Over the summer, the Student Conservation Association (SCA) and the National Park Service Youth Programs Division were excited to visit SCA’s Battery Kemble crew at Rock Creek Park on July 29, 2021 to check out the hard work they had been putting in for the past seven weeks. This crew worked for ten weeks on the removal of a deteriorated bridge and building of a new 30-foot bridge to provide easier and safer access for trail users.
The name for the crew refers to the Battery Kemble Park, where the bridge was being repaired. It was part of the Civil War Defenses of Washington (also called Fort Circle) and was completed in 1861. Most of the Army and Navy guns were made here during the Civil War. The park got its name from the former superintendent of West Point Foundry, Gouverneur Kemble of Cold Spring, New York.
It was a small, but mighty team of five: Crew leader Leopald Sawyers and four crew members. Maxwell Newman also provided guidance as a former SCA member and current National Park Service maintenance worker. It was the first time any of them had built a bridge before. The original bridge was made from cables. Maxwell explained that “Once the bridge is demoed, they do the rock enforcement, focusing on repairing the abutment. A lot of it was surveying and figuring out our bridge height. The old bridge was not level; this is level. There is a slight arch in the bridge. That is the type of material we bought, and [it] is designed to actually span long distances without support in the middle, so it comes with a pre-loaded arch in it.”