This is a bridge with a long history of alteration and it previously had some mystery attached to it as well, which has since been solved thanks to Pat Barch Hoffman Estate Village Historian and Celeste Kuta, of the Indian Trails Public Library District. Their efforts revealed that the bridge as seen above in a historical photo was built in 1905, and as remarkable as it seems portions of the bridge shown above remain in place, hidden behind under multiple alterations, resulting in the bridge seen today.
Years ago, when HistoricBridges.org first documented this bridge, it became clear from the field visit alone that this bridge had a story. A plaque on the bridge states that the bridge was "rebuilt" in 1982. Next, a look under the bridge shows that the bridge is a much older concrete arch bridge. The 1982 reconstruction appears to have replaced the deck, while adding cantilevers to the arch to widen the deck. A close look under the arch spans themselves shows that apparently the arch itself was widened long ago as well. Two seams visible under the bridge outline the width of the original arch in the center of the arch's width. Both the original and widened portion of the bridge were poured with the aid of wooden plank forms and the impressions of these planks remain in the concrete, however, the arrangement of the planks for the original part of the arch bridge were arranged differently, as is visible by the impressions.
The National Bridge Inventory supplied some additional information into the history of this bridge. It lists a construction date of 1932. However it does not provide information as to whether the 1932 date refers to the original concrete arch, or the bridge after it was widened. However, a historical photo of the Dundee Road Bridge from the Wheeling Historical Society helped solve that mystery, while at the same time bringing a new mystery to this bridge. This photo is shown above. The photo is taken during a low water level, which makes the bridge look taller. This photo of the bridge before it was widened reveals that the bridge originally has some unusual architectural details. A group of lines border the arch and railing, and there is no visual distinction from beside the bridge between the arch and the railing. Finally, a sculpture appears to be near the piers of the bridge. Another bridge shares these details in Cook County, and it is the Lion Bridge. The Lion Bridge shares the grouped line outline and it also has sculptures. These bridges would appear to be built by the same builder. This speculation was later confirmed by Pat Barch and Celeste Kuta as noted above. Therefore, the history of the bridge appears to be as follows:
Original bridge designed by Harry L. Emerson in 1905. This bridge was later widened, most likely in 1932, the date shown in the National Bridge Inventory. Finally, additional rehabilitation occured in 1982, and likely included the replacement of whatever railings replaced the originals when the bridge was widened.
Celeste Kuta also provided a couple newspaper clippings about this. Vague mention is made of the contractor of the bridge in the clippings (shown below) who is mentioned as only "Snyder."
Rehabilitation PlaqueSTATION 10 + 58.7
DES PLAINES RIVER
F.A. RTE. 528 SEC. 1977-288-BR
FA PROJECT 1X-529 (19)
LOADING HS 20
STR. NO. 016-0526
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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.
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