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.”

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David Pierini

In June of 2014, David was honored with the 1st Place Award for Best Photo Series, as well as the 1st Place Award for Sports Photo, by the Illinois Press Association. Check out his award-winning caliber...

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