written for the Sidney Herald, published on October 24, 2014
The Fairview Lift Bridge has become home to several mysterious padlocks, which are attached to the bridge’s chain link fence. Rumor has it, the padlocks are a symbol of romance, a trend which has made its way around the world.
“Apparently, in Paris, if you took your fiancee out on the bridge and asked her to marry you, you put a padlock on the bridge to symbolize the long-lasting relationship,” Ray Trumpower, member of the Friends of the Fairview Bridge committee said.
The padlocks, known as Love Locks, are now a well-known fixture on the Pont Des Art bridge in Paris, which stretches over the River Seine. According to an article by ABC News, the trend spilled into France in 2008 from Italy, where young lovers began attaching padlocks to the Ponte Milvio bridge in Venice. The tradition is attributed to the book I Want You by Italian author Frederico Moccia, which was published in 2006.
The trend in China is to ‘lock your soul’ together with another and then throw the key over the edge. The padlocks are called Wish Locks in Taiwan. A large wire rooster was created in Canfield, Ohio specifically for the purpose and the locks have become popular across the United States.
Love Locks can be traced to a Serbian WW1 story, in which two lovers, a schoolmistress and a soldier, broke off an engagement after the soldier fell in love with another woman. The tale ends with the schoolmistress dying of a broken heart after being abandoned by her fiancee for another woman. Years later, Serbian women began writing the names of their loved ones, as well as their own, on padlocks and attaching them to the railings of the bridge where the two schoolmistress and the soldier used to meet.
Now, however, authorities in countries where Love Locks have become popular are concerned the padlocks are destroying historic bridges. Many countries are developing legislation to end the tradition. The Friends of the Fairview Bridge committee plans to let the Love Locks stay.
“We won’t take them down unless they start to become a problem,” Trumpower said. “It’s not causing any problems right now.”