George C. Platt Bridge

Coordinates: 39°53′53″N 75°12′42″W / 39.89806°N 75.21167°W / 39.89806; -75.21167

The George C. Platt Memorial Bridge is a through truss bridge that carries PA 291 (Penrose Avenue) over the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. It was opened to traffic in 1951, replacing a swing bridge to the south which carried Penrose Ferry Road across the river. Originally called the Penrose Avenue Bridge, it was renamed in the late 1970s to honor Civil War hero George Crawford Platt (1842–1912).

The bridge passes over an oil refinery (originally owned by Gulf Oil, now by Sun Oil). It has been imperiled a few times by fires at the refinery. On August 17, 1975, fire broke out in a tank to the northeast of the bridge that was being filled with Venezuelan crude oil. As the fire enveloped much of the refinery, several explosions put a large crack in a smokestack next to the bridge. Officials closed the bridge for several hours, fearing that the stack might collapse or the fire might damage the bridge.

In 1986, two bronze bas-reliefs of Platt's visage were mounted on poles at each end of the bridge. The works were commissioned by Platt's great-great-grandson, Lawrence Griffin Platt, who raised $10,000 with the help of a former Gulf Oil executive, and were sculpted by Philadelphia artist Reginald E. Beauchamp. Both were later stolen, the first in 1987, and the second some time later. A $500 reward offered by the Philadelphia Daily News in 2002 was unsuccessful in securing their return.

Building Activity

  • OpenBuildings
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    about 5 years ago via Annotator
  • OpenBuildings
    OpenBuildings updated a digital reference
    about 5 years ago via OpenBuildings.com