crosses Rock Creek Valley at Q Street.

Constructed between 1912 and 1915, the Dumbarton or Buffalo Bridge is 261 feet long, 50 feet wide, and 65 feet high, carried by five round arches. These arches are small enough to allow the curve, but large enough to give a massive, impressive appearance, their proportions influenced by the proportions of arches of Roman aqueducts.

The bridge is constructed of sandstone from Kingswood, West Virginia, and reinforced concrete made from sands and gravels which yield a color similar to the sandstone. In 1915 the color was said to be "a rich, reddish, warm buff."

Some of the bridge's decorative features have American sources. The most obvious of these are the approximately eight-foot-high bronze buffaloes which stand on pedestals flanking the east and west entrances of the bridge. The pairs of standing bison face each other. Another interesting decorative feature are the corbels, featuring stylized heads modeled on a life mask of the Native American chief Kicking Bear.

DC Inventory: November 8, 1964
National Register: July 16, 1973

Images

Map

Q Street NW, over Rock Creek Park