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Virginia Street Bridge

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Virginia Street Bridge
The Virginia Street Bridge
Virginia Street Bridge
Virginia Street Bridge
LocationReno, Nevada, U.S.
Coordinates39°31′30″N 119°48′45″W / 39.52500°N 119.81250°W / 39.52500; -119.81250Coordinates: 39°31′30″N 119°48′45″W / 39.52500°N 119.81250°W / 39.52500; -119.81250
Built1905; 115 years ago (1905)
ArchitectJohn B. Leonard
DemolishedJune 8, 2015; 4 years ago (2015-06-08)
NRHP reference #80002471[1]
Added to NRHPDecember 10, 1980; 39 years ago (1980-12-10)

The Virginia Street Bridge was a historic concrete double arch bridge in downtown Reno, Nevada, USA, carrying Virginia Street across the Truckee River.[2] It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.[3] The bridge is sometimes referred to as the "Wedding Ring Bridge" or the "Bridge of Sighs".[2]

In both 2002 and 2006, the bridge was listed as one of the "Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places in Nevada" by Preserve Nevada, a historic preservation organization partnered with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV).[4]

Due to structural and flood-control concerns, the bridge was replaced in 2016.[5][6]


The Virginia Street Bridge, ca. 1910.
The Virginia Street Bridge, ca. 1910.

Built in 1905, the current Virginia Street Bridge is the fifth in a series of bridges to have been built in downtown Reno. The first was a wooden bridge built in 1860 by Charles W. Fuller and was hence called Fuller's Crossing.[3][7] After it was destroyed by a flood, a second bridge, a toll bridge, was built and sold to Myron Lake in 1861, although in 1867 it was also destroyed by a flood.[7] Even though it was replaced by yet another bridge, it became unneeded after the arrival of the Transcontinental Railroad.[7] In 1877, the Washoe County authorized the creation of a new tied-arch bridge made of iron.[3] In 1905, the iron bridge was moved and the current bridge, designed by San Francisco architect John B. Leonard, was built by Cotton Brothers and Company of Oakland, California.[8]


Legend has it that newly divorced women would, after exiting the Washoe County Courthouse, stand on the Virginia Street Bridge and cast their wedding rings into the Truckee River below.[3] Hence, the bridge became known as the main symbol of Reno, which was called the "Divorce Capital of the World" beginning in 1906.[2] Over the years, salvage divers have found actual rings, according to archivist Guy Rocha.[3]

In the 1961 film The Misfits, Marilyn Monroe considers tossing her wedding ring from the Virginia Street Bridge, but decides against it.[3]


  1. ^ "Inventory Nomination Form". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. December 10, 1980. Retrieved October 21, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c "Virginia Street Bridge". National Park Service. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Bledsoe, Bruce (March 19, 2009). "Virginia Street Bridge". The Online Nevada Encyclopedia. Retrieved October 17, 2010.
  4. ^ "The Eleven Most Endangered Historic Places in Nevada". Preserve Nevada. Archived from the original on 31 December 2010. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
  5. ^ DeLong, Jeff (December 24, 2014). "Work to start on 'crumbling' Virginia Street Bridge". Reno Gazette–Journal. Retrieved December 25, 2014.
  6. ^ "Virginia Street Bridge Project". Retrieved January 7, 2015.[dead link]
  7. ^ a b c "Virginia Street Bridge". City of Reno. Archived from the original on 30 December 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  8. ^ "Virginia Street Bridge — Reno, Washoe County". Scenic Nevada. Retrieved October 17, 2010.[dead link]
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Virginia Street Bridge
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