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Oaklawn Bridge
South Pasadena, California

To link the South Pasadena Oaklawn housing development and a main thoroughfare, Fair Oaks Avenue, Charles and Henry Greene designed their only bridge in 1906. This graceful reinforced concrete structure spanned the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe rail line, a cycleway, and a private roadway. The bridge consisted of five gently arcing shallow-radius spans totaling 340 feet. Problems were apparent from the start. First the developer had not obtained the necessary official city permits that delayed construction and then soon after completion, a fissure appeared in the arches. A stress test verified the bridge’s safety but worried railroad executives insisted on structural changes to reinforce the bridge. An extra pillar was inserted into the design. This bisected the graceful arc of the main span and ruined the purity of the design. At the foot of the bridge, the Greenes designed a charming waiting station for Oaklawn commuters who needed to catch the streetcar line along Fair Oaks. The Waiting Station is made of large boulders in the craftsman mode topped by a terra cotta roof to offer protection from the elements.