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La Salle Street Bridge

Marshall Suloway Bridge

   


La Salle Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 12, 2006, May 2009, and 2010-2012
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and Videos
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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
La Salle Street Over Chicago River
Location
Chicago: Cook County, Illinois
Structure Type
Metal Rivet-Connected Pratt Pony Truss, Movable: Double Leaf Bascule (Fixed Trunnion) and Approach Spans: Metal Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1928 By Builder/Contractor: Strobel Steel Construction Company of Chicago, Illinois and Engineer/Design: City of Chicago

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
242 Feet (73.8 Meters)
Structure Length
347 Feet (105.8 Meters)
Roadway Width
56 Feet (17.1 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s) and 3 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
16603226800

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Drawings, PDF - HAER Data Pages, PDF

View A Short Biography of Charles Louis Strobel

View A Draft West Loop Historic District Nomination Form That Includes This Bridge

La Salle Street Bridge

About This Bridge

Strobel Steel Construction Company Chicago AdvertisementThis bridge's trusses are quite similar to the nearby Clark Street Bridge. It is somewhat similar to Franklin Street. However, this bridge shares the common trait with La Salle in that the taller ends of the bridges feature more round-shaped ends than Franklin Street. The Grand Avenue Bridge is an example of a bridge from the older "second generation" of bascule bridges that utilizes this same general design (pony truss), but has a more clunky appearance with less curving of the top chord. The La Salle Street Bridge retains its original ornate railings, a trait it shares with the Franklin Street Bridge, but not the Clark Street Bridge. Clark, Franklin and La Salle Street Bridges are perhaps the three most aesthetically pleasing examples of the pony truss bascule bridge in Chicago. The unusual, eye-catching shape that the trusses form is made truly beautiful with the graceful curve of the top chord, and the bridge tender buildings for these bridges are among the more ornate and well-preserved examples in Chicago.

From south to north the La Salle Street Bridge has a 1.58% grade. The La Salle Street Bridge is one of only a few bascule bridges in Chicago constructed with four bridge tender house buildings. Generally, there was not a need for more than two bridge tender houses. The use of four buildings was likely an aesthetic consideration. Given that only a few Chicago bridges feature four bridge tender houses, and that constructing two extra houses would have cost a fair amount of money, it is evident that the La Salle Street Bridge was considered an important crossing. It may have something to do with the fact that La Salle Street south of the bridge is the financial center of Chicago, with the Chicago Board of Trade building in the distance, and other landmarks like the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago located on this street. The La Salle Street Bridge's bridge tender houses are also one of the most ornate of Chicago's bridges. The mansard roof of the buildings contains a decoration that includes the inverted Y which is Chicago's Municipal Device, a symbol of the city.

The La Salle Street Bridge celebrates its 85th Anniversary on December 20, 2013. Jim Phillpis of www.chicagoloopbridges.com produced this news release discussing the event and its significance.

La Salle Street Bridge RaisedCharles Louis StrobelThe official name for this bridge, Marshall Suloway Bridge, was dedicated in 1999 to honor the Commissioner of Public Works under Mayor Richard J. Daley, according to the plaque on the bridge. Suloway also served as Chicago's Chief Engineer for a time. The bridge was built in 1928, with Strobel Steel Company building the superstructure of the bridge. The substructure of the bridge was built by the Central Dredging Company. Kelly-Atkinson Construction Company built the bridge-tender houses, and Norwood-Noonan Company installed the electrical equipment.

Planned Rehabilitation

The Chicago Department of Transportation is planning a major rehabilitation of this iconic historic bridge. They currently anticipate design approval for March 2015. Construction would occur some time after that. The proposed scope of work would include the following: Replacement of deck including deck stringers, and installation of a concrete filled grate deck for the roadway and fiberglass for the sidewalks. Replacement of the truss lateral bracing.  General repairs to the trusses and floorbeams. General repairs to the substructure. Repair of the electrical system and mechanical components as needed. The bridge tender houses will be rehabilitated. Rehabilitation of architectural elements of the bridge tender houses will include stonework, windows, doors, roofing, etc.

Strobel Steel Construction Company

Strobel Steel Construction company built the superstructures for a number of Chicago bridges including the La Salle Street Bridge. A 1914 publication called Builders of Our Nation, Men of Nineteen-Thirteen offered the following discussion of Charles Louis Strobel who formed the company.

