Brandywine Creek Bridges, Wilmington
Brandywine Park occupies both sides of Brandywine Creek on the northeast side of downtown Wilmington, Delaware. The park abuts the Brandywine Village Historic District, which was the home of flour mills in the late 1700s. To support the flour mills, the creek within the park was developed into a series of historic weirs and mill runs. The area was preserved as a park in 1886, and includes the Brandywine Zoo, a historic rose garden, recreational facilities, and several bridges.
The most unusual of the bridges is the Brandywine Creek Footbridge, which was constructed in 1909. The bridge is a small-scale, pedestrian-only suspension bridge similar to mill bridges that are designated as “swinging” bridges, and that were used for workers to access their jobs at a mill operation. However, the bridge was constructed after the area had been designated as a park, and it is not clear that it ever served a mill operation.
The park is also the home of the Van Buren Street Bridge, a concrete arch bridge constructed in 1906. This bridge still carries traffic within and through the park, providing a connection between downtown and the Zoo. The bridge spans the creek on three arches, and has decorative flourishes on its closed spandrels and on the railings.