This bridge is one of three bridges of similar design but varying spans and lengths on this section of Sheridan Road in extreme northern Cook County. These are Stone Bridge, Newhall Bridge, and Hawthorne Bridge. The bridges are designed to look like stone arch bridges when in fact they are not. The arches that are readily visible on these bridges are actually thin concrete arch ribs located on each side of the bridge that hold carefully arranged stones in place to create a stone arch bridge appearance. In between these concrete/stone arch ribs is the actual superstructure of the bridge. The superstructure as originally built consisted of a concrete t-beam design, which was a mainstream bridge type when these bridges were built. However these superstructures were replaced in 1979 with steel stringer superstructures. In this sense, the original bridges themselves were demolished and replaced with new bridges. As such, from a technical standpoint, the only parts of these bridges that are of interest from a historic bridge standpoint are the decorative arches and the substructure (piers and abutments), which remain original. Despite the replacement of the bridge superstructures, the arches and substructures appear to retain excellent historic integrity and do not appear to have been altered. The arches continue to function as originally intended which was to hide a mundane structure with an attractive facade. Despite their function as decoration only, the masonry is still quite impressive and it appears considerable effort was made to make these arches look authentic in appearance. The stone is described in the original design plans as "Buff Bedford Stone Masonry." The railings of the bridges also remain in original condition. These bridges are relatively early examples of the practice of hiding an uninteresting bridge type with non-functional frills and decorations. The practice is extremely common today in "context sensitive" bridge design since nearly all modern bridges lack aesthetic quality of any kind, and the only way to make them look anything less than ugly is to conceal the actual bridge or add excessive non-functional decorations.
This bridge is listed on the original design plans as "Newhall Bridge." This is the second longest of the three Sheridan Road Bridges. Unlike the other two bridges, this bridge's railings do not have a distinct hump in them, and instead have a more gradual camber.
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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.
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