Rivers in cities such as Washington, New York and Pittsburgh are an indispensable part of what makes their landscape so wonderful. They do create bottlenecks and traffic backups, but the bridges that span over the wide bodies of water also create very cool public spaces underneath.
One of them can be found in Georgetown, which I explored today. Roberta and I have enjoyed the walks along the river near the Key Bridge, but we never made it beyond the span.
The NPS has a terrific primer, reminding us the stone bridge abutment is a last, proud remnant of the Alexandria Aqueduct (aka the Potomac Aqueduct).
Note: The tidal lock of the canal in Alexandria could be considered a remnant of the canal, but I’m not sure anything old was left visible after the recreation of the tide lock.
Often overlooked are several stones at 901 N. Pitt Street. A marker notes — “These stones are remnants of Lock #4 of the Alexandria Canal which once occupied this site. Completed in 1843, the canal linked the Alexandria Waterfront with the C&O canal in Georgetown.
Anyway, Lady Luck smiled on me today. I met two individuals who were also checking out the Alexandria Aqueduct. Turns out they are with Georgetown Heritage, who is working in tandem with the National Park Service and other groups to restore Georgetown’s historic C&O canal.
Their latest news is landing the landscape architecture firm that designed Manhattan’s High Line Park. Interpretive marking will be included.
According to the club’s website, the Washington Canoe Club has produced national champions and Olympic medal winners.
Leisa Collins has stepped in to do her part and is selling her commissioned painting of the historic clubhouse. Half of the money will go to help preserve the building.
The other part of this walk is the enchanting Georgetown Park and riverside promenade. If your nerves get the best of you from too many long waits on the Key Bridge, make your way down here. It’s one of those special places you’ll find in river cities...