Suicide Bridge

The Washington Street Bridge in Minneapolis happens to be the bridge where John Berryman, among others, ended his life. Perhaps the clue is in his poem Dream Song 14–“I conclude now I have no inner resources, because I am heavy bored”–perhaps not.

Here is the bridge from the East Bank. On the left is the Weisman Art Museum, a stainless steel and brick building designed by architect Frank Gehry.

1 the bridge

Potential suicides have two choices, the river or the grassy bank next to it. I have talked to several long-time residents; they all seem to have a story about knowing someone or seeing someone who jumped. Access is easy, there are no screens or barriers, nor do residents seem concerned about not having them, in spite of the sadness surrounding their own personal experiences.
2 the river or the bank
Entering the bridge from the west bank, one sees a tree full of shoes. Is it art or is it a prank? And don’t suicides often remove their shoes before jumping?

4 shoe tree
On the east bank is the Weisman art museum; the Minneapolis skyline is in the background.

3-the Weisman museum
Setting foot on the bridge one finds a “driven to discover-explore the world” sign painted on the sidewalk, with a few options for anyone wishing to “end the boredom”.

driven to discover-explore the world

discover closeup
I suppose those who just want to end some inner demons might prefer the side with the shoe tree.

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