No one said love was easy.
But it does endure — even in Saturday’s cold — as several couples and hundreds of Valentine’s Day love locks on Kansas City’s Old Red Bridge testified.
Zach and Tina Peckham, who married in October, returned to the bridge to see the lock they had placed there in August just before her birthday. The lock had been Zach’s idea.
“I wouldn’t say he’s very romantic, so these things go a long way for me,” said Tina Peckham of Kansas City.
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Zach Peckham said the engaged couple had stopped at an antique shop last summer and bought “a junky old lock.” She added a bit of the ribbon she was planning to use in the coming wedding decorations.
The Old Red Bridge, managed by the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Department, has become a declaration ground for love. It is in Minor Park, easily visible from East Red Bridge Road and accessible from the park’s north entrance.
Pam and Greg Enserro, an Olathe couple married for 30 years, just learned about the bridge and added their lock Saturday.
“We just stopped by the hardware store and bought a lock. I hope it fits,” Greg Enserro said.
But the lock Mike and Lynda Albrechtsen, also from Olathe, brought to the bridge Saturday didn’t.
It wouldn’t fit around any part of the railings. He thought about locking it around another lock on the bridge but found a better spot — where rust had created two holes close enough together to slip the clasp through.
The love continues through Valentine’s Day on Sunday. Lights at the bridge and path will be on from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
These are low lights, romantic lights, appropriate to the mood lights, says Heidi Downer, marketing and events manager for the parks department.
Lovers can order special locks online from the department for $40. About 500 have been sold since 2013.
Any lock, of course, will do. And all kinds line the railings on both sides of the bridge. Most contain a date, perhaps when it was locked on the bridge or when the couple married.
There are old locks, large locks, tiny locks and combination locks. Couples are tempted to add a key lock to the bridge and toss the key into the Blue River below as a gesture of enduring love.
Don’t do it. It is hard on the environment.
“Leave the fish alone,” Downer said.
Her suggestion is to make a necklace or other jewelry with the key or to keep it in a scrapbook. Or maybe drop it in the trash can near the bridge.
Old Red Bridge love isn’t limited to strictly romantic love. Family love locks, memorial love locks and pet love locks line the Old Red Bridge’s rails.
One lock bears the KC logo and is marked “Harley & Heidi,” as in Downer’s dog.
And don’t be shy about your love. There’s plenty of room on the bridge.
Moreover, it won’t fall down from the weight of the locks like that one in Paris threatened to do before it was taken down. Downer said the Paris bridge was a pedestrian crossing and locks overloaded its chain link sections.
The Old Red Bridge, now along a footpath, was built for and once carried street traffic.