Under the viaduct on Oak Park Avenue, the love is tangible. In fact, it’s unbreakable.
Padlocks with painted-on initials, dates and declarations of affection are on a slowly growing display that gives pause to the commuter in a hurry to catch a train.
They began appearing in July, encouraged by the Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park, which was celebrating the impact of the arts on Hemingway’s writings by bringing a piece of Paris — a city beloved by the great author — to his birth town.
The foundation, as part of Oak Park’s sculpture walk, affixed a piece of chain-link fencing on which partners could express their love and “throw away the key.”
To avoid the literal tossing of the key, the foundation provided a box in which keys could be dropped.
Hemingway Foundation Executive Director Allison Sansone brought the idea to Oak Park after vacationing in Paris and seeing a dense display of love locks under a bridge over the Seine River.
“The messages are adorable,” she said. “It’s nice to get everyone’s little love story.”