This is Chicago's longest-spanning pony truss trunnion bascule bridge. It is also one of the newer examples with a 1949 construction date. This bridge's superstructure was built by the Mount Vernon Bridge Company of Mount Vernon, Ohio. The Mount Vernon Bridge Company is of interest because it is one of a few bridge companies that built pin connected truss bridges in the late 19th century and did not go out of business or get bought out in the 20th century.
This bridge was painted white for many years but by 2010 had been repainted the maroon color that Chicago has switched to as its preferred bridge paint color.
The first documented bridge at this location was a bridge listed in the Annual Report of the Department of Public Works as a Howe truss built by A. Gottlieb and Company. Soon after it was built, the United States Government condemned the bridge as an obstruction to navigation, so it was relocated and reused at Belmont Avenue in 1892. In 1893, a rare and unusual folding jack-knife bridge was built at this location which provided an 89 foot span with an overall length of 100 feet and a width of 35 feet. The bridge was listed as being made of steel and was built by Shailer and Schniglau. Operated by steam, this bridge was the second example of this ultimately unsuccessful bridge type, the first having been built at Weed Street in 1891 under a patent by Captain William Harmon. In 1903, a Scherzer rolling lift bascule bridge replaced the folding bridge. The bascule bridge superstructure contractor was the American Bridge Company.
Photo Credit: Patrick Hynes
Main PlaqueS. CANAL ST. BRIDGE
FOURTH AT THIS SITE
--- 1949 ---
CITY OF CHICAGO
MARTIN H. KENNELLY
OSCAR E. HEWITT
Commissioner of Public Works
JOHN P. WILSON
Deputy Comm. of Public Works
W. W. DE BERARD
STEPHEN J. MICHUDA
City Bridge & Viad. Engineer
CARL O. JOHNSON
Asst. Bridge Engineer (Constr.)
Midwest Construction & Asphalt Co.
The Mount Vernon Bridge Co.
Simpson Construction Co.
Divane Bros. Electric Co.
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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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