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Saving Snoopy!

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The rumor is that Charles Schultz’ niece was at Tarzana Elementary School and asked her famous uncle to donate drawings of Charlie Brown and his friends to decorate the bridge over Wilbur Avenue near the school. Others say it was a member of the PTA that made the request.

The 90-foot bridge was built in 1971, and according to the L.A. Department of Public Works is listed as the “Wilbur Avenue Bridge.” But to thousands of students who grew up in the area, it will always be known as the “Snoopy” bridge after the Peanuts characters painted on its side.

Charles Schultz not only responded to the request but went overboard, donating drawings of the various characters from his famous cartoon. The 12 life-sized metal panels are between three and eight feet wide.

Over the years the bridge, and those panels, have suffered from age and deterioration. The ‘94 earthquake closed the bridge when the city shut it down because of quake damage to its support columns. The bridge was repaired and the community held a parade and a carnival to welcome back their famous friends.

In the mid 70’s, a political party taped pictures of its candidates over the faces of Linus, Peppermint Patty and the rest of the characters, causing  a flurry of outrage. They were quickly removed after a call from Mendie Koenig, the school’s principal from 1972 to 1987. 

Today, the panels have faded with time and have been defaced with graffiti. A grass-roots effort started by Tarzana resident Kirk Donovan, who passes the bridge on his daily walk, has been underway for months to restore the panels to their original glory.

Aided by community leader Patti Jo Wolfson, the two brought the request to the attention of Councilman Bob Blunenfield, who moved the project along through city channels.

“I am so happy to share that the iconic “Snoopy” Bridge is going to be restored! Since the 1970s, the one of a kind Snoopy (also called “Peanuts”) Bridge over Wilbur Avenue near Tarzana Elementary School has been a beloved community landmark. Sadly, it has been defaced with graffiti.  

Fortunately, my team and I have been working closely with community members on how to refurbish this Valley treasure. Recently, I successfully secured funding to restore the panels and I wanted to update you on the progress.  Because the characters on the Bridge are trademarked, we had to secure permission from Charles M Schulz Creative Associates before making any plans for touching the artwork. They have been incredibly cooperative, for which my team and I are very grateful,” Blumenfield told Valley News Group.

Through NextDoor, Donovan found Hattas Studios in Los Angeles to repair the panels. They specialize in custom hand-painted murals, artwork and faux finishes.

“In about two weeks, the panels will be removed to ensure they are not damaged, and that there is no hazard to vehicles passing under the bridge. The restoration should be completed within a month. The work will include application of an anti-graffiti coating both to deter future vandalism and, if it occurs, make it easier to remove.” Blumenfield related. 

“I greatly appreciate the dedication and passion of the community members who brought this issue to my attention, especially Kirk Donovan and Patti Jo Wolfson. I’m glad to be able to play a small part in ensuring that the Peanuts Bridge will remain a Tarzana community landmark for many years to come.”


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Valley News Group
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