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Bow Bridge

Bridge 5

Bow Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: September 3, 2019

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Pedestrian Walkway Over The Lake
Location
New York: Manhattan, New York: United States
Structure Type
Metal Hingeless Deck Arch, Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1862 By Builder/Contractor: Janes, Kirtland and Company of New York, New York and Engineer/Design: Calvert Vaux and Jacob Wrey Mould

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
1974
Main Span Length
87 Feet (27 Meters)
Structure Length
142 Feet (43 Meters)
Roadway Width
Not Available
Spans
1 Main Span(s)
NBI Number
2246160

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

With its long, graceful span, this is the most famous of the nationally significant cast iron arch bridges in Central Park. The arch span is the longest in the park. It also retains unique iron post-tensioned floorbeams that appear to be original to the bridge. Thus this bridge stands out as the most substantial engineering work among the cast iron bridges. The bridge width is 15 feet 8 inches (4.78 m) and the bridge height is 9 feet 6 inches (2.90 m).

The Historic American Engineering Record lists the builder of this bridge as J. B. & W. W. Cornell Iron Works of New York, New York (who built other arches in the park), but other sources (including the former Greensward Foundation) list Janes, Kirtland and Company of New York, New York, the company who cast the dome of the US Capitol. The Greensward Foundation further documents this history and notes that the bridge was being built at the same time as the order for the casting of the US Capitol dome was placed, and that the bridge was "rushed to completion" with some minor changes made to speed the construction. Given this detailed history, HistoricBridges.org is assuming the history from the Greensward Foundation is correct, and that the Historic American Engineering Record is in error. 

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Data Pages, PDF

Above: View under bridge showing unusual floorbeams.

Above: Calvert Vaux

Above: Jacob Wrey Mould


This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Cast Iron

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Photo Galleries and Videos: Bow Bridge

 
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Bridge Photo-Documentation
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A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer

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Maps and Links: Bow Bridge

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