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Photographs and blueprints of Washington State Highway Department: Bridges 1920 to 1931

Identifier: SC MS 0291

Scope and Contents

One box of 72 black and white photographs of assorted sizes among which are seven postcard bridge images and 39 blueprint images and specifications made for the State of Washington Department of Public Works Bridge Department in the 1920s. The 39 blueprints, four printed items and two samples of handwritten notes came in a black pebbled three-ring binder. The photographs originally were loosely included in the binder but now are filed in Mylar sleeves.


  • Creation: 1920-01-01 - 1931-12-31

Conditions Governing Access

Collection housed remotely. Users need to contact 24 hours in advance.

Conditions Governing Use

Collection is open for research. Please inquire about copyright information.

Biographical / Historical

The Washington State Department of Highways was officially created by legislature in 1905. As early as 1893 legislature designated a state highway to be built from Nooksack River in Whatcom County to the Columbia River at Marcus. In 1895 a connection road was built to an existing road near Marblemount in Skagit County. With the end of World War I, the allocation of federal aid funds for highway construction encouraged the state highway department to undertake its largest construction program at the time. Much of the money probably came from the PWA especially the Lake Washington Bridge Project and the Everett Marysville bridges. The bridges pictured in this collection are an indication of the State of Washington’s ambitious construction program of the 1920s. Division of authority between a state highway engineer and a non-technical state highway commission was not satisfactory as administration of the state highway operations was under the nominal supervision of the Director of Public Works. The Laws of 1923 abolished this division of highways. A state highway engineer was appointed by the governor. From 1925 to 1927, J. W. Hoover was appointed State Highway engineer, Charles E. Andrew was Bridge Engineer and James Allen was Supervisor of Highways. Charles Andrew was affiliated with several state highway departments: California, Oregon and Washington. Perhaps his greatest bridge project was the largest floating structure in the world in his time – the Lake Washington Floating Bridge opened in 1940. Currently the Washington State Department of Transportation operates and maintains 18,000 miles of state highways and owns and operates more than 3,600 bridge structures.


1 volume (1 box of 72 black and white photographs of assorted sizes among which are seven postcard bridge images and various blueprints and specifications made for the State of Washington Department of Public Works Bridge Department)

Language of Materials



Photographs and blueprints of highway bridges built in the 1920s as part of the State of Washington’s Public Works Department post World War I building program. Also some photographs of bridges built in California, apparently designed by Charles Andrew who was bridge engineer for California State Highway Department as well as Washington State Highway Department and Oregon.


The photographs are arranged roughly alphabetically and the blueprints as received bound in a three-ring leather binder. The photographs were loosely thrown in the binder. Now the photographs are filed in Mylar sleeves.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Collection was purchased.

Related Materials

Boswell, Sharon and McConaghy, Lorraine. 1996. “Lake Washington Bridge Project.” Seattle Times, June 16.

Related Materials

See the many collections that Lehigh University holds of photographs of historic bridges: Canton Bridge Company, King Bridge Company, Benjamin Franklin Bridge, etc.

Ilhan Citak and Eleanor Nothelfer
February 18, 2015
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Lehigh University Special Collections Repository

Lehigh University
Linderman Library
30 Library Drive
Bethlehem PA 18045 USA
610-758-6091 (Fax)