Bimble to the Lighthouse
Beez Neez (on the right in front of the blue motorboat) seen in the marina from the Bridge of Lions
We got up assuming today would be a very slack day. After a leisurely breakfast, a long shower, but as the water beat down on my bonce I thought it was far too beautiful a day to be inside and decided a slow stroll to the lighthouse was a plan. I heard someone in the next stall to me and out of the shower popped Maggie, I announced my plan, another lady told us “about a mile and a half”, plan formed, outside the boys nodded and Trooper was all for it. Cameras and juice packed, along the road and over the bridge.
The Bridge of Lions is a bascule bridge that spans the ICW, a part of State Road A1A it connects downtown St. Augustine to Anastasia Island. The bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and was included by the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP) on its list of the "11 Most Endangered Historic Sites" in the nation for 1997. The Bridge of Lions was later featured on the cover of the Trust's 1999 engagement calendar. From its earliest days, it was hailed as "The Most Beautiful Bridge in Dixie." It has long been a symbol of the nation's oldest city. Roads & Bridges magazine named the Bridge of Lions as fourth in the nation’s top ten bridges for 2010. Projects were evaluated based on size, community impact and challenges resolved.
First Bridge: Prior to the Bridge of Lions in 1925, there was a wooden bridge, called simply, "The Bridge to Anastasia Island" or "South Beach Railroad Bridge". It was built in 1895, and after a major renovation in 1904, the bridge could accommodate a trolley. The span contained no rise, had a movable opening for shipping and charged a toll for transit.
Original Bridge of Lions: The old bridge frequently broke down, leading to calls for its replacement over the years. The man considered the "Father of the Bridge of Lions" was Henry Rodenbaugh, the vice president and bridge expert for Henry Flagler's Florida East Coast Railway. In the early 1920’s he organised the bond issue to finance the new bridge, selected engineer J. E. Greiner to design it and had his young daughter Jean pour the first bucket of concrete when work began in 1925. Construction came at the height of the extravagant Florida Land Boom of the 1920’s. Designed not just to carry cars, but to be a work of art, cost ten times as much as more prosaic bridges constructed nearby around the same time. It was completed after the land boom busted, and the 1927 dedication ceremony had to be paired with the annual Ponce de Leon Celebration in cash-strapped St. Augustine. The Department of Transportation declared the bridge "structurally deficient and functionally obsolete" in 1999, prompting heated debates on what to do with the structure. A restoration plan was approved, but opponents continued to voice their opposition. Reynolds, Smith & Hills from nearby Jacksonville were awarded the engineering and design contract, estimated at $77 million and projected to take five years to complete.
Replacement Bridge: A "temporary" bridge was constructed adjacent to the original bridge and traffic was diverted while the original bridge was being reconstructed to look like its predecessor. An official closing ceremony for the original Bridge of Lions was held on the 26th of May, 2006. Isabella Heard, one of the young girls on the lead float in the opening of the bridge in 1927, was there to tie the ribbon for its closing seventy nine years later. Several components of the original bridge were either being rehabilitated or returned, the exterior or fascia steel girders were renovated along with the bascule tower piers. The project cost $80 million (four percent over budget). The two lion statues were in safe storage during the work.
New Bridge of Lions: Renovation work was completed on 17th of March 2010 when it reopened for use. Following the removal of the temporary bridge (to an offshore reef), and landscaping, the restored Lion statues were returned (after a six year absence) on the 15th of March 2011. The two Carrara marble Medici lions are copies of those found in the Loggia dei Lanzi in Florence, Italy. The statues were a gift of Dr. Andrew Anderson (1839–1924), who spent the last decade of his life putting works of art in public places in the Ancient City. Made in the Romanelli Studios in Florence, the statues were his last gift, sadly he didn’t live to see them installed.
Along the road a few things caught our eye, Big Nasty clearly needs to shave her armpits. Not certain about Breakfast, Lunch and Acupuncture and our first real look at the lighthouse
My first gun shot wounds in the second window. The need to find out why this sweet little restaurant is on the market .........I didn’t ask
A definite candidate for ‘OCO’. Quite a house adornment. Trooper seeing off a squirrel. A woodpecker. Bear under an amazing tree and his trigger finger ever at the ready
ALL IN ALL AN INTERESTING LITTLE BIMBLE