Return to the Center of the Seventh Street Bridge

November 24, 2011 § 5 Comments

Detail of the dedication plaque on the Seventh Street Viaduct

There’s a promising new report about possibilities for the future of the Seventh Street Bridge over the L.A. River, so I got another call to head into the bridge and show off the space. I plan to write about the new report, but I ended up with more than enough photo and video material for one post, so I am going write about the bridge here, then separately post about the report later. 

Seventh Street Bridge over the Los Angeles River - note the upper and lower decks

The Seventh Street Bridge (more properly the Seventh Street Viaduct) is a double-deck bridge with the lower level built in 1910 (one hundred years ago!) and the upper level added in 1927. For lots of details about the bridge and about my first excursion into the space between the decks, see this post from April 2010.

Though it has been pretty fun to check out the space… I am not going to relate the semi-secret way to get in. I recommend that readers who want to try it – don’t do it alone. There are definitely homeless folks living inside the bridge. Be careful. Be safe. Also, my bike seat was stolen while I was in the bridge, so be careful of that sort of theft, too; it’s a pretty isolated area, with homeless camps.

On the prior trip inside the bridge, I lamented that my meager cell-phone camera was unable to capture the great views (because it’s more interior light inside – nice, but not half as bright as the view out.) While inside I figured out a way to kind of get the view. If I stood near the outside of the bridge, I could take multiple shots and splice them together as a sort of collage panorama.

Here’s four-photo panorama that I assembled:

Panorama of the inside of the 7th Street Bridge showing the view upstream to the 6th Street Bridge - click to enlarge

While it gives some sense of the great views, it still doesn’t quite do it justice.

I also shot a cell-phone video from one end to the other – here it is:

I noticed this, which I didn’t spot during the prior visit:

1927 graffiti scratched into beam, inside the 7th Street Bridge

It’s graffiti scratched into concrete – and dated 1927! It says “DM No.1 / 1927 / Chicago”. So it’s pretty clear that these beams (which I walk on in the video) were built in 1927… probably for bridge-builder construction workers to stand on. Below the beams is earth fill. I don’t know if this scratch-graffiti is a worker proud of accomplishments… or a hobo in town from Chicago? Who knows? I wrote earlier about some other hundred-year-old hobo graffiti on local waterway bridges.

And very soon, I’ll be back with a write-up about the new Mercado del Rio report that explores possibilities for the future of the Seventh Street Bridge.

Another shot of the interior of the Seventh Street Bridge

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