November 12: The Bay Bridge (And Its Troll)

Bay Bridge TrollThe San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge opened for traffic on this day in 1936. However, that’s not what I want to talk to you about. No, I want to talk about the Bay Bridge Troll (seen at right).

When the Bay Area was hit by the Loma-Prieta earthquake in 1989, a section of the Bay Bridge collapsed, leaving the Bridge closed for several weeks. Blacksmith and sculptor Bill Roan lived near the Bridge, and thought that it needed a little good luck token to protect the Bay Bridge and those who traveled on it from further destruction. So, he created a small sculpture of a troll holding a spud wrench to be placed on the Bridge. The iron workers who were repairing the Bridge loved the idea, and welded it to the last beam installed as part of the Bridge repairs.

As the Bay Bridge Troll was only visible to boaters and people working on the Bridge, it was largely unknown to the general public until the San Francisco Chronicle ran a story about the sculpture in 1990. When the California Department of Transportation first heard about the sculpture, they were not pleased but admitted there was nothing to be done about it. The Troll stayed on the Bay Bridge until August 30, 2013 when iron workers removed it shortly before the opening of the Bridge’s new eastern span. The Troll spent four months on display at Oakland Museum of California before disappearing, possibly to Caltrans headquarters. A new troll statue, this one holding a sledge hammer, designed by an unknown artist took residence on the bridge in May of 2014.

Let’s toast both Bay Bridge Trolls with a Tipsy Troll. It’s a potent Irish milkshake made with Jameson, Bailey’s and Guinness (or similar ingredients).

Tipsy Troll

  • 1 1/2 ounces Jameson Irish Whiskey
  • 1 ounce Bailey’s Irish Cream Liqueur
  • 3 ounces Guinness Stout
  • 2 scoops vanilla ice cream
  • 2 ounces chocolate sauce

Glaze the outside of a pint glass with chocolate sauce. Blend all ingredients together, and pour into the glass. Garnish with a Maraschino cherry.

Tomorrow: A college football rivalry so intense, it’s only known as The Game.



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