Strobel, Charles Louis, civil engineer; born in Cincinnati, O., Oct. 6, 1852; son of Carl Strobel and Ida (Merker) Strobel. He was educated in the Cincinnati public schools until seventeen, then in the Royal Technical University at Stuttgart, Germany, graduating as C.E. He was assistant engineer of the Cincinnati Southern Railway at Cincinnati, 1874-78; assistant to president and engineer at Pittsburgh of Keystone Bridge Co., 1878. He removed to Chicago in October, 1885, retaining connection, as consulting engineer, with the Keystone Bridge Company, and also acting as consulting engineer to Carnegie, Phipps & Company, Limited, until 1893, and other firms. In 1893 he went into business for himself as consulting and contracting engineer for the building of bridges and other structures in steel. In May. 1905, he incorporated his business under the firm name of Strobel Steel Construction Company. He designed and built many important bridges and other structures. He was editor of the Handbook of Useful Information for Engineers and Architects, first published in 1881 for Carnegie, Phipps & Company, Limited. He is a republican in politics. Mr. Strobel is a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and of the Western Society of Engineers. He is a member of the Commercial, Chicago, Chicago Golf. Saddle and Cycle, and University Clubs. He married in Chicago, Ill., Dec. 2, 1890, Henrietta Baxter, who died March, 1905, and has two children: Charles Louis, Jr., born in 1891, and Marion, born in 1805. Residence: 846 Lincoln Parkway, Chicago. Office address: 1744-48 Monadnock Block, Chicago, Ill. Married Mary Wilkins, July J0, 19l0, at Chicago, Ill.

La Salle Street Bridge Construction

Above: This photo shows the construction of the substructure for the bridge. Visible is the counterweight pit and the completed trunnion girder with its unique shape. Typical of trunnion girders, the design allows for the trunnion and the bascule leaf to be held in place, while dealing with a counterweight pit directly beneath where the trunnion is located. This uniquely shaped design employed by the city was a design that did not conflict with patents held by Joseph Strauss, unlike earlier designs the city used, which resulted in a successful lawsuit by Strauss against the city.

La Salle Street Bridge Construction

Above: A photo showing the construction of one of the bascule leaves.

La Salle Street Bridge Construction

Above: Chicago's movable bridges did not always have the steel grid deck that is familiar to those found today. Here, the La Salle Street Bridge is seen having its original deck installed, which consist of asphalt planks laid in a diagonal fashion.

La Salle Street Bridge Construction

Above: A historical photo showing the newly completed bridge.

Main Plaque

WM HALE THOMPSON
MAYOR

RICHARD W. WOLFE,
COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

LORAN D. GAYTON,
CITY ENGINEER.

THOS. G. PIHLFELDT,
ENGINEER OF BRIDGES.

CLARENCE S. ROWE,
ENGINEER OF BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION.
EDWARD F. MOORE,
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC WORKS.

MYRON B. REYNOLDS,
ASSISTANT CITY ENGINEER.

PAUL SCHIDLER,
CITY BRIDGE ENGINEER.

DONALD N. BECKER,
ENGINEER OF BRIDGE DESIGN.

CHICAGO PLAN COMMISSION.
JAMES SIMPSON, PRESIDENT. HUGH E. YOUNG, ENGINEER. BENNETT, PARSONS, & FROST, CONSULTANTS.

CHICAGO CHAPTER OF AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS, ILLINOIS SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTS.

CHICAGO ART COMMISSION.

WM A. MULCAHY, LEON B. KORDELL,
RESIDENT ENGINEERS.


STROBEL STEEL CONSTRUCTION CO.,
SUPERSTRUCTURE
KELLY-ATKINSON CONSTRUCTION CO.,
HOUSES & ENCLOSURES
THE CENTRAL DREDGING CO.,
SUBSTRUCTURE.
WM W. WATSON,
PLUMBING.
NORWOOD-NOONAN CO.,
ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT.

1928

Dedication Plaque

MARSHALL SULOWAY, P. E.
CHIEF ENGINEER 1967 - 1973
COMMISSIONER 1973 - 1979
CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS

MARSHALL SULOWAY BRIDGE

IN RECOGNITION OF OVER FIFTY YEARS OF
ENGINEERING ACHIEVEMENT TO MAKE THE
CITY OF CHICAGO A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE

DEDICATED
MARCH 1999
RICHARD M. DALEY
MAYOR

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Historic Bridges of Chicago and Cook County

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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.

October 23, 2015 - The Franklin Street Bridge celebrates its 95th Anniversary. Please view this announcement prepared by Chicago Loop Bridges or view it on the Chicago Loop Bridges Website.

September 2015 - Fall Bridge Lift Season is Underway. View Schedule.

May 2015 - Michigan Avenue Bridge celebrates its 95th Birthday this month! Click here for a news article.

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.

May 15, 2013 - The Ashland Avenue Bridge over North Branch Chicago River has been recommended for Chicago Landmark designation by the Chicago Art Deco Society.

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.

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Overview of Chicago Bascule Bridges (HAER Data Pages, PDF)

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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Photos and Videos: La Salle Street Bridge

Available Photo Galleries and Videos

Click on a thumbnail or gallery name below to visit that particular photo gallery. If videos are available, click on a video name to view and/or download that particular video.

 
View Photo Gallery
Structure Overview
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
View Photo Gallery
Structure Details
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
View Photo Gallery
Structure Overview
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer
View Photo Gallery
Structure Details
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer
View Video
Raising Bridge, View Beside
Full Motion Video
Note: The downloadable high quality version of this video (available on the video page) is well worth the download since it offers excellent 1080 HD detail and is vastly more impressive than the compressed streaming video. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.
View Video
Lowering Leaf, Oblique
Full Motion Video
Taken June 2011 Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.
View Video
Lowering The Bridge
Full Motion Video
Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.

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