Kinzie Street Railroad Bridge - Previous Bridges

Previous Bridges

Through the 1820s a small settlement grew around Wolf Point, at the forks of the Chicago River. In June 1829, Samuel Miller—who owned a tavern on the north shore of the river beside the forks—and Archibald Clybourne were authorized to run a ferry across the mouth of the north branch of the river, just south of the present Kinzie Street. By 1832 the ferry had been replaced with a pedestrian bridge that was the first bridge to be constructed across the Chicago River.

On October 10, 1848 the Galena and Chicago Union Railroad—Chicago's first railroad—began operating out of a depot on the west side of the Chicago River, near the corner of Canal and Kinzie Streets. Though the City of Chicago had authorized the railroad to construct a bridge across the north branch of the river as early as July 17, 1848, it was not until 1851 that the railroad began to purchase the land needed to build the Wells Street Station to the east of the river. In order to access the new station a floating pontoon bridge designed by Jenks D. Perkins was built across the north branch at roughly the same location as the earlier pedestrian bridge. This bridge—the first railroad bridge in Chicago—was completed in 1852, allowing trains to access the railroad's new Wells Street Station and subsequently industry on the north bank of the Chicago River as far as the Ogden Slip and Navy Pier.

The original railroad bridge was replaced by a swing bridge in 1879 that, along with the Glasgow Railroad Bridge across the Missouri River, was one of the United States' first all steel railroad bridges. This bridge was constructed from Bessemer steel, which proved too brittle and so the bridge was replaced again in 1898. The replacement bridge was constructed on land and floated into position, allowing the old structure to be removed and the new one put in place in 27½ hours on March 13 and March 14, 1898.

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Famous quotes containing the words bridges and/or previous:

    Awake! the land is scattered with light, and see,
    Uncanopied sleep is flying from field and tree:
    —Robert Bridges (1844–1930)

    History is fond of her grandchildren, for it offers them the marrow of the bones, which the previous generation had hurt its hands in breaking.
    Nikolai Gavrilovich Chernyshevsky (1828–1889)