The Hidden Smokestack and the Ghost Post Office
Jan12

The Hidden Smokestack and the Ghost Post Office

There are things in Chicago that you can’t see because they are not there.  And then there are things in Chicago that you can’t see because they’re right in front of you. In the photo above there are two things of note.  First, is the bridgetender’s house, one of two for the Lake Street Bridge across the Chicago River.  It was built in 1916 and is a fine piece of design by E.H. Bennett.  It is also a historic...

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Randolph Street Bridge Turns 30
Dec19

Randolph Street Bridge Turns 30

Editor’s Note: The Randolph Street Bridge turns 30-years-old this week.  To mark the occasion, Chicago Architecture Blog bridge specialist Patrick McBriarty shared this excerpt from his book “Chicago River Bridges.”  You can learn more about his book and buy it here, in print or Kindle format.     The current Randolph Street Bridge is the newest drawbridge built in Chicago, which is now thirty-years old and...

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All About the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge in Chinatown
Oct08

All About the Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge in Chinatown

Designed by engineers J.A.L. Wadell and John Harrington, this bridge near 19th and Stewart Streets is the second vertical-lift bridge ever built crossing the Chicago River, and only one still standing.  Near Chinatown over the South Branch of the river, this bridge was completed in 1915 for the Pennsylvania Railroad. The bridge is now owned by Amtrak and carries Metra and Norfolk Southern train traffic in and out of Chicago.  ...

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New Serpentine Suspension Bridges Bronzeville to Lakefront
Aug05

New Serpentine Suspension Bridges Bronzeville to Lakefront

Construction has begun on a new pedestrian bridge connecting Bronzeville with Lake Michigan. The current bridge is a rusted relic of the area’s past.   The new design is sleek, modern, and very visible as an architectural landmark with its cable-stayed design.  Its long approaches and span curve gently as they cross Metra and Canadian National railroad tracks as well as South Lake Shore Drive before arriving at the lakefront....

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The Division Street Bridge: See it While You Can
Jun17

The Division Street Bridge: See it While You Can

  One of Chicago’s oldest bridges will soon become a memory. As we reported earlier this year, the eastern Division Street Bridge is going to be torn down and replaced with a newer, and admittedly better, bridge.  But that doesn’t mean the old bridge doesn’t deserve some appreciation. It was built over a hundred years ago and its design was considered revolutionary at the time.  As Chicago Architecture Blog...

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How You Can Get Up Close and Personal With Chicago’s Bridges
Jun04

How You Can Get Up Close and Personal With Chicago’s Bridges

Chicago is unusual in America for the number and variety of bridges that make up our street network.  The city’s bridges are (often) moving chunks of history frozen in steel, telling the story of the city’s development. Over the last few months, you’ve probably noticed a series of articles published on this blog by Patrick McBriarty, who is among the top experts on Chicago bridges.  If you’re a bridge fan, too,...

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Is Chicago About To Lose Its Title of The Drawbridge Capital Of The World?
May19

Is Chicago About To Lose Its Title of The Drawbridge Capital Of The World?

Chicago has many drawbridges; the most of any city in North America. And in classic Second City form, is surpassed only by Amsterdam as the city with the most drawbridges in the world. Chicago has the greatest variety of drawbridge designs of any city on earth. Chicago’s historic bridges embody significant engineering and cultural heritage. It is the world’s greatest working drawbridge museum. Yet, the last drawbridge to be...

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Elevated, Serpentine “Underbridge” Will Connect Two North Side Parks
Apr21

Elevated, Serpentine “Underbridge” Will Connect Two North Side Parks

It’s both instructive and fascinating to listen to a master designer talk about the creative process. A good example is Andrew L. Metter, Epstein’s principal designer. Metter described a number of recent projects last week during an AIA presentation. Epstein has a philosophy of creating a sustainable world, and Metter’s work illustrates that concept. He tries to find opportunities for regeneration in urban planning and design...

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Remote Control Crawler Hefts Recycled Chicago Bridge Into Place
Apr20

Remote Control Crawler Hefts Recycled Chicago Bridge Into Place

An unmanned, electronically-controlled hydraulic device provided the brawn Saturday afternoon to place the former Ashland Avenue Bridge over Western Avenue. It’s a key piece of the patchwork improvements of The 606 (aka “Bloomingdale Trail”) project. Walsh Construction worker bees scurried to and fro around the bridge preparing its intricate movement into place. The bridge started its journey to its new home in the early morning hours...

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Slice of Life: Do You Even Lift?
Apr18

Slice of Life: Do You Even Lift?

The 2014 bridge lift season begins tomorrow.  The photo below was sent in by a Gold Coast Spy showing CDOT inspectors inspecting the Columbus Drive Bridge over the Chicago River.  Also check out the video above by Ryan Jacobs, with time-lapses of several of Chicago’s moving bridges in action. For drivers who want to avoid, or photographers who want to shoot the bridges in action, here’s the schedule through June, 2014:...

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