Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Great Bridge Bridge

Yesterday I mentioned the old "Great Bridge" Bridge,
a small 2-lane swing bridge over the confluence of the Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal
and the southern branch of the Elizabeth River.
Several years ago, the swing bridge was replaced with a solid, 4-lane drawbridge,
called a bascule bridge. It's visible at the far left of this photo: 

A better view is from the other side, across Battlefield Boulevard:

And that's the second thing that is unique about this area.
It is historically significant.
According to the Great Bridge Battlefield & Waterways History Foundation,
the Battle of Great Bridge was the first decisive land victory in the Revolutionary War.
For eleven days in December 1775,
cannons fired and smoke clouded the sky as British and American troops battled to the death.
It's hard to imagine this peaceful place was once the site of such bellicosity.
Once a battlefield, now a park, today Great Bridge
 is patrolled only by a  gaggle of geese:

The conflict here was waged and largely forgotten,  
and time ebbed and flowed like water passing under a bridge. 
 And in that time, the canal's bridges aged and were replaced by newer, better models. 
Perhaps the new Great Bridge Bridge lacks the charm of its predecessors,
but it makes up for it in style:
Each end rises in an elegant curve,
making the bridge look a lot like an ancient sailing vessel.
When the draw is up, the curved ends rest near the roadway.

The park is a place of history and a lasting peace.
It makes me think of this proverb:
"still waters run deep."

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