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.
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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.
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