L.A.’s “Shakespeare Bridge” was born 86 years ago. It is located in Los Feliz on Franklin Avenue at the juncture of St. George Street. In 1926, it was designed to cross a brushy ravine (now Monon Street, a dead end) to allow for the residential development of the Franklin Hills neighborhood. The bridge is short—a concrete confection with fanciful Gothic styling, complete with turreted towers called “aedicules.” What is an “aedicule,” you ask? It is “a small construction, such as a shrine, designed in the form of a building; an opening such as a door or window, framed by columns on either side and by a pediment above.” (Thank you, Dictionary.com.) The Shakespeare Bridge features several of these elements in its quirky, fairytale design.
So why is it called the Shakespeare Bridge? No one really knows. It seems that the name stuck early on—and may simply have been the happy result of its romantic appearance. However, in 1974, L.A. made the name official by declaring the bridge, Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument #126.
After the 1992 Northridge Earthquake, the bridge was retrofitted for safety. Today, it remains a defining and picturesque gateway to the highly desirable Franklin Hills neighborhood—an area dotted with red-tile-roofed Spanish Colonial and other character homes dating back to the 1920’s and 1930’s. Franklin Hills is known as a haven for artists, musicians, and Hollywood entertainers . . . and the Shakespeare Bridge remains a great source of neighborhood pride.