4 votes

Colorado Boulevard Bridge


Colorado Blvd. Bridge over the Arroyo Seco

A view from the Arroyo Seco river bed looking south east.

David Kimbrough


BH Photo #113916

Street Views 


Under the Bridge

Colorado Street Bridge, Pasadena, CA

Photograhy By Gina Acuna

Play video on YouTube

The Scoville Bridge 

Written by David Kimbrough

In the arid south west of the United States more than anywhere else, the growth of a city was dependent upon water. Pasadena was founded where it was exactly to take advantage of a reliable water supply, the Arroyo Seco ("Dry Gulch" in English). It was a reliable source of water in a rather dry environment.

However the Arroyo Seco was also problem, it was deep in a steep sided canyon. This meant that Pasadena was physically isolated from its western neighbors. Travelers would have to make long detours passable crossing north or south of Pasadena.

This was finally changed by James Scoville. He had been the Vice President of the Elgin Watch Co., President of the Prairie State Bank, and a trustee of what would later be known as California Institute of Technology. He built a pleasure garden on the bluff above the Arroyo Seco which went down the slope of the canyon walls to the stream itself. There he built a small dam and pump house. The top of the dam served as the eastern abutment of a wooden bridge, the first connect Pasadena to the western side of the Arroyo. Scoville Bridge was still in service when the much larger and grander Colorado Blvd. Bridge was built above it.


Concrete arch bridge over Arroyo Seco on Colorado Blvd. in Pasadena
Pasadena, Los Angeles County, California
Open to traffic
Built 1913; rehabilitated 1993
- J.A.L. Waddell of Port Hope, Canada (Lead Engineer)
- Mercereau Bridge & Construction Co. of Los Angeles, California
- Waddell & Harrington of Kansas City, Missouri (Design Firm)
Open-spandrel arch
Length of largest span: 223.1 ft.
Total length: 1,428.2 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on February 12, 1981
Also called
"Suicide Bridge" (Unpleasant but sadly accurate).
Arroyo Seco Bridge, Scoville Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+34.14451, -118.16609   (decimal degrees)
34°08'40" N, 118°09'58" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
11/392493/3778792 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2014)
Inventory numbers
CA 53C-107 (California bridge number)
NRHP 81000156 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 10960 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of July 2018)
Overall condition: Good
Superstructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 74.1 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • November 21, 2019: Updated by Luke: Added builder
  • May 25, 2019: New photos from Joe Sonderman
  • July 8, 2015: New photos from Michael Shulman
  • December 23, 2014: New photo from David Kimbrough
  • August 22, 2012: New photo from David Kimbrough
  • July 25, 2012: New photo from David Kimbrough
  • May 3, 2012: Essay added by David Kimbrough
  • May 2, 2012: Updated by David Kimbrough: Adding Scoville Bridge
  • June 13, 2011: Updated by Craig Philpott: Adjusted bridge name
  • June 13, 2011: Photos added by Gina Acuna
  • December 16, 2010: New photo from David Kimbrough
  • April 16, 2010: New Street View added by James Baughn
  • April 10, 2010: Updated by Craig Philpott: added builder name
  • March 27, 2010: New photos from Jason Smith
  • August 7, 2009: New photos from Craig Philpott
  • January 4, 2009: New photo from David Kimbrough
  • December 19, 2008: New photos from David Kimbrough
  • June 6, 2008: Updated by David Kimbrough
  • May 29, 2008: Updated by James McCray
  • May 1, 2008: New photos from David Kimbrough

Related Bridges 


  • David Kimbrough - kimbrough-photo [at] charter [dot] net
  • James McCray - jamesinslocomb [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Craig Philpott - craigphilpott63 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Jason Smith - flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com
  • Gina Acuna - gacuna7 [at] aol [dot] com
  • Michael Shulman - mikeifish [at] aol [dot] com
  • Joe Sonderman
  • Luke


Colorado Boulevard Bridge
Posted June 25, 2020, by Loren (ksomfg [at] msn [dot] com)

I witnessed the demolition before the re-hab, a crane with concrete crushing jaws started from the east end and backed across the entire bridge, crushing the roadway and most else behind it in single bites as it went. The process took weeks and must have required a brave crane operator, finally there was nothing left except the bare arches with some rebar sticking out. Although it had been closed for years it was heartbreaking to hear it was slated for removal, but then they got the funding together and rebuilt it in the original style, amazing.

Colorado Blvd Bridge
Posted May 4, 2012, by David Kimbrough (kimbrough-photo [at] charter [dot] net)

Hello Ja Fehr,

You are right, I was looking at it recently and wondering a bit myself. So I removed it.

Colorado Blvd Bridge
Posted May 4, 2012, by Ja Fehr (jafehr [at] acm [dot] org)

Photograph 8 of 30, entitled "Colorado Blvd. Bridge under Constrution" [sic], is not of the Colorado Blvd. Bridge.

Thank you for posting this attractive structure.