85th Birthday Of The Benjamin Franklin Bridge

Benjamin Franklin Bridge

The Benjamin Franklin Bridge celebrates its 85th birthday in July. First time it was opened on July 1, 1926. The project was designed by Paul Philippe Cret and was constructed by Ralph Modjeski.

Paul Philippe Cret was born in France, but settled in Philadelphia. He started his firm, that is operating today under the name H2L2.  It is now the oldest architectural firm in the country.

“We’re sitting in the Cret Library at our office,” said senior partner Barry Eiswerth during a recent tour for CBS News, “and this was designed in 1926, about the same time as the bridge. It’s art deco. These pieces of furniture here were mockups for the furniture at the Federal Reserve Board.”

Originally, The Ben Franklin Bridge was named the “The Delaware River Bridge” and was grey.

“ In 1976, when it was time to repaint it, the Cret firm was brought in to decide on a new color.  Eiswerth says they came up with a couple of alternatives,” CBS reports. “A really beautiful blue that looks good in a grey sky, in a bright sky, and at night as the sun is setting.  The other choice was an eggplant color.”

“The Ben Franklin Bridge connects Camden, New Jersey to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and crosses the Delaware River and carries more than 100,000 vehicles a day.”, says the Delaware River Port Authority who owns the bridge) on the official web-site. It is one of the world’s largest suspension bridges, 57th longest.

One of the most amazing facts about the Ben Franklin Bridge is that when the bridge opened, there were no posted speed limits.  Drivers were expected to just use their common sense.

“ The Ben Franklin Bridge is a popular image in movies and TV. You can see it in the opening credits of the cable TV series “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia”, and movies such as Philadelphia, Blow Out,Twelve Monkeys,Fallen,Transformers 2, Rocky,Love and Dancing”.

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