JOHN KELLY: Why is the Roosevelt Bridge missing its sculptures? – The Post
The Theodore Roosevelt Bridge which carries Interstate 66 and US 50 across the Potomac River between Arlington, Va. and Washington, D.C. was originally slated to have sculptures. Kelly explains why it never happened:
Mrs. Fraser’s design called for four plaques symbolizing Teddy Roosevelt’s character traits. They were called “Courage,” “Foresight,” “Leadership” and “Power” and were in a heroic, classical style: muscled, semi-naked warriors clutching swords, etc. The designs were approved by the Commission of Fine Arts in 1959, and Fraser’s scale plaster models were shipped to Washington some time after that. And then, a published source notes, “for some reason not fully apparent to her, they were placed in storage.”
The reason may have been that the designs were, well, kind of ugly. To Answer Man they look like toy action figures, oddly ill-proportioned. The minutes from the arts commission’s September 1963 meeting note that the head of the District’s highways and traffic department was leaning against executing Fraser’s design. The plaster maquettes were subsequently lost. Fraser died in 1966 with what she considered one of her greatest works never completed.
In 1985, there are an another attempt to come up with some appropriate sculptures but that also stalled.
I’d like to see some appropriate sculptures added to the bridge, but I’m not holding my breath. In the meantime, it would be great if they could paint it and get rid of all the rust. I’ll never be a beautiful bridge, but there is no reason it needs to be an ugly one.
Somehow, there is a Let Teddy Win angle to this…
Signs: Shields Up!