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Romantic European tradition finds new home in capital (VIDEO)

Locked in love

Jamie and Sean Talken placed their love lock on the bridge on their wedding day.

Jamie and Sean Talken placed their love lock on the bridge on their wedding day.

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For several months, couples visiting the Missouri River bike and pedestrian bridge at Jefferson City have been leaving locks and throwing the key into the water.

A tradition believed to have originated in Europe has made its way to Jefferson City.

Passionate lovers personalize a lock, attach it to a bridge and toss the key into the water to symbolize their relationship together.

In recent months, locks have appeared on the Missouri River pedestrian and bike bridge.

“I think the concept of throwing the key in the water is to symbolize your plan to be together forever,” said Jamie Talken. Talken and her husband, Sean, locked their love on the bridge on their wedding day, Sept. 21, 2013.

Talken said the gesture of placing a lock with her and Sean’s initials and wedding date seemed like a special thing to do with their wedding party.

“There’s not a whole lot of locks on the bridge yet,” she said. “Also, I don’t know of anyone else who has done that on their wedding day.”

Bailey Hall and her boyfriend, Luke Brookshire, locked their love on the bridge in May.

The Jefferson City High School graduates have been together for three years and recently parted ways for college. Hall is a freshman at the University of Missouri, and Brookshire attends Linn State Technical College.

“Sometimes, we liked to walk across the bridge together and walk down to the river access and sit on what we call our ‘Jeff City Beach,’” Hall said. “One time when we walked across there last spring, we noticed a few of the locks and thought it would be a good idea.”

You Tube

European Love Locks tradition

Love Locks, a modern tradition which appear in a few places around the world have no certain origin. This is a short film about the locks on Ponte Milvio, one of the oldest bridges in Rome.

The couple locked their love on their third anniversary.

“To us, this was like a promise to stay together, happily in love, even though we would be going to separate colleges soon,” Hall said. “So far, we have kept this promise and are still doing great together.”

She said she walked across the bridge several weeks ago and noticed that the number of locks had grown.

“I think it’s such a cute, romantic thing to do in Jeff City,” she said.

Ryan Burns, communications manager for Jefferson City’s Convention and Visitors Bureau, agrees. She noticed the locks on the bridge in June and sees them as a great asset to the city.

“It’s cool to be able to compare Jefferson City to Paris and to make that connection in people’s minds,” she said.

Lenore Abboud, innkeeper at Cliff Manor Bed and Breakfast on Cliff Street, said she has had guests ask her about the locks on the bridge.

“Some of them have actually added locks, which is kind of cool,” Abboud said. “I think it’s a really beautiful tradition that we’re starting.”

The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) owns the bridge, and is aware of the love locks. They are continuing to monitor the situation.

“While we don’t believe the locks are compromising the integrity or safety of the pedestrian bridge or causing visibility issues at this time, as a general rule, we discourage individuals from tampering with facilities on the state transportation system,” said Sally Oxenhandler, a spokeswoman for MoDOT.

She said the department is not aware of any other love lock bridges in the state.

Many believe that love will continue to have no boundaries for area residents and visitors. Talken, Hall and Burns believe the love lock tradition will only grow.

One Jefferson City couple even included their one-year-old son in their love lock adventure.

Rachel and Mark Johnson, and their son Lane, locked their love on the bridge in July.

They included all three of their initials, their wedding date and their son’s birthday on the lock. When they tossed the key into the river, they said, “Love you forever.”

The gesture means a little more to the Jefferson City family who will soon move to Branson.

“It’s our own personal, little Jefferson City landmark,” Rachel Johnson said.

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