The sonnet quoted on the dedication sign for the Shakespeare Bridge Garden reads,“…So long lives this, and this give life to thee.” One can only assume this quote is a testament to the Franklin Village neighborhood’s insistence on bridge preservation. After all, they did spend $1.5 million on retrofitting the bridge after the ’94 quake.
It was built in 1926, coinciding with the decade of our monumental LA River bridges. In a similar decorative vein, this bridge is known for its mini tower-like structures we call “aedicules.” But, an aedicule is a small shrine and though I looked, I found no small alters inside.
That’s not the only misnomer going on here; this bridge is actually named “Franklin Avenue Bridge.” I don’t know how or when it became familiarly known as “The Shakespeare Bridge,” but I can certainly see Puck prancing to and fro over the ravine.
The technical term for these arches is groined vault. While that might conjure some uncomfortable images, these arches are in fact quite picturesque. The railing posts along Sunset Boulevard look like miniature deco skyscrapers, but the bridge’s real intrigue lies beneath the boulevard.