It seems there is a new use for the old bridge. it has become a part of a world-wide craze, that is frowned upon in some places, out and out outlawed in others, but a lot of places love it.
The Old Swinging Bridge at Byram has been a landmark since it was completed in 1905. It was privately constructed, and was immediately condemned by the highway department as soon as it was put into use. But it carried traffic for 82 years.
Ken Mann, who grew up here and now lives in Florida, stopped by the bridge the other day to show it to his daughter as they were on their way back home.
"When I went to high school over here, I went to Byram, of course for middle school and to Jim Hill High School, we would come across here and stop in the middle and, of course, the bridge would go up and down and up and down and everybody would go crazy," said Mann. "This was kind of a hang out for me when I was a kid.
Hinds County restored it as a footbridge in 2013. About the only thing of note to happen up until now is vandals keep tearing up the lights.
But, now a new thing has happened. Locks have started appearing on the cables of the guardrails. Padlocks and keyed locks with names and dates and hearts. Love locks, they are called.
Ken's daughter, Victoria, has heard of them.
"I don't really….I think it was like either in New York or London or something like that and it was where everyone would like, even if it was like your sisterly love or like love of your life, you would say a little something and you would put the locket on the bridge," said Victoria. "But it had collapsed so they had to take it down. So I always wanted to bring a lock there, but now that I know this is here, next time I'm here I'll being a lock.
Love-locks seem to have started on a bridge in Rome taken from a scene in a movie. Then to Paris and London and New York. It was an ancient footbridge over the Seine River in Paris that collapsed under the weight of the locks.
Which brings out the worst in people wanting to preserve history. They hate the locks. And they can overtake a bridge and take on a life of their own.
On the other hand, tourism folks seem to love them. They bring people in. We'll have to wait and see which camp officials around here fall into, to see whether we will love the love-locks on the Swinging Bridge at Byram.
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