This is one of Chicago's oldest surviving highway bascule bridges, an example of the first generation of bascule bridges built in Chicago and among the oldest surviving bascule bridges in North America. The success of these bridges had a profound influence on Chicago's decision to populate essentially the entire navigable river/canal system in the city with trunnion bascule bridges during the 20th Century. Further, these bridges were noted by a number of cities across the country who adopted the specific form of the trunnion bascule bridge which became known as the "Chicago trunnion bascule" bridge type. Each surviving bascule bridge of this first generation in Chicago is nationally significant and should be given the highest preservation priority. This specific bridge was the fourth bridge built in the city according to the first bascule bridge design, which was a complex part-through part-pony truss design as seen here. The superstructure for this bridge was built by Roemheld & Gallery and the Fitzsimmons and Connell Company (both of Chicago) constructed the substructure. Of the small number of surviving first generation bascule bridges in Chicago, this is one of the most heavily altered with a significant number of members, members toward the center of the bridge, having been replaced and/or rivets being replaced with bolts.
Above: Photos showing the previous Division Street swing bridge. This was the first documented bridge at this location and was an iron/wood combination swing bridge. It was hand-turned and built in 1869 by Fox and Howard. It was 180 feet long and 29 feet wide. When the bascule bridge construction began, the swing bridge was relocated to Blackhawk Street Bridge
Above: These photos show the construction of the substructure for the bascule bridge.
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.
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
|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|
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|
Bumpercam: Eastbound Crossing
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.|
© Copyright 2003-2019, HistoricBridges.org. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer: HistoricBridges.org is a volunteer group of private citizens. HistoricBridges.org is NOT a government agency, does not represent or work with any governmental agencies, nor is it in any way associated with any government agency or any non-profit organization. While we strive for accuracy in our factual content, HistoricBridges.org offers no guarantee of accuracy. Information is provided "as is" without warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied. Information could include technical inaccuracies or errors of omission. Opinions and commentary are the opinions of the respective HistoricBridges.org member who made them and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone else, including any outside photographers whose images may appear on the page in which the commentary appears. HistoricBridges.org does not bear any responsibility for any consequences resulting from the use of this or any other HistoricBridges.org information. Owners and users of bridges have the responsibility of correctly following all applicable laws, rules, and regulations, regardless of any HistoricBridges.org information.