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Photo History of the Hague Bridge

A wood bridge that originally connected Norfolk with the plantations on the other side of Smith's Creek. This bridge may have existed for some two hundred years. The photo below was taken in 1888, a year before a storm destroyed this bridge:

 

In 1891 the steel Botetourt Street Bridge was built at the site of the old wood bridge. This was about the same time the western portion of Smith's Creek became known as "The Hague." The new bridge, which was paved with oyster shells, carried vehicular traffic and even streetcars between Norfolk and its new suburb of Ghent. The photo below of the Botetourt Street Bridge was taken in 1895:

 

Section of the 1891 bridge's handrail now in storage at the Chrysler Museum:

 

Detail of the original handrail pattern:

 

Remains of concrete pile cap from original bridge, with old timber piles still in place. Two such caps can be seen on either side of north foot of current bridge at low tide:

Photo of Mowbray Arch taken from the bridge in 1902:

 

Photo of the bridge, circa 1912, taken from the Freemason area, looking toward Ghent. The bridge was paved at some point for more modern vehicular traffic. Note too the streetcar tracks on the bridge with a streetcar approaching the bridge (on Botetourt Street, just to the right of the Holland House apartment building:

 

This old photo shows the streetcar tracks and cables in front of the Holland House apartment building where they turned off the bridge to proceed up Botetourt Street:

 

Circa 1940:

 

Photo of the bridge in 1956. The streetcar tracks have been removed. In 1963 automobile traffic was discontinued on the bridge, too. Only pedestrians and bicycles henceforth:

 

In 1976 the bridge was replaced with a new, narrower pedestrian bridge that incorporated some parts from the older bridge and maintained the historical bridge's general appearance.

 

New bridge's "quarry tile" handrail pattern, reminiscent of the original handrails:

 

Application to be listed in the Register of Historic Places:

 

The finished bridge:

 

Looking toward the Chrysler Museum:

 

A true footbridge:

 

On a busy day:

 

 

MowbrayArch.com

 

 

 

 

 

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