Don Gaspar Avenue BridgeUpstream (east) elevation, facing southwest
Dedicated on June 23 1934, the Don Gaspar Bridge opened a new crossing to the emerging Capitol Complex south of the Santa Fe River. Designed in the Pueblo Revival manner, the bridge is important for consciously applying the so-called “Santa Fe style” to a utilitarian structure. Made of a rigid-frame design, the bridge was the first of its type in New Mexico and became the standard for subsequent spans over the Santa Fe River. Construction of the Don Gaspar Bridge is tied directly to a New Deal program aimed at improving municipal transportation during the Depression. Created by Executive order of June 16, 1933, under the National Industrial Recovery Act, the program provided $400,000,000 to states for highway construction. Based solely on its population, New Mexico received $57,929.35 of the allotment for the year 1933. Under the act, 25 percent of the funds were to be used to extend federal aid system highways through municipalities. Titled the National Recovery Municipal (NRM) program, the program provided cities and towns federal funds to repair and improve their roadways that would have otherwise gone unattended during the Depression. In New Mexico NRM funds typically paid for road resurfacing projects, but included more substantial undertakings, such as the Don Gaspar Bridge, and large reinforced concrete railroad overpasses in Union, Otero, and Lincoln counties. Construction of the bridge began on February 6, 1934, with an estimated 40 men employed to build the span by its 120-day required completion date. Workers were taken directly from the local county relief rolls and paid 75 cents per hour for skilled labor and 50 cents for unskilled work.
Text extracted from National Register nomination.
Murphey, John W. "Don Gaspar Bridge." National Register of Historic Places nomination, 2002. Listed: 2002-10-16. Bibliography “A Modern Stone Bridge: Plans For a Structure That Should Be Built Across the Santa Fe River.” Santa Fe New Mexican. 11 April 1902: no page. Bowman, W.G. Letter to G.D. Macy, State Highway Engineer. 13 Aug. 1934. Miscellaneous project correspondence for NM 14-D. New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department Records Control, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Hayden, Arthur G. The Rigid-Frame Bridge. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1940. Keller, W.J. “Memorandum for Chief of the Bureau” 18 Jan. 1934. United States Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Public Roads, District No. 3. Collected in Record Group 30: U.S. Bureau of Public Roads. Santa Fe Office. Federal Aid Project Files, 1920-71, 8NS-030-93-046, Box 2 of 23 (62A-A36) File: NRM 14-D. National Archives and Records Administration, Rocky Mountain Region, Denver, Colorado. Macy, G.D. “New Mexico’s Recovery Road Program.” New Mexico July 1933: 14+. _____. Letter to J.A. Elliot. 13 Nov. 1934. Miscellaneous project correspondence for NM 14-D. New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department Records Control, Santa Fe, New Mexico. _____. “Closing the Gaps: A Look Around at New Mexico’s Federal Aid Road System and What Must Be Done to Make it Complete.” New Mexico. May 1934: 36+. _____. Biennial Report of the State Highway Engineer of the State of New Mexico. Santa Fe: State Highway Department, 1934. Murphey, John W. “Texas Historic Bridge Inventory: Survey of Non-Truss Structures.” Prepared for the Texas Department of Transportation, 1999. “Nearly 1,500 See Big Bridge Dedicated Saturday Night.”Santa Fe New Mexican. 25 June 1934: 3. New Mexico State Highway Commission. “Plan and Profile of Proposed State Highway U.S. Public Works Project No. N.R.M. 14-D, 1 Jan. 1934.” New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department Records Control, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Sanborn Map Company, Inc. Sanborn Fire Insurance Map for Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1930. Microfilm Collection, Historic Preservation Division, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Strohm, William E. “Rigid-Frame Concrete Bridge in Pueblo Style Architecture.” Engineering News-Record 25 October 1934: 534. Slye, John L. Letter to G.D. Macy, State Highway Engineer. 29 Jan. 1934. Miscellaneous project correspondence for NM 14-D. New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department Records Control, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Sze, Corrine P. and Beverly Spears. Santa Fe Historic Neighborhood Study. Santa Fe: City of Santa Fe, 1988. “$37,000 Bridge One of the Finest, Most Durable.” Santa Fe New Mexican. 25 June 1934: 3. Williamson, A.V., et al. “Report of Inspection Trip, F.A.P. #88, Santa Fe-Algadones [sic], New Mexico. 24 Jan. 1929.” New Mexico State Highway and Transportation Department Records Control, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Woodman, Pierre. “Santa Fe Dedicates ‘El Puente de Los Conquistadores.’” New Mexico. July, 1934: 13+.
Project originally submitted by John Murphey on January 24, 2015.
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