Historic Chicago Avenue Bridge Targeted for Demolition

Built in 1914 by the Ketler-Elliot Erection Company of Chicago, the historic Chicago Avenue Bridge is scheduled for demolition and replacement with a new non-movable, concrete bridge. As part of this process as the historic Chicago Avenue Bridge was determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, the City and the Chicago Department of Transportation are required by law to offer to give away the bridge to anyone interested in taking it. The underlying law was intended to protect valuable historic assets, but the offer rings hollow with the City of Chicago’s clear lack of genuine interest in seeing this iconic bridge protected, saved or reused.

Built in 1914 by the Ketler-Elliot Erection Company of Chicago, the historic Chicago Avenue Bridge is scheduled for demolition and replacement with a new non-movable, concrete bridge. As part of this process as the historic Chicago Avenue Bridge was determined eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places, the City and the Chicago Department of Transportation are required by law to offer to give away the bridge to anyone interested in taking it. The underlying law was intended to protect valuable historic assets, but the offer rings hollow with the City of Chicago’s clear lack of genuine interest in seeing this iconic bridge protected, saved or reused.

The Chicago Avenue Bridge is a pony truss bascule bridge with an elegant symmetric span of riveted steel beams which taper towards the center. The exposed riveted steel references a heroic industrial age when Chicago was a manufacturing powerhouse, a leader in steel production, and a world-leading bridge design innovator. The bridge was operated from an elegant bridgehouse with a pitched roof, rounded corners, a ribbon of windows, and clad in a decorative copper, now oxidized green like the Statue of Liberty. In a past era when industrial traffic on the north branch was heavy, the bridge opened and closed frequently, but today that need no longer exists.