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1st Street Bridge (1929)


Detail of the First Street Bridge

Looking Southeast from the lightrail tracks.



BH Photo #114344

Street View 


Grease - Race

The race scene begins at the Sixth Street bridge, the cars passes the Fourth Street bridge,and then turn around at the First Street Bridge.

Directed by Randal Kleiser Produced by Robert Stigwood Allan Carr Screenplay by Bronte Woodard Allan Carr Based on Grease by Jim Jacobs Warren Casey

Play video on YouTube


First Street Bridge is a Neo-Classical design bridge and is one of the City of Los Angeles bridges that was built as part of the City Beautiful plans of the early 1900's. City Beautiful plans were inspired by the civic architecture of Paris and Rome. These plans sought to beautify United States cities by constructing grand civic monuments, incorporating both building and public works projects.

-- Historic American Engineering Record

VIADUCT WORK TO START SOON - Present Worn-Out Structure in Use Since 1889 

Los Angeles Time - April 4, 1927

Work is scheduled to start soon on the new $975,000 First-Street viaduct across the Los Angeles River and industrial district railroad tracks, following the completion last week o the plans for of City Bridge Engineer Butler. The bridge plans met with the approval of Councilman Sanborn of the Ninth District, who is the chairman of the Council's Tunnels, Bridges, and Viaducts Committee. Work will start on the First-street viaduct immediately after the opening to traffic of the new Seventh-street viaduct, nearing completion.

Replacing the present worn-out structure, which has been in use since 1889, the new viaduct will be the same modern concrete arch construction used on the new Ninth and Seventh-street viaducts.

The new viaduct will be 2062 feet long, including approaches, as compared with the 1200-foot length of the present bridge, extending from Vignes street on the west to Mission Road on the east side of the river. There will be an overall width of seventy-one feet, with a fifty-six-foot roadway, and two five-foot sidewalks. The present bridge has a roadway varying from forty-one to fifty feet in width.

There will be two 125-foot arch spans across the river, designed to permit construction of a truck speedway in the river bed, and important feature of the major traffic plan. Girder approaches to the river section will span the Santa Fe and Union Pacific tracks.

A separation of grades will be made at First street and Santa Fe avenue west of the river, while provision is made in the plans for a future traffic slot at Mission Road, east of the river,permitting the separation of traffic north and southbound on Mission Road from the viaduct traffic.

Myers street, between Mission Road and the river, is connected with the present approach by a dirt ramp. The plans for the new structure make it possible for a future grade separation by lower the street.

Large ornamental pylons are to be constructed at intervals along the entire length of the viaduct, including approaches, a feature not incorporated in the viaducts already constructed, which, Butler said, will "maintain interest in the structure from end to and and tend to unify the viaduct".

The estimated cost of the viaduct is $95,000, including acquisition of land for approaches, but not including the cost of relocating track of the Union Pacific, Santa Fe and Los Angeles railways. The cost will be divided between the three railways, Los Angeles city and Los Angeles county, the proportions not having yet been worked out. This the first instance, it was pointed out, where the city has replaced a bridge which already included the feature of railroad grade separation.

First Street Bridge

Los Angeles Time - October 19, 1888

Great Inconvenience from the Interruption of Traffic

The people on Boyle Heights are considerably annoyed by the interuption of travel on First street, caused by the tearing up of the old bridge to make way for the new steel viaduct. Mayor Workman foresaw the inconveniences which would result from the closing up of the street, even for a short time, and two weeks ago sent a message to the Council calling attention to the matter, and suggesting that some temporary provisions b made for bridging over the difficulty. Mr. Cohn state that this had been attended to, and the measure was filed and nothing was thought about it until Wednesday morning, when traffic was suspened and the only communication that be could be had was byway of Aliso street, the busses having to go down Aliso to Alameda,, and then come up that street to First. Thus raised quite a storm of indignation, which, however, subsided yesterday when it was learned that temporary inclines were being put in for use until viaduct is completed. The present First-street bridge will be moved to Ninth street.

Through a forgotten bridge engineer, a vision of Los Angeles

Written by Thomas Curwen, Los Angeles Times August 7, 2013

Henry G. Parker's bridges were meant to inspire. A century after his death in a sewer sluiceway, the misty remnants of his creations are still eloquent.

Like an L.A. noir, this mystery begins with a mystery. I'm standing under the midday, midsummer sun. To the west, the skyscrapers of downtown rise like the steep palisades of a nearby island. The sky is cataract blue.

I've parked next to a Buddhist temple and The One-Eye Gypsy bar and am walking east across the 1st Street bridge. Some people call it a viaduct, but it's a bridge to me, built in 1928 according to the commemorative plaque.

Towers, like miniature Arc de Triomphes, rise from the bridge's abutments. I pass a pile of bedding and can't be sure if anyone is asleep beneath the blue blanket. The Gold Line breezes toward East L.A., and a stranger asks me to take his picture. Below us, the river sparkles in the afternoon breeze.

At the abutment above the east bank, I gaze up at the face of a young man. His wavy hair, strong jaw line and heroic mien remind me of young Leonardo DiCaprio. Below his silhouette on this slightly marred brass tablet is his name, Henry G. Parker.

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Concrete arch bridge over Los Angeles River on First Street in Los Angeles
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California
Open to traffic
Built 1929
- Henry G. Parker (City Engineer)
- Merrill Butler
- Mittry Brothers Construction Co.
- Los Angeles Railway (LARy)
- Los Angeles Transit Lines (LATL)
- Streetcar
Open-spandrel concrete arch
Length of largest span: 148.0 ft.
Total length: 1,327.2 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+34.04790, -118.22988   (decimal degrees)
34°02'52" N, 118°13'48" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
11/386483/3768148 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Los Angeles
Average daily traffic (as of 2018)
Inventory numbers
CA 53C-1166 (California bridge number)
BH 11008 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of August 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: 82.9 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • August 20, 2022: Updated by Brandon Cooper: Added category "Featured in Movies/TV Shows"
  • January 3, 2020: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • September 23, 2017: New photo from David Kimbrough
  • September 4, 2014: New photos from Royce and Bobette Haley
  • July 25, 2014: New photo from David Kimbrough
  • August 15, 2013: New video from David Kimbrough
  • August 14, 2013: Essay added by David Kimbrough
  • February 7, 2012: HAER photos posted by Michael Goff
  • December 27, 2010: New video from David Kimbrough
  • December 2, 2010: Essay added by David Kimbrough
  • November 26, 2010: New photos from David Kimbrough
  • October 8, 2010: Updated by Craig Philpott: corrected location
  • December 19, 2008: New photo from David Kimbrough
  • December 18, 2008: New photos from David Kimbrough
  • November 3, 2008: New photo from David Kimbrough
  • May 23, 2008: New photos from David Kimbrough

Related Bridges 


  • David Kimbrough - kimbrough-photo [at] charter [dot] net
  • Craig Philpott - craigphilpott63 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • HAER CA-175 - First Street Bridge, Spanning Los Angeles River at First Street, Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, CA
  • Royce and Bobette Haley - roycehaley111 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Geoff Hubbs


1st Street Bridge (1929)
Posted August 20, 2022, by Brandon Cooper

Love the kids throwing their school work out the window as the school bus drives over the bridge in Bustin' Loose.