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Deschutes River Bridge Tumwater

The Capitol Blvd. bridge was constructed in 1936-37 by the Bureau of Public Roads as a Federal Aid Project. Clark H. Eldridge was the bridge engineer. 

Named for P. H. Carlyon, longtime State Senator for Thurston County and a good roads advocate, the 18 span, 1,082 foot long concrete girder bridge carries the 48 foot roadway of Capitol Boulevard across the Deschutes River.

The bridge is a celebration of the Art Deco style with its chevrons, zigzags, and rectangular forms molded in low relief on the railings and columns of the bridge. It is one of the best examples within the state of the influence of Art Deco on bridge design.

The Olympian Stone Company of Seattle cast the totem poles which were proclaimed "the only cement totem poles in the world." Each totem pole is identical with four figures on it. 

The raven with a street light hidden in its long beak is at the top followed by a grizzly bear showing its teeth and elongated claws, an eagle, and another bear. The poles are done in what could be categorized as the Haida style, but with an Art Deco touch reminiscent of the twenties and thirties.

The lettering surrounding three of the totem poles advertises the history and geography of the area as the "South Gateway to the Puget Sound Country and the Olympic Peninsula;" the "Beginning of the Inside Passage to British Columbia and Alaska;" and the "Entrance to the City of Olympia Capital of the State of Washington." 

The fourth inscription is a historical reference to Tumwater when it was known as New Market: the "Site of the First American Pioneer Settlement in Washington 1845."

2011 map

Looking east

Looking south

Looking south

 


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