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Madison Street Bridge

Lyric Opera Bridge

Madison Street Bridge

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

Bridge Documented: August 12, 2006, 2010, and June 2011

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and Videos
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and Links

Key Facts

Facility Carried / Feature Intersected
Madison Street Over South Branch Chicago River
Location
Chicago: Cook County, Illinois: United States
Structure Type
Metal Rivet-Connected Pratt Railing Height Truss, Movable: Double Leaf Bascule (Fixed Trunnion) and Approach Spans: Metal Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed
Construction Date and Builder / Engineer
1922 By Builder/Contractor: Ketler-Elliott Company of Chicago, Illinois and Engineer/Design: City of Chicago

Technical Facts

Rehabilitation Date
1994
Main Span Length
221 Feet (67 Meters)
Structure Length
283 Feet (86 Meters)
Roadway Width
38 Feet (11.58 Meters)
Spans
1 Main Span(s) and 3 Approach Span(s)
NBI Number
16603427326

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Bridge Documentation

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View Historical Article About A Temporary Pedestrian Bridge Used During Construction of This Bridge

Madison Street Bridge

John Ericson Chicago City Engineer

This bridge was the first bascule bridge in Chicago whose trusses are configured such that the bridge is partly a pony truss and partly a deck truss. In this innovative design, Chicago engineers positioned the truss so that part of the truss was above the deck which the top chord could also act as a railing to separate vehicular and pedestrian traffic. This gives rise to the descriptive name "railing-height truss." This design also increased the clearance under the bridge since the trusses do not extend so far below the deck. Finally, it also made the bridge look thinner and more streamlined, which was a goal planners and architects had for Chicago bridges.

Madison Street Bridge Construction

This bridge stands out among the bridges of Chicago as one of the most historically and technologically significant since it is the first example of a design that Chicago would use in construction on many bridges during a period of over 40 years. It also retains ornate sidewalk railings that greatly contribute to the visual beauty of the bridge.

The first bridge at this location documented in Annual Reports of the Department of Public Works was an 1849 wooden bridge. The next known bridge built at this location dated to 1856-1857 and was the first bridge in Chicago built entirely with city funds. It was also listed as an iron bridge, making it one of the first iron bridges in the city. It was 155 feet long and the contractor was listed as "Gaylord." In 1875, the bridge was rebuilt as a steam powered iron swing bridge by the American Bridge Company of Chicago. In 1891, this bridge was moved to Washington Street and the bridge was again rebuilt, this time of steel by Ritner and Conley. This bridge was a pin-connected through truss center pier swing bridge. This type of bridge was once common in Chicago and nearly all swing bridges were replaced by bascule bridges to provide an opening without the obstruction of a pier in the center of the bridge. The Madison Street swing bridge, like a number of swing bridges once located in Chicago included ornate portal bracing and portal cresting. Aside from these enhancements, the bridge would have been considered utilitarian in appearance at the time it was constructed.

Madison Street Bridge Deck ConstructionMadison Street Bridge

Madison Street BridgeCharles H. Wacker

Former Madison Street BridgeFormer Madison Street Bridge

 

Main Plaque

WM HALE THOMPSON
MAYOR

CHAS. R. FRANCIS
COMMISSIONER OF PUBLIC WORKS

JOHN ERICSON
CITY ENGINEER
WM BURKHARDT
DEPUTY COMM. OF PUBLIC WORKS

THOMAS G. PIHLFELDT
ENGINEER OF BRIDGES

HUGH E. YOUNG ENGINEER OF BRIDGE DESIGN

CHICAGO PLAN COMMISSION

E. H. BENNETT CONSULTING ARCHITECT

CHICAGO CHAPTER OF AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS

CHICAGO ART COMMISSION

CONSTRUCTION

CLARENCE S. ROWE
ENGINEER OF BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION

SUBSTRUCTURE
FITZSIMONS & CONNELL DREDGE & DOCK CO.

OPERATORS' HOUSES & ENCLOSURE WALLS
THE RALPH H. SIMPSON CO.
CARL O. JOHNSON
RESIDENT ENGINEER

SUPERSTRUCTURE
THE KETLER-ELLIOTT CO.

ELECTRICAL EQUIPMENT
NORWOOD-NOONAN CO.

1922

Rehabilitation Plaque

LYRIC OPERA BRIDGE

MADISON STREET BRIDGE RECONSTRUCTION

CITY OF CHICAGO

DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

1994

RICHARD M. DALEY
MAYOR

J. F. BOYLE, JR.
COMMISSIONER

S. L. KADERBEK
CHIEF ENGINEER

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Historic Bridges of Chicago and Cook County

Flag of Chicago Seal of Cook County

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.

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Overview of Chicago Bascule Bridges (HAER Data Pages, PDF)

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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Photo Galleries and Videos: Madison Street Bridge

 
View Photo Gallery
Bridge Photo-Documentation
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
View Photo Gallery
Bridge Photo-Documentation
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
View Video
Raising Leaf, Elevation
Full Motion Video
Taken June 2011. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.
View Video
Bridge Being Raised, Portal View
Full Motion Video
Note: The downloadable high quality version of this video (available on the video page) is well worth the download since it offers excellent 1080 HD detail and is vastly more impressive than the compressed streaming video. Streaming video of the bridge. Also includes a higher quality downloadable video for greater clarity or offline viewing.

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Maps and Links: Madison Street Bridge

Coordinates (Latitude, Longitude):

View Bridge Location In:

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within a half mile of this bridge.

Bridgehunter.com: View listed bridges within 10 miles of this bridge.

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USGS National Map (United States Only)

Historical USGS Topo Maps (United States Only)

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