Can You Date This Old Photo of Cabin John Bridge?

Can anyone help date this image? We found it at the Library of Congress. It says it was done in 1852, though if I’m not mistaken, the bridge wasn’t completed until the 1860s.

Cabin John Bridge
Cabin John Bridge

Source: Library of Congress

About Tom

Tom founded Ghosts of DC on January 4th, 2012 as a blog to uncover the lost and untold history of Washington, D.C. He has lived in the city for over a decade and loves exploring every corner of the District.
  • Michael Rhode

    The format is a hand-tinted lantern slide which was popular roughly from the 1890s-1920, although it did exist earlier. And of course, it’s almost certainly a copy of an print image, just like a powerpoint slide might be today.

  • Kyle
  • Sarah

    It looks like the parapet is on the top – that wasn’t built until 1872.

  • Richard Cook

    Kyle (who commented earlier) has it right. this photo was taken sometime between spring of 1901 and, at the latest, 1904. The small foot bridge that spans the creek below the main bridge was built in the winter of 1900. The small cottage in the background under the bridge was the photo studio of Alexander Yowell, who also had a studio in Tennelytown. The best I can determine the studio closed around 1903-1904. The studio is still active in this photo as Yowell’s sign is still hanging on the porch railing.

    The footbridge and cedar stairway we built by the Bobingers who owned the Cabin John Bridge Hotel. Sarah’s date for the parapet is also correct, originally the bridge had railroad ties along the edges to the roadbed with NO RAILING!