Some big steel girders are resting, rusting, near the water's edge. A construction trailer is aging nearby. But the site, just upstream from Key Bridge, belongs to a few fishermen and scraggly wildflowers and a horde of fast-advancing weeds.

In the '60s it was a battleground: the District end of the Three Sisters Bridge. The highway builders marshaled all their gear. Protesters followed, marching up the gravel road to fight the very ideal of ramming several lanes of traffic across the placid Potomac there. Congress told the city to build. The courts said no. The standoff lasted quite a while. Then, gradually, the climate changed. The bridge was striken from the maps. Finally the money went to Metro, which has now reached Rosslyn without ruining the riverfront.

These days the site is overlooked and overgrown. The District plans to clean it up, so people can meander there and enjoy the rocks and riverscape that have been saved. Perhaps, though, the big girders should not be hauled away. They are historic relics, like the rusty cannon of an ancient war. If they were left, yesterday's protesters could bring their children down, show them the fading "No Trepassing" stencisl on the stell and reminisce about the bridge that is not going to be. We could even name this scrap of reclaimed riverfront the Three Sisters Battlefield Park, in memory of a major civic war that ended happily.