The Spruce Street Suspension Bridge is visible from most parts of the East Village in San Diego. It is located at W Spruce St, San Diego, CA 92103. The bridge crosses a creek that empties into San Diego Bay at its eastern end, and it also connects a residential neighborhood with an upscale beach-side community. While the bridge is certainly not one of the state’s major tourist attractions, it is a hidden gem for anyone who visits this part of San Diego. In addition to being an unusual building type in California, the bridge also boasts an interesting history.
How Was the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge Built?
When the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge was built, neither the East Village of San Diego nor the Point Loma peninsula were yet on the map. The bridge was built between 1885 and 1888 by the San Diego Bridge Company. The company was organized by local businessmen and led by Joseph H. Earle, who was also the driving force behind the Point Lomiagreage Railway Company. The company was granted a provisional charter and incorporated on January 26, 1882. The company’s goal: to build a railway from the East Village to the Point Loma peninsula. At that time, the East Village was a sleepy little fishing village located about a mile inland from the San Diego Bay. The East Village was a popular place to build a town because the acreage was near the bay, so it was a popular spot for shipbuilding and other maritime industries. Nor was the Point Loma peninsula the affluent community that it is today. In fact, it was an undeveloped area that was mostly used for farming. And the distance between it and the East Village was quite far, so very few people were likely to visit the peninsula. A great read here.
The History of the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge
The first few years of the company’s existence were spent raising money and getting the railway built. Once the company had the money and the railway built, the first step toward the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge was taken. The company purchased a large tract of land on the peninsula called Point Loma Heights. The purchase changed the focus of the company from a railway to a real estate development. The firm began buying up parcels of land and selling them to investors. Eventually, the Point Loma Heights Corporation owned about 1,200 acres of undeveloped land in Point Loma, which it hoped to develop into a wealthy residential community. The developers of the Point Loma community wanted the main entrance to the community to be on the eastern edge of the peninsula, so they built a railway to connect the community to the rest of the peninsula. But that railway, like the one that connected the East Village to the rest of San Diego, was a failure very quickly. In fact, it lasted only a few months, and then it was abandoned.
Modern Day: A Look at the Current State of the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge
At the time the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge was built, the community of Point Loma was still fairly undeveloped. But by the late 1890s, wealthy San Diegans were interested in the area, so the Point Loma Heights company began a real estate promotion campaign to attract buyers. The company used radio broadcasts to advertise the peninsula, and it also put up signs along the East Village and Spruce Street in San Diego. The signs advertised the bridge, as well as the Point Loma Heights neighborhood and the community itself. The Spruce Street Suspension Bridge connected the East Village to Point Loma Heights, so visitors to the bridge could see the lush green land of the Point Loma peninsula. The company even built a pier at the eastern end of the bridge so that visitors could get off and go swimming in the ocean waters.
What’s Next for the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge?
Over the years, the bridge has been restored several times, most recently in the 1990s. Currently, the bridge is owned by the City of San Diego, but it is open to pedestrians only. During the day, the bridge is usually fully open to foot traffic. But at night, the city closes the bridge, citing safety concerns. As for the future of the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge, it appears that nothing is happening with it. In recent years, the city has discussed the possibility of demolishing the bridge. But at present, those discussions have stalled, and the bridge appears to be more or less forgotten.
Final Words: San Diego’s Hidden Gem
When people talk about San Diego, they usually talk about the beaches, the beautiful weather, and the nearby wildlife. The Spruce Street Suspension Bridge is a great example of what makes San Diego so unique. Before the bridge was built, the only way to get from the East Village to the Point Loma peninsula was by boat or by walking along Spruce Street. The bridge changed all that, and now visitors to San Diego can experience the urban waterfront walking across the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge. One of the more unusual building types in California, the Spruce Street Suspension Bridge is a hidden gem for anyone who visits this part of San Diego. Also another great place to visit.
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