Like most of Chicago/Cook County's historic railroad swing bridges, this bridge is very important, since it is an example of a structure type that was once common in the area, but was replaced with Chicago's trademark historic bascule bridges which stand today. Only some of the railroad bridges never made the change to a bascule.
This bridge is difficult to find a good place to photograph from. However a little dead-end road that runs along the south side of the canal appears to be public and passes near the bridge.
The McArthur Brothers and Winston and Company were the substructure contractors for this bridge. The Keystone Bridge Company, listed on the bridge plaque, appears to have been the fabricator for the bridge. However, a report by the canal's chief engineer, Isham Randolph, indicates that the superstructure contractor was Carnegie Steel Company. These were both companies associated with Andrew Carnegie, and this bridge was built around the time that the companies were in flux, eventually resulting in the creation of US Steel and the American Bridge Company, so this may explain the inconsistency. The total cost of the bridge was $76,404.19 and the total weight of iron and steel when the bridge was built was 1,724,636 pounds.
Emil Swensson was an engineer for the Keystone Bridge Company who worked his way up the company to become Chief Engineer around the time this bridge was built. Isham Randolph was Chief Engineer for the Sanitary District. Their portraits are shown below.
One of the reasons why bridges like this swing bridge and many other truss bridges from the 19th century and the very early 20th Century have pinned connections is because it avoided having to drive any rivets in the field. Until portable hand-held pneumatic hammers became common in the early 20th Century, most riveting was done in the shop using very large riveting devices that were very heavy and if they moved at all only moved within the shop. Due to their size, these devices were not economical to use in the field. Some example of shop riveters are shown below.
Sanitary District Plaque1898
SANITARY DISTRICT OF CHICAGO.
BOARD OF TRUSTEES.
JOSEPH C. BRADEN.
ZINA R. CARTER.
BERNARD A. ECKART.
ALEXANDER J. JONES.
JAMES P. MALLETTE.
Builder PlaqueKEYSTONE 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|
Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):
View Bridge Location In:
© Copyright 2003-2021, 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.