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This skybridge structure has been included on HistoricBridges.org because it includes highly visible bridge-like structures, notably heavy plate girders with hangers below that hold the walkway. The bridge connects the historic 1929 Riverside Plaza (originally the Chicago Daily News Building) with the Ogilvie Transportation Center and what is today known as Accenture Tower. Ogilvie Transportation Center replaced a spectacular Chicago NorthWestern head house that dated to 1912. This replacement (amazingly) did not result in the destruction of the skybridge. Prior to the completion of the Riverside Plaza building, there was nothing more than industrial buildings along the river. This skybridge dates to ca. 1929 because it was associated with the Riverside Plaza construction. The skybridge was described as an "unusual feature" of the building in an August 1, 2019 Engineering News-Record paragraph about the building. Indeed histories of the Riverside Plaza building state that this skybridge actually led to the main lobby of the building originally, connecting with what was then the waiting room of the Chicago and NorthWestern station.
Holabird and Root was the architect for the Riverside Plaza building. Bass Construction Company of Chicago, Illinois were the steel contractors who likely did most of the work on this skybridge. Hegeman and Harris were the general contractors.
The glass shell seen on this skybridge today is not original and is somewhat unusual architecturally since it appears to have been redone to match the architecture of the Ogilvie Transportation Center. This creates a false sense of history, since this walkway is actually associated with the Art Deco Riverside Plaza. Casual viewers who don't notice the riveted girders probably assume this bridge was built at the same time as the Ogilvie Transportation Center. That said, the current glass shell provides a better view of the riveted girders than the previous exterior which is shown in historical photos below.
The steel has since been repainted white since these photos were taken. The painting project took place sometime between May 2014 and September 2015 based on Google Streetview.
Above: Undated historical photo showing previous exterior of structure. Source: Chicago Architectural Photographing Company, Canal Street, Folder 1168A, Sheet 32, CPC_04_D_1168A_032, Chicago - Photographic Images of Change, University of Illinois at Chicago. Library. Special Collections Department.
Above: Undated historical photo showing previous exterior of structure. Source: Chicago Architectural Photographing Company, Canal Street, Folder 1168A, Sheet 34, CPC_04_D_1168A_034, Chicago - Photographic Images of Change, University of Illinois at Chicago. Library. Special Collections Department
Above: 1981 photo showing the former Chicago NorthWestern station. The Riverside Plaza and this skybridge are visible in the distance at the far right.
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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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