February 24, 2013
Residents of Reno, Nevada is bidding a bittersweet farewell to an iconic 110-year-old bridge made famous by newly divorced women — and a Marilyn Monroe character — who walked from the courthouse to cast their past and their wedding rings in the river below.
The "Wedding Ring Bridge," also known as the "Bridge of Sighs," became a symbol of Reno as the "Divorce Capital of the World" until other states relaxed their divorce laws in the 1960s.
The legend of divorced women walking a block from the Washoe County courthouse to the bridge over the Truckee River dates to the 1920s. Photographs, postcards and Hollywood movies depict the scenes — the most famous with Monroe in the 1961 film "The Misfits."
Major demolition work is scheduled for the bridge, which will be replaced by a span critical for flood control.
The classic double-arched, concrete span is officially named the Virginia Street Bridge and was designed by architect John B. Leonard. Iron rails and ornate lamp posts adorn the bridge.
The bridge was built in 1905 on the downtown site where the first permanent wooden structure crossed the Truckee River in 1860.
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