This bridge is one of only three pony truss bascule bridges in Chicago which is composed of three truss lines instead of two, allowing the bridge to have a much wider roadway.
The substructure for this bridge was built by the Fitzsimmons and Connell Company of Chicago, who appears to have built most of the substructures for Chicago's bascule bridges. For most Chicago bridges, the superstructure was built by local contractors, or at least small contractors who are not well-known nationally. This bridge is an exception, with its superstructure being built by the Mount Vernon Bridge Company of Mount Vernon, Ohio. The Mount Vernon Bridge Company was one of the bridge companies that existed back during the height of the pin connected truss era, and built bridges like Michigan's Martin Road Bridge. The company did not die out or get absorbed by the American Bridge Company during the turn of the 20th century, and instead continued on as a bridge builder and fabricator allowing it to make an appearance here in Chicago during the 1930s.
This bridge was constructed with the aid of a temporary bobtail swing bridge built to carry traffic while the bascule bridge was constructed following demolition of the previous lift span. This temporary bobtail swing bridge was later reused as a temporary bridge for Ashland Avenue.
The first documented bridge at this location was built in 1861 and was a wooden bridge built by Fox and Howard. In 1872, this bridge was rebuilt by the King Iron Bridge Company of Cleveland, Ohio as an iron bridge. This bridge was destroyed by a collision with the Steamer Tioga on June 21, 1892. The next bridge at this location (which preceded the existing bridge) was one of the first modern vertical lift bridges constructed in the United States. As such, it enjoyed a great deal of attention from engineers and appeared in many different engineering texts and periodicals. The bridge was designed by J. A. L. Waddell, who became a leading designer and advocate for vertical lift bridges. The portal bracing for this bridge originally included three plaques, a large plaque in the center and two smaller circular plaques at the knee braces. The knee braces also had ornate scrollwork. The bridge superstructure was constructed by the Pittsburgh Bridge Company of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Above: Historical Photos Showing Previous Vertical Lift Bridge. Source: Library of Congress
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.
Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):
Search For Additional Bridge Listings:
© Copyright 2003-2022, 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.