This bridge's trusses are quite similar to the nearby Clark Street Bridge. It is somewhat similar to Franklin Street. However, this bridge shares the common trait with La Salle in that the taller ends of the bridges feature more round-shaped ends than Franklin Street. The Grand Avenue Bridge is an example of a bridge from the older "second generation" of bascule bridges that utilizes this same general design (pony truss), but has a more clunky appearance with less curving of the top chord. The La Salle Street Bridge retains its original ornate railings, a trait it shares with the Franklin Street Bridge, but not the Clark Street Bridge. Clark, Franklin and La Salle Street Bridges are perhaps the three most aesthetically pleasing examples of the pony truss bascule bridge in Chicago. The unusual, eye-catching shape that the trusses form is made truly beautiful with the graceful curve of the top chord, and the bridge tender buildings for these bridges are among the more ornate and well-preserved examples in Chicago.
From south to north the La Salle Street Bridge has a 1.58% grade. The La Salle Street Bridge is one of only a few bascule bridges in Chicago constructed with four bridge tender house buildings. Generally, there was not a need for more than two bridge tender houses. The use of four buildings was likely an aesthetic consideration. Given that only a few Chicago bridges feature four bridge tender houses, and that constructing two extra houses would have cost a fair amount of money, it is evident that the La Salle Street Bridge was considered an important crossing. It may have something to do with the fact that La Salle Street south of the bridge is the financial center of Chicago, with the Chicago Board of Trade building in the distance, and other landmarks like the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago located on this street. The La Salle Street Bridge's bridge tender houses are also one of the most ornate of Chicago's bridges. The mansard roof of the buildings contains a decoration that includes the inverted Y which is Chicago's Municipal Device, a symbol of the city.
The La Salle Street Bridge celebrates its 85th Anniversary on December 20, 2013. Jim Phillpis of www.chicagoloopbridges.com produced this news release discussing the event and its significance.
The official name for this bridge, Marshall Suloway Bridge, was dedicated in 1999 to honor the Commissioner of Public Works under Mayor Richard J. Daley, according to the plaque on the bridge. Suloway also served as Chicago's Chief Engineer for a time. The bridge was built in 1928, with Strobel Steel Company building the superstructure of the bridge. The substructure of the bridge was built by the Central Dredging Company. Kelly-Atkinson Construction Company built the bridge-tender houses, and Norwood-Noonan Company installed the electrical equipment.
The Chicago Department of Transportation is planning a major rehabilitation of this iconic historic bridge. They currently anticipate design approval for March 2015. Construction would occur some time after that. The proposed scope of work would include the following: Replacement of deck including deck stringers, and installation of a concrete filled grate deck for the roadway and fiberglass for the sidewalks. Replacement of the truss lateral bracing. General repairs to the trusses and floorbeams. General repairs to the substructure. Repair of the electrical system and mechanical components as needed. The bridge tender houses will be rehabilitated. Rehabilitation of architectural elements of the bridge tender houses will include stonework, windows, doors, roofing, etc.
Strobel Steel Construction company built the superstructures for a number of Chicago bridges including the La Salle Street Bridge. A 1914 publication called Builders of Our Nation, Men of Nineteen-Thirteen offered the following discussion of Charles Louis Strobel who formed the company.
Strobel, Charles Louis, civil engineer; born in Cincinnati, O., Oct. 6, 1852; son of Carl Strobel and Ida (Merker) Strobel. He was educated in the Cincinnati public schools until seventeen, then in the Royal Technical University at Stuttgart, Germany, graduating as C.E. He was assistant engineer of the Cincinnati Southern Railway at Cincinnati, 1874-78; assistant to president and engineer at Pittsburgh of Keystone Bridge Co., 1878. He removed to Chicago in October, 1885, retaining connection, as consulting engineer, with the Keystone Bridge Company, and also acting as consulting engineer to Carnegie, Phipps & Company, Limited, until 1893, and other firms. In 1893 he went into business for himself as consulting and contracting engineer for the building of bridges and other structures in steel. In May. 1905, he incorporated his business under the firm name of Strobel Steel Construction Company. He designed and built many important bridges and other structures. He was editor of the Handbook of Useful Information for Engineers and Architects, first published in 1881 for Carnegie, Phipps & Company, Limited. He is a republican in politics. Mr. Strobel is a member of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the American Society of Civil Engineers, and of the Western Society of Engineers. He is a member of the Commercial, Chicago, Chicago Golf. Saddle and Cycle, and University Clubs. He married in Chicago, Ill., Dec. 2, 1890, Henrietta Baxter, who died March, 1905, and has two children: Charles Louis, Jr., born in 1891, and Marion, born in 1805. Residence: 846 Lincoln Parkway, Chicago. Office address: 1744-48 Monadnock Block, Chicago, Ill. Married Mary Wilkins, July J0, 19l0, at Chicago, Ill.
Above: This photo shows the construction of the substructure for the bridge. Visible is the counterweight pit and the completed trunnion girder with its unique shape. Typical of trunnion girders, the design allows for the trunnion and the bascule leaf to be held in place, while dealing with a counterweight pit directly beneath where the trunnion is located. This uniquely shaped design employed by the city was a design that did not conflict with patents held by Joseph Strauss, unlike earlier designs the city used, which resulted in a successful lawsuit by Strauss against the city.
Above: A photo showing the construction of one of the bascule leaves.
Above: Chicago's movable bridges did not always have the steel grid deck that is familiar to those found today. Here, the La Salle Street Bridge is seen having its original deck installed, which consist of asphalt planks laid in a diagonal fashion.
Above: A historical photo showing the newly completed bridge.
Main PlaqueWM HALE THOMPSON
CHICAGO PLAN COMMISSION.
CHICAGO CHAPTER OF AMERICAN INSTITUTE OF ARCHITECTS, ILLINOIS SOCIETY OF ARCHITECTS.
CHICAGO ART COMMISSION.
Dedication PlaqueMARSHALL SULOWAY, P. E.
CHIEF ENGINEER 1967 - 1973
COMMISSIONER 1973 - 1979
CHICAGO DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS
MARSHALL SULOWAY BRIDGE
IN RECOGNITION OF OVER FIFTY YEARS OF
ENGINEERING ACHIEVEMENT TO MAKE THE
CITY OF CHICAGO A BETTER PLACE TO LIVE
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