Some people expressed surprise when they read in The Bee this week that the I Street Bridge is 101 years old. Is it perhaps the oldest bridge in the region? Do you know of one that's older?
The story provoked another debate: Is the rusty old girder bridge ugly, or is it handsome in a rugged, working class kind of way?
It made us wonder about The Bridges of Sacramento County ... and the region beyond.
Which is most beautiful? Which is ugliest? Call, email or tweet me with your nominations. Call, email or tweet me with your nominations. Call (916) 321-1059, email email@example.com, or tweet @TonyBizjak
There are lots of bridges around the River City and its environs, some big, some hidden.
One obvious choice for the most beautiful list would be the one just downstream from the I Street Bridge the Tower Bridge. But it doesn't get our vote. Certainly, it's iconic. It has a nice gold paint job, and it's a cool art moderne style. But it's bulky and squat.
Its opposite in the region would be the spindly, vertigo-inducing Foresthill Bridge outside Auburn. That bridge's deck is the tallest in the state, taller than the Golden Gate Bridge deck.
Speaking of the Golden Gate, are there any votes for the Guy West Bridge, a miniature replica of the San Francisco landmark over the American River at Sacramento State?
Big doesn't necessarily mean beautiful. We suspect some of you could nominate any number of small, out-of-the-way bridges.
There are a couple of nice rail-trestle pedestrian spans over the American River. One is the Old Red Bridge down the bluff on Bridge Street from Old Fair Oaks. Another pedestrian trestle in Folsom sits over the rocky gorge beyond Lake Natoma. But it's not as lovely as the Rainbow Bridge in Folsom. That bridge no youngster at 93 is elegant because it uses a mundane material, concrete, yet shapes it into gracefully sweeping arches.
When is a bridge ugly? We hate to disparage any bridge, given that they all serve a noble purpose to get us to the other side.
But some do not take advantage of the opportunity that all bridges are offered, perched out in open space, to impress our eye.
Freeway overpasses, for example, usually are blah. But a surprising few catch your eye.
The Grant Line Road overpass on Highway 99 in Elk Grove is dressed up like it's going out for a night on the town, with fancy old-fashioned lights, pillars with the city insignia, and colored concrete. Elk Grove officials said they added those touches because the bridge marks the southern gateway to the city.
There is one obscure little bridge I'm not sure what to think of. The Stevenson Bridge over Putah Creek on a tiny farm road between Davis and Winters could get votes as quite pretty or really ugly. It depends on whether you view graffiti as colorful living history or vandalism.