Historic City News learned in this week’s St. Augustine Report that for six years, the City of St. Augustine owned the Bridge of Lions.
The bridge was “built with civic pride” through a $1 million bond issue approved by city voters in 1927.
Therese Segal, whose Save Our Bridge committee spearheaded a successful campaign to restore the bridge, took commissioners on an historic tour Monday night.
Segal noted that until 1933, the completed bridge was a toll bridge charging ten cents for a horse and rider, 50 cents for autobuses, and $6 to $12 licenses for cars.
The state then leased the bridge, abolished the tolls, and ten years later gained ownership through a lease/purchase agreement.
Segal said the bridge’s history and stature deserve a carefully planned reopening, drawing together grandparents who witnessed the original opening, and grandchildren who will see the bridge into the future, and perhaps a parade of cars representing each decade of the span’s use.
Segal said while the bridge is expected to reopen later this year, the sentinel lions, which have been refurbished in storage, won’t return for another fifteen months until “after the temporary bridge is torn down and landscaping is completed.”
Commissioners plan a discussion of reopening plans at their October 12th meeting.