This bridge features the earliest of the pony truss bascule designs seen in Chicago, which includes a less streamlined appearance, and a more "clunky" look to the truss design. It is the only such bridge on the Calumet River, and as such is the oldest highway bascule bridge on the Calumet River. Despite its age, this bridge continues to carry a large volume of traffic. A Cambria steel name is imprinted on the bridge steel, revealing that at least some of the steel on the bridge was fabricated by Cambria steel mills. The bridge tender houses are simple and relatively unimpressive, which is characteristic of the older Chicago bascule bridges which did not include the more substantial buildings included on later bridges.
This bridge was one of the first city-designed bascule bridges to use a counterweight composed mostly of concrete rather than cast and pig iron as had been used in earlier bridges. The design of the bridge included some minor refinements of the city's fixed trunnion design, including elimination of operating struts and a compact layout of the machinery, made possible in part by the shape of the trusses and a new arrangement of the girders which support the movable leaves. As originally built, the bridge had creosoted wooden blocks for a deck surface. The bridge operation was achieved by two 75 h.p. electric motors. When completed, this bridge, with a 200 foot clear span, had the longest clear span of any bascule bridge built by the city at that time. At that time, this bridge was the main route to Chicago from eastern states, which made this a very important bridge. Given this importance, it is unsuprising that a temporary bridge was in place to serve traffic during the construction of this bridge. The temporary bridge was actually the superstructure of the former bridge at this location, which was simply moved onto a temporary substructure placed a short distance north of the bridge. This previous bridge was a hand-turned iron swing bridge, constructed at an unknown date, and was 200 feet long and 34 feet wide.
Thanks to Tom Winkle for providing boat transportation to assist in the photo-documentation of this historic bridge.
City PlaqueCARTER H. HARRISON - MAYOR
L. E. MCGANN
COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC WORKS
JOS. O. KOSTNER
DEPUTY COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC WORKS
JOHN ERICSON, CITY ENGINEER.
THO'S. G. PIHLFELDT.
ENGINEER OF BRIDGES AND HARBOR
A. VON BABO, ENG'R. OF BRIDGE DESIGN.
Builder PlaqueSUPERSTRUCTURE BUILT BY
THE KETLER-ELLIOTT ERECTION CO.
SUBSTRUCTURE BUILT BY
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