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This bridge is among the newer of Chicago's deck truss bascule bridges with a 1949 construction date. Historic American Engineering Record mentions a 1942 construction date, but the bridge was not actually completed until 1949 due to steel shortages from World War II and also issues with the Red Line subway construction that was in progress at the time as well in this area of State Street. The bridge is an example of the unique Chicago design which raised the position of the deck truss up just far enough so that the top chord is above the deck like a pony truss, where it can act as a guardrail and also increase both the clearance under the bridge and the streamlined aesthetics of the bridge. This design is known as the railing height truss.
Today, there are a number of bridges in Chicago that display the railing height truss design, and they are all attractive structures, however the newer examples display less ornate bridge tender houses. Constructed in 1949, this bridge is one of the last bridges built in Chicago that has bridge tender houses that display significant aesthetic enhancements. Although not as ornate as earlier bridges from the 1920s-1930s, this bridge's bridge tender houses do display some noteworthy architectural details.
This bridge is one of the widest Chicago bascule bridges and serves an impressive eight lanes of traffic. To accommodate and support this width, the bridge is designed with three truss lines. There are three railing height trusses, including State Street Bridge, that are located one right after another on this section of the river. Of those three, this is the widest, the only one with three truss lines.
This bridge was completed and opened on May 28, 1949. It celebrates its 65th Anniversary in 2014. Click here to view a commemoration article by ChicagoLoopBridges.com.
Above: This aerial view of the bridge during the earlier stages of construction shows the abutments under construction. The trusses of this bridge were assembled in sections off-site, and brought to the construction site on a barge. In the above photo, one of the northern truss sections can be seen off to the side on a barge. One of the southern truss sections can be seen held by cranes on a barge, which is floating right in between the abutments.
Above: This photo shows the bridge construction site. In this photo, the trunnion girders are visible. These unusually shaped girders are a design used on a number of Chicago bascule bridges. Trunnion girders are where the trunnion (and thus the entirety of a leaf) are supported. They address the issues that arise from having a large tail pit for the counterweight in the same location where the trunnion and bascule leaf need to rest and be supported.
Above: At left, a conceptual drawing provided to give an idea of what the bridge would look like when completed. At right, a photo showing abutment construction.
Above: This photo shows the dedication and ribbon cutting for the existing State Street Bridge.
Above: While it did not actually win an official award, the State Street Bridge did get recognized in 1949 by the American Institute of Steel Construction for its beauty. It did get honorable mention however, receiving the certificate seen here.
The above photos show the bridge that preceded the existing bridge. This bridge was a Scherzer rolling lift bascule pony truss bridge. It was built in 1903 with American Bridge Company as the superstructure contractor.
Above: Views of the Chicago River in general, showing the previous bridge at this location built in 1903.
Above: Two additional photos of the previous Scherzer rolling lift bascule bridge. Source: Library of Congress.
Above: Photos of the bridge that preceded the Scherzer rolling lift bridge. It was a 184 foot long metal through truss swing bridge with substantial ornamental details on the portal bracing. The bridge was completed in 1872 following the Chicago Fire. The superstructure contractor was the Keystone Bridge Company. This bridge was rebuilt in 1887 by A. Gottlieb and Company. The center pier of the swing bridge was reconstructed in 1898. Only five years after this reconstruction, the entire bridge was replaced with the Scherzer rolling lift bascule bridge.
Above: A photo of an early State Street Bridge, presumed to be the 184 foot wooden swing bridge built in 1864 by contractors Fox and Howard. This bridge was destroyed in the 1871 fire.
-- 1949 --
CITY OF CHICAGO
MARTIN H. KENNELLY
OSCAR E. HEWITT
Commissioner of Public Works
W. W. DE BERARD
STEPHEN J. MICHUDA
City Bridge & Viad. Engineer
Fitz Simons & Connell Dredge and Dock Co.
The Overland Construction Co.
TO THE MEMORY OF THOSE GALLANT
HEROES FROM THE CHICAGO AREA
WHO WERE MEMBERS OF THE BESIEGED
GARRISON ON THE BATAAN PENINSULA
AND AT CORREGIDOR, PHILIPPINE
ISLANDS, IN WORLD WAR II.
MAY THE COURAGE AND FORTITUDE
DISPLAYED BY THIS GROUP IN THE
FACE OF ADVERSITY BE A CONSTANT
INSPIRATION TO OUR CITIZENS
Rededication PlaqueIn commemoration of the 100th Anniversary of the
Philippine Independence, and on the occasion of
Bataan Day APRIL 9, 1998, this bridge has been re-
dedicated by Mayor Richard M. Daley in honor of
all the Filipino and American Veterans who fought
side-by-side during the Heroic Fall of Bataan and
Corregidor Island, Philippines in 1942.
Donated by the Philippine Department of Tourism
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View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Overview of Chicago Bascule Bridges (HAER Data Pages, PDF)
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This bridge is tagged with the following special condition(s): Unorganized Photos
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