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Day 187: The Colorado Street Bridge

Who has a tale to share about this Pasadena landmark?

I know that many of us refer to this bridge by its sinister nick name, Suicide Bridge. Day 187 of 365 Things To Do in Pasadena takes us back to the Pasadena Days of Old.  Continuing with our Pasadena History theme, let us reminisce back to the year 1913.

The beautiful Colorado Street Bridge spans 1,467 feet across the Arroyo Seco, a deeply cut canyon linking the San Gabriel Mountains to the Los Angeles River.  Many people refer to the bridge as the Arroyo Seco Bridge, but that is incorrect! The bridges true name is indeed The Colorado Street Bridge; named after what is now Colorado Boulevard, but what was then known as Colorado Street.

In Pasadena’s early days, before the bridge was built, crossing the Arroyo Seco was quite an adventure. Horses and wagons descended the steep eastern slope, crossed the Arroyo Seco stream over a smaller bridge, and then climbed up the western bank through the Eagle Rock Pass.

Unfortunately, many of us know this bridge not for its Beax Arts arches, ornate lampposts and railings, but rather for the stories of suicide.

The first suicide took place on the bridge on November 16, 1919 and was followed by a number of others especially during the Great Depression. But, did you know that the first tragedy on the bridge occurred before construction was even complete?

Allegedly, one of the bridge workers toppled over the side of the bridge and plunged head first into a vat of quick wet cement. His co-workers assumed he could not be saved in time and left his body in the quick-drying cement! His soul, is one of many believed to be lingering underneath the haunted bridge.

We’ll leave those stories for a later day…

By the 1980’s the historic Pasadena bridge had fallen into great despair, chucks of concrete had begun to fall from its arches and railings, and after the 1989 Loma Preita Earthquake near Oakland, CA, the bridge was closed as a precautionary measure.

Eventually, federal, state and local funds provided some $27 Million dollars to renovate the bridge and it was re-opened in 1993, complete with its original detail plus a suicide prevention rail.

Though the number of suicides have dramatically decreased, the Colorado Street Bridge to this day retains both its supernatral stories and the nickname, Suicide Bridge.

Do YOU have a Colorado Street Bridge story you would like to share? We are DYING to hear it! 😉

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