The Tower Bridge of Sacramento in Winter
Riveted, bolted steel make up the bridge towers. Steel frames stuffed with concrete serve as the Tower Bridge counterweights, a technique used in the Oakland Bay Bridge; it is the counterweights hidden inside the towers that give the Sacramento Tower Bridge a sleek, beautiful appearance. No matter how many times we cross the Tower Bridge in Sacramento, it never loses its allurement. Designed by Alfred Eichler, the bridge was designed to lift on two separate electric motors from the middle, horizontal to the water and parallel to the towers, instead of at an angle, which gave it a more likable picture-postcard display.
After weather related delays and over-cost production, the bridge opened in December of 1935. The deck of the bridge now rises 173 feet to allow the passage of boats in the Sacramento River. This is important to Sacramento as the river flows from the Klamath Mountains, north of Redding, to the San Francisco Bay. The Tower Bridge serves as a landmark in Sacramento. We like to think that others outside of the city recognize the structure, but many people do not. It is a thing of beauty to us. So much that we argued in depth in 2001 over the color to paint the bridge. We settled on Gold. Some compared the outcome to baby poop, but on a good day, the gold glitters across the water.
We were driving home from the movies in Davis, home to Land Park yesterday, and approached the Tower Bridge just as the lift went up. You can see the Tower Bridge lift in the close-up photo above, shot yesterday. The photo at the very top is leaving the bridge, driving into Sacramento, and you can easily spot the Capitol bathed in natural sunlight at the end of the street.
I list and sell a lot of homes in West Sacramento, so I have reason to often cross the Tower Bridge, if not driving to Davis to take one of our cats to the vet. I never get tired of admiring its exquisite beauty. It’s so charismatic to me that I’ve used it as a backdrop on my website.
An interesting note from history was to mark the opening of the Tower Bridge in 1935, the city released 1,000 pigeons, the original Twitter.
Below is one of my favorite photos, which I shot from the top of the levee bike trail near the Holiday Inn on Capitol Avenue last summer. It shows the Tower Bridge as it spans the Sacramento River.
Photographs: © Elizabeth Weintraub