|7/8/14 Platinum Carbon and Diamine Grey inks, watercolor, Zig markers, Canson XL 140 lb. paper|
Three plaques commemorate the two floating bridges on the southern end of Lake Washington: one for Lacey V. Murrow, the “dynamic director of highways” when the first bridge was built in 1960; one for Homer M. Hadley, pioneering Seattle engineer who designed and proposed the first concrete floating bridge in 1920 in the face of “skepticism and opposition”; and one officially designating the bridges a National Historic Civil Engineering Landmark in 2008. That’s a lot of fanfare in a tiny, tiny park overlooking the bridges in the quiet Leschi neighborhood, and from an engineering perspective, I guess the fanfare is deserved.
To me, the fanfare and landmark are more about my childhood, because the original bridge is what I saw every day from the livingroom and kitchen windows in the house where I spent my first 24 years a few blocks north of the sketch viewpoint. (In the sketch, which faces east, it’s the one on the right.) During daylight hours, we knew about traffic flow or congestion on Interstate 90 long before it was reported. At night, all we could see were the strings of street lights, headlights and tail lights floating over the lake’s blackness. Either way, it was a beacon for my family over the lake we all loved.
In 1989, several years after I had moved out, a parallel bridge was built just north of the first, expanding the busy I-90 corridor between Seattle and the Eastside from four lanes to eight. Time and traffic march on.
An errand in Leschi this afternoon gave me an opportunity to visit my old ‘hood and finally make this sketch, which I have wanted to do since early last year when I saw the Seattle Sketcher’s series of sketches of the bridges.