Drawbridge Memorabilia

Given the number of people who have expressed shock that there’s “actually someone up there operating the drawbridge” when I tell them I’m a bridgetender, it doesn’t surprise me that there isn’t lots of drawbridge memorabilia floating around. I mean, why memorialize something that you don’t think about?

Well, unless you mean London Bridge. It seems to be the rock star of drawbridges. Tourists adore that bridge. It even has its own song. I hope the bridges I work on aren’t too jealous.

But I have managed to accumulate a little bit of drawbridge memorabilia over the almost 20 years of my career. What follows are pictures of my collection, in no particular order, and some descriptions thereof. Hope you like them!

This painting is by my friend Doug, and I still need him to sign it! We met him through the UU Church, and upon hearing what I do for a living he mentioned he had done a painting of Fremont Bridge here in Seattle, and just like that, he was kind enough to give it to me.
One day I saw Arvia taking notes on the sidewalk as she looked up at my bridge tower. Finally, I spoke to her out the window and learned she was doing a painting. Then, coincidentally we met at a party of a mutual friend and I made arrangements to buy it from her. That’s University Bridge, where I work most often. Those are the windows I often gaze out of while blogging. She also did a gorgeous painting of a side view of that same bridge, but I couldn’t afford it at the time, and it has since sold.
This is a graphic that I asked my friend Vicky to make for my first book. I plan to use it in any future books I get around to as well! Sometimes when I look at it I see a drawbridge, and other times I see two turtle kissing. I like it even more because of that.

Recently my dear friend Carole, whom I met through this blog, mailed me this gorgeous tankard that is etched with the London Bridge. It has a place of honor in the curio cabinet in my kitchen. I’ve made so many friends because of this blog, and Carole is one of the very best.
I saw this wooden drawbridge kit, complete with a book of great American bridges, online, and just had to have it. As you can see from the dust on the box, I haven’t gotten around to building it yet, mainly because I have no idea where I’ll put it when I do. I was hoping that maybe the publisher of the book might consider publishing a book of bridge stories from my blog, but I haven’t gotten around to contacting them yet.

Given the number of people who are foolish enough to crawl under the traffic gates when I’m opening my drawbridge, I suggested that we make a safety brochure with a keepsake drawbridge picture, and leave them outside the tower doors. I was asked to write the content, and so I did. They chopped 75 percent of my suggestions out, and then came up with this brochure, and printed about a thousand copies. Then someone decided that it was too controversial for some bizarre reason, so they are gathering dust in a closet somewhere. Aren’t bureaucracies the best?

This poster was made to commemorate the fact that many of Seattle’s bridges were retrofitted to (supposedly) withstand earthquakes. I managed to snag one of the posters before they were all given out. I love the art of Fremont Bridge on top. One of these days I’ll frame this.
In the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle is a delightful restaurant called Highliner Public House. They’re not very far from the Ballard Bridge where I occasionally work. They use this artwork as their logo, sort of, and they used to give one of these postcards to every customer. I don’t think they do that anymore, but they’ve been known to run up to the office and get one if a customer asks for one. Worth a try.
Every year there’s a fundraising marathon in Seattle called Beat the Bridge. I have mixed emotions about this event, because I don’t like the idea of people thinking it’s fun to try to cross a bridge that’s about to open. I’ve blogged about this before. But on this particular year, since I was the bridgetender who was tasked with opening the drawbridge at the designated time, I was given this T-shirt. That was nice of them. I gave it to my husband, because he looks better in yellow than I do. (Truth be known, he looks pretty darned good in everything. Lucky me.)
I went to a festival in the Fremont neighborhood in Seattle with my friend Paula a few years ago. One of the vendors was selling this t-shirt, which is of the Fremont Bridge. Naturally I had to get it. If you look closely, there’s a tiny bicyclist jumping the opening bridge. DO NOT ATTEMPT. (Sorry for the wrinkles. I didn’t feel like ironing a t-shirt just for this blog post.)
And then, of course, there’s my first book. I love how the cover came out. There are too many people to thank for that book’s existence to list them all here. Feel free to get a copy and read the acknowledgements!

Is that everything? I feel like I’m forgetting something. (Sorry if it was something you gave me.)

Also, somewhere amongst all of my clutter I have various chunks of various bridges that I’ve come across over time, but I couldn’t find any of them for this post.

There you have it. Some people collect baseball cards or antique bottles. I collect drawbridge stuff. That works out well, because due to its scarcity it doesn’t take too much space.

8 thoughts on “Drawbridge Memorabilia

  1. Carole

    Awesome collection. I know how you are trying to be a minimalist, but sometimes something screams “OMGosh That’s Barb”. Thanks for enriching all our lives.

    Heading to FL in a couple of weeks, and of course every time I “Cross Over the Bridge”, you will be “Gentle on My Mind.
    “I now think I have a serious problem. I cannot get through a day but when someone says something a phrase from a song pops into my head.

  2. Carole

    Oh My, I love your friend Dave’s painting. I think I would place it near my bedroom window so the moonbeams coming through the window would dance across the waters. Such an amazing use of colors. It is like those new “CALM”. app. designed totally relax you in 30 seconds. If you don’t mind I’d like to save it to glance at it before retiring at night.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Angiportus Librarysaver

    I wonder if some time you could scan up that safety manual and upload it for us? There might be some things I don’t know….

    1. Sadly, the picture here of the brochure, front and back, are all that is left of it. I had two pages long of suggestions, but most were rejected, and I didn’t bother keeping the original draft, knowing it would never see the light of day. Sorry.

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