Altadena’s hiker & writer wrote a paper the other day about one of her visits to Pasadena. To Suicide Bridge (SB), aka the Colorado street bridge. Pasadena born native – Sid Gally – followed her lead and also wrote about the bridge. I’m gonna jump into this subject with them just to simply share a couple of visits, last year and last week.
My visits are usually after sundown and unplanned. A sudden thought brings a sudden change of direction leads me down to the bridge. And onto the bridge we go. I don’t go often, unlike some who make a walk on the SB or around the Rose Bowl their daily physical discipline.
Most people see SB simply as a form of exercise, to get over the Arroyo, or to have a bridge party. A handful of us see SB as an end of the rainbow. An even smaller number of troubled, lonely souls see it as the jumping point to the beginning of the end – but they should see SB instead with, “DO NOT ENTER” & ‘WRONG WAY” flashing in red in their eyes and ears!
SB was built before the Great Depression (GD). It’s made of concrete & arches. Once it was finished and the GD had arrived, a few dozen used it as their ticket to escape it, and life. Since then there’s been a trickle averaging about one suicide jumper every year or two. America has changed over the decades. With the birth of the mortgage economic depression a few years ago, it seems a few more than average have been taking their death leap of no-faith off SB. The more times change, the more things stay the same.
When times are tough you find out how firm a foundation people have been living on. And for a couple of hundred people a heavy concrete bridge has not been enough of a firm foundation to keep them from falling.
The bridge is only 150 feet tall. But that’s been plenty high enough for death defying jumpers. Still, it’s primary reason for being built was to ease the crossing of the Arroyo Seco, and bridge the wide gap of Pasadena with Los Angeles, even if that’s an impossibility.
Nevertheless, I see very, very few people when I’m on the bridge. Even less, the police. On the very rare special occasion I see the police, they drive at a hikers pace slowly over the bridge. But one time last year near sunset I saw something I’d never seen on SB before – homeless people. A couple were “camping out” at the east entrance. Another, I encountered on the bridge just sitting, lifelessly starring out. “Wonder why I haven’t seen the homeless here before,” was my instant thought. And then, wondering why they might here in the 1st place?
Sometime shortly after this I happened to read in our Pasadena Star News about a couple of dead bodies found below SB. One was described as probably homeless.
Sometimes I see funny things like the above. A perfectly good hat left behind & the wearer disappeared into the night. Have they lost their mind? Who knows….
The Pasadena Star News of last Friday mentioned the latest jumper to commit suicide. Apparently the death came last Thursday early in the day, probably morning. By coincidence I made another unplanned trek to the bridge. Below are a couple of pics from that Thursday evening.
What little light or color left in the life of that poor soul who leaped to his reward or punishment must have been fading fast.
He chose to pull the plug on whatever color or light he had left to escape into the darkness on the edge of town.
Don’t know for sure what happens to the dead, but I have an idea on good authority. Others are more certain of the dead to the point of writing books about it. For example, I recall seeing a book just on ghosts/hauntings of Pasadena. The author, as I recall, believes much of Pasadena is haunted! There are even tours of “haunted” places such as Suicide Bridge. There was one of these haunted/suicide tours very recently.
I’m starving & I’ll lose my appetite if I continue. But you, do you have any SB stories to share?
Say a little prayer for the lost every time you find yourself up on the bridge.
Gotta EAT! Stay Thirsty My Friends