Thursday, April 9, 2009

1959: Riverside Drive Red Car Viaduct

Photo: Mack, Herald Examiner, June 16, 1959. Two huge cranes dismantling the Red Car Trolley viaduct on Riverside Drive at Glendale Blvd. (Click on photo to enlarge.)

If you look closely at the above photo, you can see the Hyperion Bridge crossing the Los Angeles River in the background. The Red Car Trolleys had a separate bridge over the river. Today, the bridge footings are still in the river, just this side of the Hyperion Bridge. The rubble piles and trees to the right are where the 5 Freeway is today. The pile of rubble in the foreground is where the River Glen Apartments (owned by Sam Menlo) stand today.

The Riverside Viaduct, like the Fletcher Viaduct, was rebuilt in 1928 with steel to accommodate the paving of the area streets and increase in vehicle traffic. The previous viaducts were constructed of wood beams. The Pacific Electric Red Car Trolley Glendale Line was removed from service 1955. Both viaducts were dismantled in 1959 just prior to the start of area freeway construction.

There has been talk in LA River revitalization circles about possibly using the old Red Car Trolley bridge footings in the river as a base for a new bridge for non-motorized use (pedestrian, equestrian, bicycle).