Throwback Thursday | Colorado Street Bridge: A Cultural Icon

The Colorado Street Bridge has become a cultural icon of the Arroyo Seco

PHOTO: Pasadena Museum of History | News | Future site of the Colorado Street Bridge

Today’s date is 2-20-2020. Not a historically-relevant date, but an interesting number pattern of twos, zeros, and twenties. So, for no particular reason, I chose to celebrate my favorite regional historic landmark – the Colorado Street Bridge.

This magnificent bridge is one of the most beautiful and deadly in the world.

PHOTO: Rick Thomas Collection | News | Colorado Street Bridge

The Colorado Street Bridge spans the Arroyo Seco within sight of the historic Rose Bowl and stunning San Gabriel Mountains beyond.

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The original posted speed limit was 10 miles per hour. Parking was allowed on the bridge when it first opened. Drivers could stop anywhere along the expanse, exit their vehicles and enjoy the sidewalks, sitting areas, and grand views of the arroyo and mountains.

PHOTO: Pasadena Museum of History | News | Colorado Street Bridge at night

Note: Originally, the Colorado Street Bridge did not have an extended fence to prevent “leapers” from jumping off – that came later when its reputation grew as a “suicide bridge.”

Throwback Thursday is written and produced by Rick Thomas


Author Rick Thomas is the former museum curator and vice-chair of education for the South Pasadena Preservation Foundation. He served on the South Pasadena Natural Resources Commission, helping to maintain a strict policy protecting the city’s great old-growth trees. Using touchstone photographs from his own collection—one of the San Gabriel Valley’s largest accumulations of historical images and artifacts—as well as national, state, and local historical archives, Thomas provides a window to his city’s past and an understanding of why its preservation is so important.