This is among the older of Chicago's bridges with a 1913 construction date, and as such displays the second generation bridge design that the city came up with. Unlike the later pony truss bascule bridges the city would design such as the Franklin Street Bridge (which was built in 1920) the Grand Avenue Bridge has the simpler, more clunky appearance of the earlier pony truss bascule bridges as opposed to the smooth curve seen on Franklin Street.
Local contractors built the Grand Avenue Bridge. The truss superstructure was built in 1913 by the Strobel Steel Construction Company, and the substructure was built by the Fitzsimons and Connell Dredge and Dock Company, both of Chicago.
At least as recently as 1975, a through truss viaduct/overpass led up to the bridge at the western end. This structure appears to have been at least somewhat older than the bascule bridge because it was significantly narrower than the bascule bridge. However despite this it remained in service for at least 50 years after the bascule bridge was built. The wider roadway of the bascule bridge shows the significant foresight that the city had, to build a bridge that while unnecessarily wide in 1914 given the width of the approach viaduct, would accommodate the needs of traffic 50+ years down the road when the viaduct would be replaced with something wider.
Grand Avenue was previously known as Indiana Street in this area. As such, the original plans for this bridge are labeled as the Indiana Street Bridge.
Chicago Department of Transportation is reportedly seeking to rehabilitate this historic bridge, perhaps as soon as 2015.
Photo Credit: Patrick Hynes
Above: Historical photos of the bridge taken in 1944 and 1975, respectively. In both photos, the older and narrower approach viaduct west of the bridge is visible.
City PlaqueCARTER H. HARRISON - MAYOR.
L. E. MCGANN
COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC WORKS
JOS. O. KOSTNER
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC WORKS
JOHN ERICSON, CITY ENGINEER
ALONZO J. HAMMOND
ENGINEER OF BRIDGES AND HARBOR
A. VON BABO, ENG'R. OF BRIDGE DESIGN
Builder PlaqueSUPERSTRUCTURE BUILT BY
STROBEL STEEL CONSTRUCTION CO.
SUBSTRUCTURE BUILT BY
FITZSIMONS & CONNELL D & D CO.
Dedication PlaqueDEDICATED TO THE
EDWARD R. KELLY
MARCH 2, 1987
FROM A GRATEFUL CITY
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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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