Local Couples Attach ‘Lovelocks’ to Pedestrian Bridge

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Mary Standifer/CullmanSense

CULLMAN – Across the street from Moe’s Original BBQ sits a small pedestrian bridge which connects 1st Ave SE to 1st Ave SW. This bridge has recently garnered some attention from local couples looking for a fun way to make a statement about their relationship. “Lovelocks”, as they are popularly referred to, are padlocks placed on public bridges, monuments and other structures with a couple’s names or initials displayed on them. The couple then throws the key away to signify their everlasting love.

Local couple Jessie Douglas and Stetson Taylor were one of the first couples to bring the tradition to Cullman.

“I like to come up here and count how many [locks there are],” said Douglas.

“We were one of the first people who did it. There was only like four or five, then we put one up here… then there were 12, then 19, then 20, then 25, and now there’s 30 something. It’s just really cool to see all of them fill up.”

The locks on Cullman’s bridge have been a fast growing trend. Jessie and Stetson placed their lock on the structure on June 1, 2014; today 31 locks hang on the bridge overlooking the train tracks. 

While many will recognize this tradition from the well known Pont des Arts bridge in Paris, the lovelock phenomenon is actually a relatively recent occurrence and has been appearing worldwide only since the mid 2000s.

In some places where the lock count reached well into the 5,000 range, the added weight to bridges became a cause for concern.

This issue has sometimes been resolved by officials building separate art fixtures on the bridges for the sole purpose of accommodating the locks and keeping the tradition alive. 

“That’s cheating,” laughed Douglas as she pointed to a combination lock.

“You can remember a combination!” Once the lock has been affixed to the bridge, couples are expected to throw the key down below where the train tracks sit to ensure that the lock cannot be removed. 

Cullman’s small-scale version of this global phenomenon adds uniqueness and personality to what would otherwise be just an average, everyday bridge.