It connects a yawning natural expanse of nearly four hundred feet across. Its construction consists of steel platforms and massive cables, anchored at either end by giant concrete pillars. Nothing exists comparable to its design for hundreds of square miles in any direction. It stands in the heart of a thriving upscale neighborhood, overlooking the skyline of a bustling metropolis. Yet, for all its noteworthy prominence, it remains largely unfamiliar to the citizenry that surrounds it.
Its access is no more than a narrow path intersecting an unassuming urban sidewalk. Those aware of its presence gather at the threshold of its jutting thoroughfare, anxious to experience its dizzying allure. It comes alive at the pressure of each intrepid footfall, in a gentle, undulating cadence. After a vigorous winter, the hardy trees on the canyon floor seventy feet below it extend their limbs skyward. They nearly brush the floorboards of the lightweight span, while it wearily buffets the stiff winds carried ashore from the nearby harbor.
Even after a hundred years of unrelenting exposure, its only upkeep amounts to some repairing of the flanges that fasten the handrail cables to its suspended deck. These have fractured under the spirited coaxing of those visitors who crave the heady sensation of maximum midair motion.
If you happen to find yourself in the midst of Banker's Hill, above downtown San Diego, take a moment to seek out the sublime experience of the Spruce Street suspension bridge. Look for its entrance just west of First Avenue, and follow it north to the canyon. There, in the midst of the city hangs a timeless and remarkable achievement awaiting discovery. As you make your way cautiously across this historic treasure of flexing steel, don't be afraid to give that old handrail a good pull. The thrill of the sensation is still as exhilarating, despite the rigors of time.