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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Cincinnati's Purple People Bridge: Past & Present

Cincinnati's second oldest existing span across the might Ohio River was built in 1872 and was known as the Newport and Cincinnati Bridge. The river span was Cincinnati's first railroad bridge, and eventually was retrofitted to also accommodate streetcars, pedestrians and automobiles.


The bridge was later renamed the L&N Bridge for the Louisville and Nashville railroad that used the span. The bridge was closed down to both trains and automobiles and was eventually rehabed in 2003 into the "Purple People Bridge" named for its prominent purple color and pedestrianized span across the Ohio River.


The bridge quickly became a local landmark and a spot for art installations, shows and other family-friendly events. At its pinnacle, the bridge became the spot for the Purple People Bridge Climb (video) which was the first of its kind in North America and allowed for people to climb the bridge's superstructure and walk across the span.


The bridge climb attraction shut down one year after opening, and the group managing the bridge experienced some financial setbacks and have since tried to reorganize themselves and figure out what to do with the historic landmark.


So what's to come for the Purple People Bridge? What do you use it for, or do you use the bridge at all? Below is a collection of seven photographs I took from the Purple People Bridge. The main pedestrian span was blocked off as crews were deconstructing an art installation that was on the bridge. Joggers, families and leisurely walkers were using the span during that time.


5 comments:

UCstudent said...

The latest concept is to have a restaurant in the middle of the bridge. Maybe it could work, who knows?

Jason McGlone said...

I use the bridge every day on my way to work, and have interacted with Southbank Partners, the folks who own the bridge. Love the bridge, can't say I'm a huge fan of the folks who run it. It's a long story that I'm not certain is worth anyone's time.

boilover said...

I run/bike/walk across this bridge almost every day. Either for exercise or to grab a cold one from the Beer Sellar.

Travis Estell said...

I don't walk across it often, but I can see it being a huge asset as The Banks and NKY residential projects add more residents to the area. Preserve the structure and maybe we can also use it for transit at some point in the future.

agirloutthere said...

We use it to get into Cincinnati from our place in Newport and we run and bike over it frequently. It's great having a pedestrian bridge! Currently it is being used as a Bridge for a Cause every Wed-Sat. I think it's a cool idea, but as a resident in the area and one who uses the bridge, I think it looks (and smells) awful during the week and daytime. Everything is left out, storage containers, trash, chairs/tables, and the portolets! This all takes a lot from the view from the bridge, the beauty of the bridge and levee/river area.

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