Photo of the week for 12/28/2009

Construction of State Street Bridge Pylons, c1928

Construction of State Street Bridge Pylons, c1928

The State Street Bridge, which spans 1,312 feet over Paxton Creek, Cameron Street, and several railroad lines, was constructed between 1926 and 1930 as part of the development of the Capitol Complex. Otherwise known as the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Bridge, in 1919 it was planned as a memorial to those who fought in WWI. Architect Arnold Brunner was responsible for the conceptual design while fellow New Yorkers William Gehron and Sidney Ross revised Brunner's plans after he died in 1925.

The Historic American Engineering Record describes the bridge as "a monument to the heroism of both Pennsylvanians specifically and Americans in general... The western approach is marked by two 143'-0" pylons topped with carved war eagles representing the army and the navy. Each pylon measures 25'-0" by 16'-0" at its base and 13'-6" by 22'-6" at its top. The eagles each weigh approximately 300 tons and rise 21'-0" high, and required thirty-six stones each. The dates of all major wars in which the United States had participated by 1930 are incised into the pylons beneath the eagles. Around the base of each pylon is a limestone terrace. The names of pivotal battles in U.S. military history up to 1930 are inscribed around the walls of this area. Massive cylindrical metal and glass light standards mark the corners of the parapet wall around the base of each pylon."

For more information, view the HARB/HAER page at: Photo ID: MG698-208.

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