Friday, December 18, 2009

Michigan Avenue Bridge, detail

Built: 1920
Edward Bennet, architect
Thomas G. Pihlfedlt, engineer
Hugh Young, engineer

This is the northeast bridge house of the Michigan Avenue Bridge, completed in 1920. This bridge basically opened up the north side of the river for development, which eventually transformed from quiet Pine Street to the Magnificent Mile.

All four bridge houses have high relief sculptures incorporated into the structure. This one is called "The Discoverers" and shows LaSalle, Marquette and Joliet being guided by an armored angel carrying the torch of knowledge. Or something like that. First-rate propaganda.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Jackson Boulevard Bridge

Built: 1916
Thomas Pihlfeldt, engineer
Alexander VonBabo, engineer

This bridge was built by the Sanitary District. Does it look sanitary? It's very much like the other octagonal bridge houses but this one is cast concrete rather than stone or terra cotta. Maybe not the best choice, since it looks like it's falling apart.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Van Buren Street Bridge

Built: 1956
Stephen Michuda, engineer

This bridgehouse looks like a guard tower for a prison. Maybe that's what they were going for. Also, I've seen these same railings on bridges spanning the Sanitary Ship Canal on the north side. They must have been standard IDOT design in the 50s. To the right you can see the support structures for upper and lower Wacker Drive.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Adams Street Bridge

Built: 1927
Thomas Pihlfeldt, engineer
Donald Becker, engineer
Clarence Rowe, engineer

For some reason this bridge is always covered with pigeons... I left them out for clarity.  This time.  The design is influenced by Parisian models.  It's similar to the LaSalle bridge houses, but less elaborate.

The information I've found is good about naming engineers that worked on the project, but less useful at identifying the origination of the bridge house designs.  Some were apparently designed by Edward Bennet (of the 1909 Plan of Chicago fame) and some follow his design specifications.  But I need to track down some better documentation for the more unusal designs.