Go for a hike through Glover-Archbold park, just beyond Georgetown University, and you may happen upon this mysterious rusting hulk. The steel pratt-truss bridge floats high overhead and disappears at either end into the camouflage of densely overgrown canopy. On top, a fresh generation of saplings have taken root amidst the rotting 120-year-old timbers.
The bridge is one of the last remaining pieces of the old streetcar system that carried District residents around the city for a century, long before the subway opened. This particular line opened in 1896 and ran from Georgetown into Glen Echo, Maryland, with the 280-foot-long bridge lifting traffic over the valley around the Foundry Branch stream.
The last trolleys ran over the Foundry Branch Trestle in January 1960 and ownership passed to the WMATA subway authority. Over the subsequent decades, the bridge fell into disrepair, and by 2008 the D.C. Preservation League was warning that it is “barely standing with the help of improvised cables.” Following inspections in 2014, the National Park Service and WMATA are currently working to stabilize the trestle and and build a covered walkway underneath in case of falling debris.
Know Before You Go
The trestle is unstable and not fit for climbing; enjoy it from the safety of ground level.