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Calumet River Elgin, Joliet, and Eastern Railroad Bridge

Bridge 710

Calumet River Elgin, Joliet, and Eastern Railroad Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 11, 2006 and September 7, 2011

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Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Railroad (Elgin, Joliet, and Eastern) Over Calumet River
Chicago: Cook County, Illinois: United States
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1974 By Builder/Contractor: American Bridge Company of New York, New York

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
Not Available or Not Applicable
Main Span Length
242 Feet (73.8 Meters)
Structure Length
Not Available
Roadway Width
Not Available
1 Main Span(s) and 2 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
Not Applicable

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)
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Bridge Documentation

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

View historical article about a previous swing bridge at this location.

J. P. Morgan

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.

Elbert H. Gary

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.

View Historical Text: Steel Serves The Nation The Fifty Year Story of United States Steel

View Historical Text: United States Steel A Corporation With Soul

View Historical Text: Gary Indiana: America's Magic City

View Historical Text: If I Had Known About Gary in 1909

View Historical Text: Story of Gary as Told by the Camera

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.

Previous Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Bridge

Previous Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Bridge MachineryPrevious Elgin, Joliet and Eastern Bridge Swing Pier

Main Plaque








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.

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.


Photo Galleries and Videos: Calumet River Elgin, Joliet, and Eastern Railroad Bridge

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Maps and Links: Calumet River Elgin, Joliet, and Eastern Railroad Bridge

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