The William Howard Taft Bridge, constructed between 1897 and 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, as well as cast-iron lampposts designed by Ernest C. Bairstow. The bridge had a significant influence on subsequent bridge construction in DC, especially on the aesthetic development of bridge design.
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, the overall form and appearance of the bridge were not affected.
DC Inventory: November 8, 1964 (Joint Committee on Landmarks)
National Register: July 3, 2003