Pacific Electric Railroad Bridge

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Pacific Electric Railway- El Prado Bridge
Pacific Electric Railroad Bridge (Torrance).jpg
Pacific Electric Railroad Bridge is located in the Los Angeles metropolitan area
Pacific Electric Railroad Bridge
LocationTorrance Boulevard and Bow Street
Torrance, California
Coordinates33°50′15.3″N 118°18′42.1″W / 33.837583°N 118.311694°W / 33.837583; -118.311694Coordinates: 33°50′15.3″N 118°18′42.1″W / 33.837583°N 118.311694°W / 33.837583; -118.311694
Built1913
ArchitectIrving Gill
Pacific Electric Railway
Architectural styleModern Movement
Other
NRHP reference No.89000854[1]
Added to NRHPJuly 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.
  2. "Pacific Electric San Pedro via Torrance Line". www.erha.org.
  3. "Maps showing the PE lines in the area, including the one served by the bridge". Archived from the original on 2009-02-11. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
  4. "Photo and brief history of the bridge and line at Abandonedrailroads.com". Archived from the original on 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
  5. City of Torrance historic sites list Archived 2009-01-27 at the Wayback Machine, accessed November 2008
  6. "Listing at Hellotorrance.com". Archived from the original on 2011-07-11. Retrieved 2009-04-29.
  7. "American History Books". Arcadia Publishing. Retrieved 17 December 2020.
  8. Listing with the California Office of Historic Preservation
  9. "PDF file of the February 2000 edition of the Torrance Historian" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-10-26. Retrieved 2009-04-29.

Other websites[change | change source]