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Running With History Mile 8

The Holly Street Bridge

Running With History Mile 8 – The Holly Street Bridge (1924-25) is the youngest of the so-called Three Sisters, sister bridges to the Historic Colorado Street Bridge (1913), the site of Pasadena Heritage's bi-annual Colorado Street Bridge Party next scheduled for the summer of 2012. Along with the Holly Street Bridge, the three sisters include the La Loma Bridge (1913-14) and the San Rafael Bridge (1922-23), both located in the Lower Arroyo Seco, south of the Colorado Street Bridge. Although it is the youngest of the three sisters, it is also the longest and highest and has the widest center span.

The original design/build bids received by the city exceeded the $100,000.00 amount of bonds that had been approved for the new bridge project. The City Directors (now City Council) turned to Pasadena’s city engineer who, with the assistance of Caltech engineers, designed and built the bridge. On a side note, Caltech students were allowed to destroy with TNT the older bridge built in 1909 that it replaced.

Known originally as the Linda Vista Bridge, it was renamed the Holly Street Bridge when Holly Street was completed between its eastern terminus at Garfield Avenue and the City Hall, and its western terminus at Linda Vista Avenue. Holly Street was designated as the major east-west axis of the new Pasadena City Beautiful Plan, the foundation for the development of the Civic Center in the 1920’s as we now know it. Since then more than half of the length of Holly Street is been interrupted by redevelopment and the construction of the major freeway intersections.

The bridge has an open spandrel design of reinforced concrete. There is one main arched span over the flood control channel and Arroyo Drive. Remarkably, this span is 240 feet long, even wider than that of the main span of the taller and more majestic Colorado Street Bridge to the south. The height of the main span is over 70 feet. Approaching the bridge from the south, it frames a spectacular view of the Rose Bowl against the backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains.

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