4004 - 4120 Franklin Avenue 90027 - Franklin Avenue Bridge
4004 - 4120 Franklin Avenue 90027 Los Feliz USA
Gothic Revival, Historic-Cultural Monument
“Franklin Avenue Bridge” (also known as the “Shakespeare Bridge”)
Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #126. Declared 04/17/74.
Built on Franklin Avenue over Monon Street between St. George Street and Myra Ave.
“A picturesque useful span with Gothic arches and turrets. Built in the 1920’s.”
“L.A. is dotted with hidden historic monuments. One of them is the 1926 Shakespeare Bridge, a charming, albeit anachronistic, Gothic structure tucked into an unassuming nook of Los Feliz.” (Source: Architectural Digest, 25 Must-Dee Architectural Landmarks in LA, Jan. 20, 2016)
“A great open-spandrel arch is laced by long Gothic arches. At both ends of the bridge are groups of Gothic aedicule that cry out for sculptured saints. The bridge was built over the Arroyo de Sacatela, which once periodically flowed vigorously above ground through present-day Koreatown and below Hancock Park to eventually link with Ballona Creek. That water course now disappears into a storm drain.” (Source: An Architectural Guidebook to Los Angeles, revised by Robert Winter and Robert Inman, p. 200, 1985, Angel City Press
How did Shakespeare Bridge Get Its Name? “Elizabeth Richardson and I did some research on the name a few years ago and could not find its source. We reviewed the Cultural-Monument file from the 1970s and it was already referenced as the ‘Shakespeare Bridge’. As far as I know, others in the past have researched the name and have come up with nothing. It’s quite a mystery.” (Source: Shirley Mims, long-time member of the Franklin Hills Residents Assn., Email to LFIA, 9/23/2021)
Gothic Description: Franklin Avenue Bridge spans a ravine between Myra Avenue and St. George Street in the Silver Lake/Los Feliz section of Los Angeles. The bridge is of reinforced concrete construction with spread footings; concrete abutments; and three, unequal length, open spandrel arches. It is 262 feet in length, and 30 feet in width; the bridge supports a two lane, Portland cement deck, and one sidewalk. Architectural details consist of steeple-like Gothic style turrets at the bridge entrance, classical balustrades/handrails, lancet arches in the balustrades and structural arch spandrels, brackets, and lighting composed of simple columns that support single globes along the roadway and single round globes at the turrets. The bridge appears to be unaltered. J. C. Wright, designer. City Engineers Office. 1926 Robert Metcalf, contractor.
Present owner: City of Los Angeles, 200 N. Spring Street. L.A. 90012
Significance of the bridge:
Franklin Avenue Bridge is located in the East Hollywood Addition, which was annexed to the City of Los Angeles on February 28, 1910. The bridge was constructed over an approximately thirty-five foot deep ravine to connect Franklin Avenue to an area known as the Ivanhoe District (Tract; also known as Franklin Hills) in the 1920’s.
This bridge is one of the many reinforced concrete bridges constructed in Los Angeles during the 1920’s. Franklin Avenue Bridge was financed by the establishment of a special assessment district. J. C. Wright, a civil engineer with the Los Angeles Bureau of Engineering, designed the bridge and Robert Metcalf, contractor, was the builder of the bridge.
The bridge, commonly called “Shakespeare Bridge” by the area’s residents, was completed in 1926 for the cost of $59,960. In 1974, the bridge was declared Historic Cultural Monument # 126. A plaque, with the inscription “Shakespeare Bridge 1926 with Gothic arches and turrets is a picturesque, useful span serving Franklin Avenue,” is attached to an entrance turret.
The 1978 Franklin Avenue Bridge; Bureau of Engineering Seismic Analysis Report; D. M. 150B201, plan 29446, 03/24/86, indicates that the structure is inadequate for transverse seismic loadings; and that repair of the railings, turrets, arches, columns, and struts is needed. Franklin Avenue Bridge possesses integrity of location, design, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association. It contributes to the Los Angeles built environment as an artistic example of reinforced concrete bridge construction. (Source: Historic Cultural Monument Inventory.)
“My father, Robert Metcalf, was the sole contractor for the bridge which was designed by City forces. Started 1924; finished October 1926.” (Source: Telephone call from Mrs. Catherine Metcalf McGowan, 03/04/73, 4311 Kingswell, Los Angeles, 90027
The bridge was retrofitted to meet seismic standards in 1997. Grand reopening party April 19, 1998. (Source: “New Day for Old Bridge”, Los Angeles Times, 04/20/98, B1.)
See “Another Casualty of Car Culture” So-Cal P.O.V. Patt Morrison, Los Angeles Times Magazine, 06/14/98, p. 15.
For more, see: Shakespeare Bridge
About Gothic Revival: Gothic Revival (also referred to as Victorian Gothic or neo-Gothic) is an architectural movement that began in the late 1740s in England. The movement gained momentum and expanded in the first half of the 19th century, as increasingly serious and learned admirers of the neo-Gothic styles sought to revive medieval Gothic architecture, intending to complement or even supersede the neoclassical styles prevalent at the time. Gothic Revival draws upon features of medieval examples, including decorative patterns, finials, lancet windows, and hood moulds. By the middle of the 19th century, Gothic had become the preeminent architectural style in the Western world, only to fall out of fashion in the 1880s and early 1890s. (Source: Wikipedia)
Type: Gothic Revival Sold