Constructed in 1974, this bridge was built four years after the generous 1970 cutoff date HistoricBridges.org sets of inclusion and heritage consideration of bridges on the website. The bridge has however still been included on this website, albeit marked "Not Historic" because it is a surprisingly attractive structure when viewed from a distance, and because anyone touring the bridges of the Calumet River most likely would be curious to know more about this bridge. Including the bridge also brings consistency to the website listings for the Calumet River since every crossing on the river in this area is listed. Even though it is a modern bridge, the overall structure is traditionally composed. A closer look at the bridge however reveals the very simplistic and plain looking beams that compose the truss web, strongly distinguishing it from older truss bridges.
This bridge's builder plaque lists both American Bridge Company and its owner United States Steel on it. While United States Steel existed since 1901, the actual name does not usually appear on bridge plaques or bridge steel until around the 1950s. This relatively young bridge is an example of such a bridge where the United States Steel name appears in addition to the American Bridge name. Although the bridge itself is not historic, the company that built it has a rich history. The links to historical texts below are a gateway to knowledge of United States Steel and its company town Gary, Indiana (named after Elbert H. Gary, pictured at right) which is located about 13 miles southeast of this bridge.
Thanks to Tom Winkle for providing boat transportation to assist in the photo-documentation of this historic bridge.
The previous bridge at this location was a center pier swing bridge.
Main PlaqueELGIN JOLIET AND EASTERN
BRIDGE NO 710
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Chicago and Cook County are home to one of the largest collections of historic bridges in the country, and no other city in the world has more movable bridges. HistoricBridges.org is proud to offer the most extensive coverage of historic Chicago bridges on the Internet.
Chicago / Cook County Bridge News
October 2015 - Patrick T. McBriarty, author of Chicago's River Bridges, informs HistoricBridges.org that in recognition for the "outstanding and original reference work that will support future scholarship in the history of technology", the book was awarded the biennial Eugene S. Ferguson Prize by the Society for the History of Technology (SHOT) at the SHOT Annual Meeting's awards banquet. See press release. This is the third award for this book. Order Now Direct From The Publisher! or order on Amazon.
September 2015 - Fall Bridge Lift Season is Underway. View Schedule.
October 2014 - A visit to Chicago revealed that the Van Buren Street Pedestrian Bridge was not demolished, but instead extensively rehabbed. The railings are new, but replicate the original design. The concrete encasement was removed and not replaced, and instead the exposed riveted steel beams have been painted. The riveted beams look quite nice, and given the condition of the bridge prior to the project this seems like a good outcome. In other news, the rehabilitation and repainting of the La Salle Street Bridge is ongoing, and the project to extend the Chicago Riverwalk under additional bridges on the Main Branch is continuing.
September 2014 - Chicago's dubious distinction of offering numerous boat tours that pass under the bridges but offer narration only of the buildings has ended with the start of a Wendella tour that focuses on bridges! Information is here.
July 29, 2013 - A project study has been initiated for the reconstruction of historic North Lake Shore Drive. This project puts a large number of historic bridges at risk for demolition and replacement. However, it could also be an opportunity to rehabilitate the bridges. Visit the project website.
April 30, 2013 - Illinois Landmarks has included Chicago's Bascule Bridges as one of their Top 10 Most Endangered Historic Places. View The Official Page.
General Chicago / Cook County Bridge Resources
Chicago's Bridges - By Nathan Holth, author of HistoricBridges.org, this book provides a discussion of the history of Chicago's movable bridges, and includes a virtual tour discussing all movable bridges remaining in Chicago today. Despite this broad coverage, the book is presented in a compact format that is easy to take with you and carry around for reference on a visit to Chicago. The book includes dozens of full color photos. Only $9.95 U.S! ($11.95 Canadian). Order Now Direct From The Publisher! or order on Amazon.
Chicago River Bridges - By Patrick T. McBriarty, this is a great companion to Holth's book shown above. This much larger book offers an extremely in-depth exploration of Chicago's movable highway bridges, including many crossings that have not existed for many years. Order Now Direct From The Publisher! or order on Amazon.
Chicago Loop Bridges - Chicago Loop Bridges is another website on the Internet that is a great companion to the HistoricBridges.org coverage of the 18 movable bridges within the Chicago Loop. This website includes additional information such as connections to popular culture, overview discussions and essays about Chicago's movable bridges, additional videos, and current news and events relating to the bridges.
Additional Online Articles and Resources - This page is a large gathering of interesting articles and resources that HistoricBridges.org has uncovered during research, but which were not specific to a particular bridge listing.
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