George Washington Papers

From George Washington to Thomas Jefferson, 21 March 1792

To Thomas Jefferson

Wednesday Afternoon [21 March 1792]

Dear Sir,

To morrow I shall be engaged all day—but will, in the course of it, fix a time to view the Big bones at Doctr Wisters.

I hope Mr Blodget does not begin to hesitate concerning the loan?—And I hope the Commissioners, when they are about it, will build a Stone bridge and a compleat one, over Rock Creek—it will be the cheapest in the end.1 Yrs sincerely

Go: Washington

ALS, DLC: Jefferson Papers.

1Jefferson added in a postscript to his letter to the commissioners for the District of Columbia of this day: “The President thinks the bridge over Rock creek should be of stone, and that it will be the cheapest in the end” (Jefferson Papers, description begins Julian P. Boyd et al., eds. The Papers of Thomas Jefferson. 40 vols. to date. Princeton, N.J., 1950—. description ends 23:320–21). The commissioners contracted with Baltimore builder Leonard Harbaugh to build a sixty-foot multiarched stone bridge that rose twenty feet over Rock Creek. The foundation stone of the Federal Bridge, the first permanent structure built by the commissioners, was laid with celebration on 4 July 1792, and the bridge was completed in early 1793. By that June, however, the central arch had begun to crumble as the bridge’s piers settled three feet. The commissioners decided to convert the bridge into a wooden drawbridge in the autumn of 1794 (see GW to David Stuart, 8 April, Stuart to GW, 18 April, and GW to Lear, 30 July 1792).

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