Longfellow Bridge Receives ‘Most Important Historic Preservation Award’ in U.S.

Award-winning bridge designer and longtime Beacon Hill resident Miguel Rosales was on hand to receive what is considered the most important historic preservation accolade in the U.S. for restoration work on the Longfellow Bridge on Oct. 11 at the Downtown Sheraton in Denver, Colo.

“Having the Longfellow Bridge receive the highest national recognition bestowed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, should be a great source of pride to the residents of Massachusetts,” wrote Rosales of receiving the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation National Preservation Award. “I am hopeful that the outstanding preservation of the landmark Longfellow Bridge will inspire other communities in the country to continue to preserve and restore historic bridges while also strengthening and enhancing them to meet modern standards. After being involved in the project for close to 15 years, it is rewarding that the bridge preservation effort is being recognized with this great honor.”

Miguel Rosales and Brian Olp from STV, Engineers of Record for the Longfellow Bridge rehabilitation project.
The Longfellow Bridge.

Rosales, who was also the leading architect behind the Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Bridge, helped oversee the $300 million-plus rehabilitation of the iconic “salt-and-pepper bridge” that spans the Charles River from Boston to Cambridge across the Charles River. Named for Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, the bridge was originally built in 1907 and hadn’t been upgraded since the 1950s until the most recent restoration was completed last year.

Besides the Longfellow, other recipients of this year’s Driehaus Awards are the Unity Temple in Oak Park, Ill., a beloved Frank Lloyd Wright-designed building that recently underwent a $25 million facelift; and South Street Landing in Providence, R.I., a former power plant that has been repurposed as a shared use space for local universities after sitting vacant for 17 years.

“We are thrilled to support the National Trust awards program and honor the preservation talent that is celebrated every year,” Anne Lazar, executive director of the Driehaus Foundation, stated in a press release. “The winners this year from Oak Park, Providence, and Boston are such fine examples of respecting the past, acknowledging the present and enriching the future.”

The Longfellow project has also earned a Preservation Achievement Award from the Boston Preservation Alliance, as well as a Massachusetts Historical Commission Preservation Award.

Rosales also designed the $12.5 Frances Appleton Pedestrian Bridge as a major component of the Longfellow project. The 230-foot-long, steel arch span that links Beacon Hill/Charles Circle to the Charles River Esplanade opened last year. It is named for “Fanny” Appleton, Longfellow’s wife, as a lasting testament to their courtship during the 1840s when he crossed the Charles River from Cambridge to Beacon Hill each day to visit her.

To date, the Appleton has also been recognized with the Arthur G. Hayden Medal, an international award recognition for bridge innovation and design, as well as the 2019 American Architecture Award from the Art Institute of Chicago.

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