Almost one year ago, the "bridge of love" was dismantled in Paris. Along the wire railings of the Pont des Arts bridge, hundreds of thousands of lovers had written their names and initials on padlocks, throwing the keys into the River Siene. By the time cranes tore up the bridge railings in early June of 2015, an estimated 45 tons of locks had completely covered them.
In addition to worries over structural integrity, the city also seemed to find it rather... uncouth. Bruno Julliard, the deputy mayor in charge of culture, told the New York Times that the bridge panels that publicly affirmed the love of so many people "could be seen as rather pleasant, but as years passed they took on such proportions that they were no longer acceptable for the cultural heritage” of Paris. (Read the NYT article and watch video of the dismantling here.)
Now, along the Walnut St bridge over Deckers Creek, there are inklings of the same tradition stirring in Morgantown.
About two dozen padlocks, large and small, now dot the wiring over the bridge, most with initials and dates. The oldest dates well before the Pont des Arts railings were torn down:
The chain looped through this lock clearly once held some charm or special item, but rust and time has left it dangling.
Most of the dated locks, however, appeared after Pont des Arts bridge exchanged its wire for plexiglass panels. Once there was no way to affix the locks, the practice spread to other bridges in the city, and then to several other cities. Are we seeing a rebirth of the Paris love locks in the hills of West Virginia? That's up to you folks.