The Indiana Harbor Canal has several surviving historic railroad bascule bridges. This bridge however is located away from the other examples and sits on its own. At one time, a highway bridge on Canal Street was located next to the bridge, but this has been removed and little is known about what type of bridge it was. The existing railroad bridge is a short but excellent example of a Scherzer Rolling Lift bascule bridge. The bridge has the composition of an early 20th Century Scherzer Rolling Lift bascule bridge including the distinctive counterweight that is carefully shaped to visually blend into both the truss and the roller, which helps give the bridge a clean, simple appearance.
This bridge carries the Whiting Branch of the Elgin, Joliet, and Eastern Railroad, which is today owned by Canadian National.
This bridge is located deep within a privately owned area of heavy industry, alongside several other historic railroad bridges at this location. The only reliable, legal way for the public to visit this bridges on the canal is to take a boat on the canal.
Thanks to Tom Winkle for providing boat transportation to assist in the photo-documentation of this historic bridge. Thanks to J. D. McKibben for providing photos of this bridge from on the land and also photos of the bridge in the lowered position.
The Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Company designed this bridge. The company was run by Albert H. Scherzer. His brother William had invented the rolling lift bascule type, but he died before the first one was built, and his brother therefore managed the company. However, Albert met an untimely demise in 1916 (a few years after this bridge was built) when ironically another type of movable engineering got the better of him... he fell down an elevator shaft in Chicago's Monadnock Building. Apparently the company had its offices on the 16th floor, but also used an unusual 17th floor storage area that only had a small railing blocking the elevator shaft, and it is here that he fell presumably by accident.
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