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California Avenue Bridge

California Avenue Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 12, 2006, June 28, 2011, and September 7, 2011

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
California Avenue Over Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal
Location
Chicago: Cook County, Illinois: United States
Structure Type
Metal Rivet-Connected Pratt Pony Truss, Movable: Double Leaf Bascule (Strauss Trunnion) and Approach Spans: Metal Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1926 By Builder/Contractor: Unknown and Engineer/Design: Strauss Bascule Bridge Company (Strauss Engineering Company) of Chicago, Illinois

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
224 Feet (68 Meters)
Structure Length
314 Feet (96 Meters)
Roadway Width
38 Feet (11.58 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s) and 3 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
16600527339

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
View Information About HSR Ratings

Bridge Documentation

Additional Information: Despite its appearance that is similar to bridges that follow the designs of the City of Chicago, this bridge in fact was designed by Strauss Bascule Bridge Company and has the patented design of the county, which included a counterweight trunnion in addition to the main trunnion.

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

Andrew Carnegie

There are a number of bridges on the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal that have a curved pony truss design somewhat similar to the bridges seen in the downtown loop, but the curve is slightly less defined at the ends, perhaps suggesting a slightly lesser concern for aesthetics in this more industrial part of town. This is a good representative example. This bridge is also one of a number of bascule bridges on the canal that no longer operate. In this case, the bridgetender building appears to have been completely removed. This bridge is a two-lane structure, and was built in 1926. Even though a number of these bridges don't raise anymore, these bridges are still unique structures that retain the bascule truss design and as such deserve to be preserved.

California Avenue Bridge Deck Replacement.

Carnegie Steel marks are found on a number of areas on bridge's steel indicating the source of the steel used in this bridge.

The historical photo at the bottom of this narrative shows two lights for the bridge. Looking at the top of each light, Chicago's Municipal Device (inverted Y symbol) can be seen.

The Annual Report of the Department of Public Works for 1914 stated that at that time, plans had been developed to construct a bascule bridge at this location. However, those plans for a "permanent bridge" were scrapped for unknown reasons and instead a plan to build a timber trestle with a plate girder span were prepared instead.

Thanks to Tom Winkle for providing boat transportation to assist in the photo-documentation of this historic bridge.

California Avenue Bridge Deck Replacement.

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Historic Bridges of Chicago and Cook County

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Complete Bridge List

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.

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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Photo Galleries and Videos: California Avenue Bridge

 
View Photo Gallery
Bridge Photo-Documentation
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Photo Gallery
Bridge Photo-Documentation
Mobile Optimized Photos
A collection of overview and detail photos. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer
View Video
Boating Under Bridge
Full Motion Video
Moving eastbound. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.

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Maps and Links: California Avenue Bridge

Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):

View Bridge Location In:

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within a half mile of this bridge.

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 10 miles of this bridge.

Google Maps

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ACME Mapper

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Android: Open Location In Your Map or GPS App

Flickr Gallery (Find Nearby Photos)

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Directions Via Sygic For Android

Directions Via Sygic For iOS and Android Dolphin Browser

USGS National Map (United States Only)

Historical USGS Topo Maps (United States Only)

CalTopo Maps (United States Only)


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