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The Final Word

January/February 2017 Issue

Old Bridge Love Locks

bridge

Love locks line the span of the Old Red Bridge in Minor Park. This is the bridge’s third incarnation; the original was built in 1859. KC Parks photos

Hands together

With this lock, I pledge thee my troth.

Wait a minute; with what? A lock?

That’s the way couples do it in Kansas City, Mo. It’s a newer custom in the Midwest and it’s called “locking your love,” an outward sign of love and devotion. And the place to go to lock your love is Minor Park’s Old Red Bridge in the south part of the city. It is located between Holmes and Blue River roads.

Heidi Downer, marketing and event manager for the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department, said a recent count of locks came in at 2,500.

“I was in shock. I was thinking maybe 900,” she said.

The love locks gave the old bridge new life, as Downer explained.

“In 2012, we opened a new Red Bridge. The Old Red Bridge was being unused; it’s a pretty little bridge and it has a lot of history. I’d seen love locks from Europe on Pinterest and figured it would come to the U.S. sooner or later. It’d be cool to give people in our area a chance to do it,” she said.

So, just before — you guessed it — Valentine’s Day weekend in 2013, the park folks put a lock on the bridge, took a picture, and pushed the idea to come lock your love on the Old Red Bridge through their social channels. They lighted paths to the bridge for convenience and safety of the city’s love-struck, who came out in force.

“It’s really taken off since,” Downer said.

Now, the bridge, which was dedicated by Harry S. Truman in 1933, is one of the more popular places to get married in the city. It’s a site to pop the question, celebrate an anniversary, or simply declare your eternal love to your honeypie.

Downer said one area family all gathered at the bridge, placed locks for each couple, and took a group picture (above photo).

“Then they did a champagne toast,” Downer said.

Love birds can bring locks they’ve decorated themselves to the bridge or order personalized locks, with a portion of proceeds supporting Kansas City parks. Those who want a wedding at the bridge have to contact the parks department for the appropriate permit.

For Valentine’s Day weekend this year, Downer is considering expanding the events offered at the Old Red Bridge to possibly include live music or s’mores stations. There is plenty of room for romance at the Old Red Bridge, she added.

“I don’t think we’ll fill up the bridge with locks in my lifetime,” she said. “We love love here.” Deborah Reinhardt is managing editor of AAA Midwest Traveler magazine.

BEFORE YOU GO

Personalize your love lock at lock-itz.com or MakeLoveLocks.com. Both companies offer Kansas City designs, along with customization. Love locks also can be purchased at the Minor Park Golf Course pro shop.

Permits for weddings are available online at kcparks.org and click on the link “get a park event permit” or call
(816) 513-7787 for more information.

 


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