Cermak Road was originally known as 22nd Street. This bridge was designed by Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Company. Today this type of movable bridge is in fact known as a Scherzer rolling lift bascule bridge. In Chicago, where the city usually built trunnion bascule bridges, this is the only remaining example of this bridge type on Chicago's roads. The city preferred the trunnion bascule bridge over the rolling lift bridge because rolling lift bridges shift the dead load on the abutments, which tends to wear out and damage the abutments over time on the unstable soil conditions that were found in Chicago. The city became very adept at designing trunnion bascule bridges, and so nearly all of the trunnion bascule bridges in Chicago were designed in-house by the city. The Cermak Road Bridge however, as a rolling lift bridge, was not designed by the city, but was designed by the Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Company which obviously specialized in the rolling lift design.
The superstructure contractor for this bridge was George W. Jackson, Inc. of Chicago which was also listed in the Annual Report of the Department of Public Works under the name of Jackson and Corbett Bridge and Steel Company. The substructure contractor was Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company of Chicago.
Much like the Kinzie Street Bridge, a large amount of original bridge material has been removed and replaced in-kind. As such, while the bridge has lost integrity of original materials, it retains integrity of design and function.
While the primary goal with any historic bridge should be to preserve as much original material as possible, whenever something is replaced, it should be the goal to replace in-kind with as accurate a replica as possible. While it would be nice to see a greater quantity of original material on this bridge, this is nevertheless a good example of how a bridge beyond repair or nearly beyond repair might still be able to display the features which give it historic value. The only major shortcoming of the replacement is that standard high strength bolts were used instead of rivets. If rivets were used it appears it would be a perfect replication. From an aesthetic standpoint, the city could have partially simulated the appearance of rivets by using round head bolts which would make the bolts look more like rivets than the hex heads on the standard bolts the city used.
The previous and first documented bridge at this location was built in 1871 as an iron/wood combination bridge by Fox and Howard. It was 210 feet long and 32 feet wide.
Main PlaqueERECTED BY
SANITARY DISTRICT OF CHICAGO
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
ROBERT R. MCCORMICK
Information and Findings About Cermak Road Bridge District From Chicago Landmarks Designation
Address: Cermak Road, predominantly between Grove
and Jefferson Sts.
This Bridge Contributes To A Designated Chicago Landmark District
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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.
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.
Original / Full Size Photos
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Original / Full Size Photos
|A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. This gallery offers photos in the highest available resolution and file size in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer|
Mobile Optimized Photos
|A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer|
Mobile Optimized Photos
|A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. This gallery features data-friendly, fast-loading photos in a touch-friendly popup viewer. Alternatively, Browse Without Using Viewer|
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