Colorado Street Bridge (Pasadena, California)

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Colorado Street Bridge
Pasadena Colorado Street Bridge 2005.jpg
Colorado Street Bridge seen from the Arroyo Seco below
LocationPasadena, California
Coordinates34°08′41″N 118°09′49″W / 34.14472°N 118.16361°W / 34.14472; -118.16361Coordinates: 34°08′41″N 118°09′49″W / 34.14472°N 118.16361°W / 34.14472; -118.16361
ArchitectWaddell & Harrington
NRHP reference #81000156[1]
Added to NRHPFebruary 12, 1981

The Colorado Street Bridge is a historic concrete arch bridge spanning the Arroyo Seco in Pasadena, California.


The Colorado Street Bridge was designed and built in 1912 at a total cost of $191,000 (equivalent to $4,666,492 in 2017).[2] The bridge was designed by the firm of Waddell & Harrington, based in Kansas City, Missouri. The structure carries Colorado Boulevard (then called "Colorado Street"), the major east-west thoroughfare connecting Pasadena with Eagle Rock and Glendale to the west, and with Monrovia to the east. Colorado Street Bridge replaced the small Scoville bridge located near the bottom of the Arroyo Seco. It opened on December 13, 1913.[3]

The bridge spans 1,486 feet (453 m) at a maximum height of 150 feet (45 m) and is notable for its distinctive Beaux Arts arches, light standards, and railings. The bridge is on the National Register of Historic Places and has been designated a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark by the American Society of Civil Engineers.

Plaque dedicating the bridge as a historic landmark, near the east end of Colorado Blvd on the south side of the street.

In the 1970s, the bridge was a filming location of the TV series Emergency! fifth season (episode 14)[4] where a boy was shown trapped (the bridge was given the fictitious name Johnson Canyon Bridge in the episode).[citation needed] In 1989, after the Loma Prieta earthquake in Northern California, the bridge was declared a seismic hazard and closed to traffic. It was reopened in 1993 after a substantial retrofit. The bridge is closed each summer for a festival, "A Celebration on the Colorado Street Bridge", hosted by historic preservation group Pasadena Heritage.[5]

An episode from the eighth season of the series Full House, "Leap of Faith" featured the bridge in a bungee jumping scene. The bridge was depicted as being in the San Francisco bay area.

The bridge was site of the beginning of The Amazing Race season 21. The contestants had to rappel down the side of the bridge to their waiting cars to start the race.[citation needed]

"Suicide Bridge"[edit]

A 1913 view of the Scoville Bridge next to the partially completed Colorado Street Bridge.

During the early part of the twentieth century, the Colorado Street Bridge became known locally as "Suicide Bridge" after dozens of people leapt to their deaths. The bridge had a bad reputation before it was even built, as a construction worker fell to his death and landed in the wet cement under the bridge. Supposedly he is still there today. The number of deaths spiked during the Great Depression but didn't stop there.

The most told story is about a woman and her child. One night, the mother took her child and herself to the bridge and was ready to end her life. She threw her baby first and then jumped, plummeting to her death. The child survived, as it landed in a tree unharmed, but the mother successfully ended her life.

The balustrade was replaced by an 8 foot tall barrier in an effort to deter suicides, but the bridge retained its nickname. To this day, some still use the bridge as a means to end their lives. For example, on October 27, 2015, British-American model and reality television star Sam Sarpong committed suicide by jumping from the bridge.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ National Park Service (2007-01-23). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service.
  2. ^ Pasadena’s Colorado Street Bridge Celebrates 100th Anniversary, 17 June 2013, retrieved 4 August 2014
  3. ^
  4. ^ Emergency! "To Buy or Not to Buy" (#5.14)
  5. ^ Pasadena Heritage Presents a Celebration on the Colorado Street Bridge Archived 2008-05-12 at the Wayback Machine.
  6. ^ Pasadena Pioneers Bridge
  7. ^ Pasadena: Public Memorials and Monuments Archived 2016-06-08 at the Wayback Machine.
  8. ^ [1]

External links[edit]