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updated: Mar 10, 2005, 12:00 AM


March 10, 2005 - On-A-Bridge-Ed

In 1920, Warren G. Harding was elected President of the United States.  In 1923, Harding died of a heart attack in San Francisco. He was one of six consecutive presidents, from Lincoln to Kennedy, who died in office after being elected in a year ending in zero.

Harding School, on the Westside of Santa Barbara, was built in 1927.   The Golden Gate Bridge, an aesthetic and engineering masterpiece, was completed in San Francisco in 1937.  In 1993, Santa Barbara School District built a bridge over Robbins Street, connecting one side of Harding School to the other.  In 2005, Edhat Online Magazine chose the Harding School Bridge as the mystery location in its Wednesday Where Is It (WWII) contest.

Harding School is unusual in that it spans both sides of Robbins Street.   The office, library, and computer lab are on the upper grade side, and the auditorium/cafeteria, science lab and larger play area are located on the primary grade side.  The bridge was built to provide handicap access to the school, and as a way to cross the flooded street on rainy days. 


Robbins Street is located at a low spot in the West Side topography, and when there is a lot of rain, water accumulates there. School staff told the dedicated staff of edhat.com that before the bridge was built, they often had to carry students across the street because the water level got too high.  But now the bridge is there and those days are gone - like water under the bridge.

As you can see, it’s not a typical bridge. It hovers close to the ground like a flying saucer. It’s like they faxed over the blue prints, but only the top half came through. Or, maybe someone got too zealous with the crop function in Photoshop. Or it could even be a fashion thing, like those girl’s skirts that are no bigger than pappardelle.  The dedicated staff didn’t find anyone who could give us a definitive answer as to why the bridge did not go all the way to the street.  The most popular guess was that the area underneath was there to let the water flow through it. Another guess was for the aesthetics, but that would be hard to believe.

Although it would be impossible for a car to make it underneath the bridge, a person can navigate the low clearance to the other side if they ducked and stay ducked.


Of course it is less of a challenge to elementary school students who, by virtue of their age, height, and agility, don’t need to duck as much.

The bridge was first pointed out to the dedicated staff by Ashleigh Brilliant, longtime Santa Barbara resident and creator of the popular Pot Shots postcards and syndicated cartoons. Ashleigh calls the bridge, “The Bridge Over Nothing.”

There were many dedicated subscribers for whom it was “nothing” to identify the bridge.  Some gave very detailed answers, others not so much.  Here is how we are going to resolve the tie.  If you answered correctly, send us an email with the subject – “I got the Edhat WWII”.  If your email is the tenth one we receive, then you will be the t-shirt winner.

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