Pacific Electric Railroad Bridge

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Pacific Electric Railroad Bridge
Pacific Electric Railroad Bridge is located in California
Location: Torrance Boulevard and Bow Street
Torrance, California
Coordinates: 33°50′15″N 118°18′39″W / 33.8375°N 118.31083°W / 33.8375; -118.31083Coordinates: 33°50′15″N 118°18′39″W / 33.8375°N 118.31083°W / 33.8375; -118.31083
Built: 1913
Architect: Irving Gill
Pacific Electric Railway
Architectural style: Modern Movement
Other
Governing body: Local
NRHP Reference#: 89000854[1]
Added to NRHP: July 13, 1989

The Pacific Electric Railroad Bridge or Southern Pacific Railroad Bridge is a historic railroad bridge in Torrance, California USA. It spans across Torrance Boulevard at Bow Street, a short distance west of Western Avenue. It was once part of the north/south Torrance to San Pedro spur line of the Pacific Electric Railway. The line was the railroad's first interurban line to San Pedro.[2] After splitting off to the east from the Union Tool Company plant which was once a short distance south of the bridge, the line ended at a Columbia Steel steel mill (later United States Steel) by running up and over the east/west Torrance local line. It is the only part of the PE which crossed itself this way.[3] This was due to the area's geography. If the railroad simply built a spur off of the main line, it would have meant that trains trying to get to the steel mill would have faced too steep a climb. The steel mill has since been torn down to make way for the national headquarters of American Honda Motor Company, but the remaining part of the Torrance line - which once had two separate tracks - was rebuilt in 2003 and is still in use for local train runs by the Union Pacific Railroad.[4] Gone too are the Pacific Electric's Torrance shops at the western branch of the split, now the site of an industrial park and which still receives trains on the local line.

The bridge was designed by Irving Gill and was built in 1913 as part of the original layout of the city as drawn up by Jared Sidney Torrance and Frederick Law Olmsted, Jr.. It became the city's second entry in the National Register of Historic Places on July 13, 1989 after Torrance High School.[5] [6] [7] It is also listed with the California Office of Historic Preservation. [8]

Though tracks and track parts remain on the bridge, it is no longer in use nor has it been for quite some time. There is no chance of the bridge ever being used to carry trains again, since the right-of-way at either end has been changed and the tracks removed. Even so, the Pacific Electric Railroad Bridge has become a symbol of the city as part of the Torrance Police Department's logo as of January 1, 2000, only the third such change in the department's history.[9]

References[change | change source]

  1. "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 2008-04-15. http://www.nr.nps.gov/.
  2. http://www.erha.org/pesspt.htm History of the Torrance/San Pedro line
  3. http://www.reprise.com/railroadweb/pacific_electric/torrance_map.asp Maps showing the PE lines in the area, including the one served by the bridge
  4. http://www.abandonedrailroads.com/ca_sp_torrance_sanpedro.html Photo and brief history of the bridge and line at Abandonedrailroads.com
  5. City of Torrance historic sites list, accessed November 2008
  6. http://www.hellotorrance.com/89000854_Historic.Cfm?StartRow=1 Listing at Hellotorrance.com
  7. http://www.arcadiapublishing.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=arcadia&Product_Code=0738530654 Link to book about the bridge and other historic sites in the Olmsted area of Torrance
  8. http://ohp.parks.ca.gov/listed_resources/default.asp?num=N1600 Listing with the California Office of Historic Preservation
  9. http://www.ci.torrance.ca.us/PDF/Ths0002.pdf PDF file of the February 2000 edition of the Torrance Historian

Other websites[change | change source]