Photo Video
Love locks on the Purple People Bridge (Photo by Ron Fischer | WCPO)
Hide Caption
Alicia and Todd, wedding photoshoot on the Purple People Bridge (Photo: Courtesy of Pottinger Photography)
Hide Caption

From Paris to the Queen City: Love locks us together

From Paris with love

a a a a
Share this story

CINCINNATI -- Scattered along the chain-link fence on the Purple People Bridge are padlocks with hearts engraved, names chiseled and dates sketched – but, why?

Symbols of undying love, forever fastened to architecture around the world, have made their way to the Queen City. “Love locks” or love padlocks, believed to have originated in Europe in the 2000s, have become a popular symbol of love across the globe, from Paris to Seoul.

The romantic European tradition has it that couples will write initials, a little story or dates on the locks, then throw the key into the river below as a symbol of everlasting, locked love. Dates can be the day they met, a memorable milestone in their relationship or more commonly, the date of the couple's engagement or wedding.

It has yet to reach that of the Brooklyn "love lock" Bridge and far from that of the Pont de l’Archevêché in the city of love, but the Purple People Bridge that crosses over the Ohio River from Cincinnati to Newport is slowly but surely filling with these locks.

The bridge, which underwent a $4 million restoration project for pedestrian walking, is the longest connector bridge of its kind in the U.S. linking two states together. Residents from Kentucky and Ohio frequent this bridge on a daily basis, myself included and it wasn’t until recently that I noticed locks popping up.

The half-mile bridge, owned by Southbank Bridge Co., is available to rent for special occasions – mostly weddings and receptions, where you can enjoy a beautiful view of the city, day or night.

Pottinger Photography has been photographing weddings and engagement photos for couples on the bridge for quite some time. Photographer and founder, Brenda Pottinger, said that she was surprised when she saw the locks, saying she knew they did it in Europe but hadn't seen it anywhere here until she recently visited the bridge.

 

As an up-and-coming phenomenon in Cincinnati, some people are even taking out Craigslist ads to endorse the lover's growing trend on the bridge. Love Locks Celebration of Love Photography offers photoshoots on the bridge along with the sale of engraved locks. Their ad reads, "Session includes a custom lock with your information engraved on it, up to an hour session including you and your beloved locking the lock, tossing the key, and several posed shots as well."

When And Where Did This Start?

Once done in the dark of night, visitors and lovers would attach locks to the Pont de l’Archevêché and Pont des Arts bridges in Paris. Once seen in the morning light, visitors quickly popularized the idea and both bridges filled with ‘cadenas d’amour’ or little love-locks.

The Ponte Milvio bridge in Rome that passes over the Tiber was another heavily populated lovers scene. In 2007, part of the lamppost in the middle of the bridge collapsed and love-locks were temporarily removed. The mayor added steel columns to the bridge just so lovers could continue the tradition.

Click here to check out the most famous love-lock locations across the globe: Travel Top 10.

Although all signs point to Europe, some say that the concept began in China. The Chinese symbolize their love as two souls "locking" together. Wherever it began doesn't matter now, as its widespread popularity has surfaced across five noted continents.

Although the concept seems endearing, some government officials think otherwise. The Paris council began to cut off the padlocks claiming that they compromise the historical integrity of the city. It has been reported that the government is in the process of implementing a fine for anyone "locking" on the bridge and are attempting to ban the locks altogether.

Authority figures in Paris and Rome have argued that the added weight of the locks could collapse the bridges, ruining architecture built a century or more ago. Historic preservation organizations are fighting to keep the vitality of these "landmarks."

Problems have spread across the globe in regard to the locks. From the Michigan Avenue Bridge in Chicago, the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City and the Big Four Bridge in Louisville, city workers have said that the locks are “unsightly” and take away from the visual appeal of the bridge.

Tradition calls to throw the key into the nearby river, to express that the love between two people never be undone, but environmentally conscious groups and officials overseas have argued to end this. 

How many of you think the love-locks are a heart-warming representation of love or that they are an unnecessary clutter on historical bridges? Would you or have you "locked" with your love on the bridge?

Write us on Facebook or comment below to let us know what you think.

 

Copyright 2013 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Print this article

Comments

Hmm... It looks like you’re not a WCPO Insider. or Subscribe now to contribute!

More Local News
UC goes 'green' with new car charging station
UC goes 'green' with new car charging station

On Saturday, UC officials unveiled the first electric vehicle-charging station on or even around the Clifton campus.

Cingrani, Reds struggle in 8-4 loss to Cubs
Cingrani, Reds struggle in 8-4 loss to Cubs

Darwin Barney and Welington Castillo hit two-run homers and Mike Olt added a solo shot as the Chicago Cubs broke out of…

Photos: West Chester hosts Easter Egg Hunt
Photos: West Chester hosts Easter Egg Hunt

The West Chester Fire Department and Tylersville Road Kroger sponsored the annual West Chester Township Easter Egg Hunt. Hundreds of people…

Couple married for 70 yrs., die 15 hours apart
Couple married for 70 yrs., die 15 hours apart

A couple who held hands at breakfast every morning even after 70 years of marriage have died 15 hours apart.

Police: Woman found dead along Liberty Twp. road
Police: Woman found dead along Liberty Twp. road

A woman was found dead in the 5500 block of Cincinnati-Dayton Road just after midnight Saturday.

LifeSpring Christian: 3 churches, one mission
LifeSpring Christian: 3 churches, one mission

In this week's "Where We Pray," learn about a local church that combines the mission and resources of a large congregation with…

Pet Pals: Hound hunt for Easter
Pet Pals: Hound hunt for Easter

This week on Pet Pals, Katy Campolongo from Fourgotten Paws joined us with two adorable puppies looking for homes.

Living on beans & rice to fight heroin & poverty
Living on beans & rice to fight heroin & poverty

Last year, Crossroads raised $377,000 to help kids in Cincinnati. This year, they're hoping for more to help combat the local heroin epidemic.

Man dies walking on NB I-471 overnight Saturday
Man dies walking on NB I-471 overnight Saturday

Police aretrying to determine why a man was walking on northbound I-471 in Northern Kentucky Saturday morning when he was struck and killed…

Exclusive: Behind-the-scenes of OTR renovation
Exclusive: Behind-the-scenes of OTR renovation

This third installment of WCPO's occasional series shows the next phase of work in the development of Park West in historic Over-the-Rhine.