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Interpreting the Evidence

George Washington Bridge, New York City, 1935

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    The Great Depression and WW II (1929 - 1945)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:


  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:

    New York City
    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load George Washington Bridge, New York City, 1935 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
People crossing New York City’s George Washington Bridge in vehicles and on foot, 1935.
Historical Context
Construction of the George Washington Bridge started in October 1927 and was completed on October 24, 1931.  It was opened to traffic the following day. Initially called the Hudson River Bridge, it is named in honor of George Washington, the first president of the United States.

The bridge was opened to accommodate six lanes of traffic, but in 1946 two additional lanes were opened on what is now the upper level. A second, lower deck was included in the original plans but not built at that time; it was added and opened to the public in 1962. The additional deck increased the capacity of the bridge by seventy-five percent, making the George Washington Bridge the world's only fourteen-lane suspension bridge by providing eight lanes on the upper level and six on the lower deck.

Essential Question
How does the availability of transportation affect the economic and cultural aspects of a society?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and evaluate the impact of George Washington Bridge on local communities.
Historical Challenges
Who designed the George Washington Bridge? What other bridges did he design?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Math: How many years did it take to completely finish constructing the George Washington Bridge?