He chose to copy the Golden Gate Bridge because “it’s neat,” he said. Also, the design of the bridge seemed easier to duplicate than others.
A Columbian reporter first wrote about the replica bridge in March 2006. At that time, Heasley had nearly completed his project. He expected to be done by the spring. About a dozen people were helping him to finish the task.
As Heasley pondered the history of his handmade, local landmark while sitting in a living room recliner, his wife busied herself in the kitchen, dressed from head to toe in green and red Christmas attire. Their tiny Yorkshire terrier, Gia, yipped from her bed under the coffee table.
Outside, the bright orange of the bridge was starkly juxtaposed against a dreary December sky.
No one stopped by to gawk at the bridge. The Heasleys said the number of visitors tends to drop during the winter months.
But before the bridge was even completed, people were knocking on the Heasleys’ door asking to walk across it — taking photos on and of it. One couple asked to get married on the bridge, though the Heasleys don’t recall if that actually happened.
In the decade since it went up, there have been a number of oddities among the visits. Bicyclists often meet up to eat lunch on the bridge. An engineer stopped by the property, wanting to know how Heasley built it. A traveler from Sweden made the trip out to Ridgefield at the suggestion of another Swede who’d done the same.
The people who stop to look at the bridge are mainly curious, Heasley said.
“The first year, it drove us crazy,” Delrae Heasley said. “People were here constantly.”
The bridge has not changed all that much since 2006. Denny Heasley has replaced bits and pieces here and there. He gave it a fresh coat of paint over the summer. He said he’s always working on it when possible.
“It still ain’t done,” he said.