Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: captain54 (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: November 07, 2009 02:15PM

There is an old iron railroad bridge over the Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal, about a block west of the Merchandise. I've always wondered why this hasn't been dismantled, it seems an eyesore for an up and coming area. I checked the connecting tracks leading to the bridge, and they all seem to have not been used for a long time. A Historic Aerials view from 73' shows tracks leading over the river and ending at Orleans (unless the tracks extended UNDER Orleans). I've seen nothing later than that to indicate it was in service. What was the purpose of this bridge?

if you do a google map @ 364 N Canal, I believe you'll see what I'm talking about



http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&ll=41.884499,-87.631631&spn=0,359.980667&z=16&layer=tc&cbll=41.88909,-87.639323&panoid=2P3-MMnDuSBynza5GzymEQ&cbp=12,174.2,,0,5>



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 11/07/2009 02:28PM by captain54.

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: WayOutWardell (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 07, 2009 02:28PM

It was actually in use up until about 2000, bringing supplies to the Sun Times plant. Here's a site with photos of it in use:

http://www.mannresearch.com/lakewood/carroll2.html

There was a recent mention of it being replaced as part of a proposed commuter rail line.

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: captain54 (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: November 07, 2009 02:45PM

interesting...great info, thanks...

so it ran all the way to Clark..passing under Orleans....and is also double-decker

the site mentioned the location as Kinzie and Franklin, and actually it is more Kinzie and Canal.

there are all sorts of ancient rail lines running along street level around the Kinzie/clinton/canal area. Interesting to see what happens. that area has definitely gone through one of the more dramatic transformations I've seen in quite a while.

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: shekaago (---.sub-75-208-213.myvzw.com)
Date: November 07, 2009 02:59PM

I've always wondered about this bridge as I pass by it quite frequently. Thanks for the info! Would be great if the city could do something constructive with all the old abandoned rail lines and corridors.

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: captain54 (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: November 07, 2009 03:15PM

more info...built in 1907, the largest of its type in the world when completed....site of the first ever railroad bridge spanning Chicago River...key to development of Chicago in late 19th century


http://www.historicbridges.org/truss/nbrail/index.htm

the author of the info would definitely be taking exception to my referring to it as an "eyesore"



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/07/2009 03:21PM by captain54.

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: Mr Downtown (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 08, 2009 08:55PM

This railroad line was Chicago's first, the Galena & Chicago Union, which opened in 1848, Later it became part of the Chicago & North Western System, which was purchased by Union Pacific in 1994. The railroad line eventually went all the way east to Navy Pier, though the part east of about Clark was paved over in the 1990s.

There's a lot of talk about setting up a busway that would link Union and Ogilvie Stations to Streeterville using the old railroad right-of-way. Some of the studies have included using the bridge to carry buses across the river. This is one of the railroad bridges made a city landmark in 2007. Mayor Daley is a big fan of railroad bridges as a reminder of Chicago's heritage (as am I).



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/08/2009 10:23PM by Mr Downtown.

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: captain54 (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: November 09, 2009 02:34AM

wow...its also roughly the site of the first ever pedestrian bridge over the Chicago River, built in 1832.

lots and lots of history there.. pretty it up a bit with a brighter color maybe, and make an exhibit out of it

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: WayOutWardell (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 16, 2009 11:20AM

The bridge is somewhat in the news today...

http://www.chicagobreakingnews.com/2009/11/man-found-dead-near-merchandise-mart-downtown.html

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: Serhii (Moderator)
Date: November 16, 2009 04:18PM

Captain, why do you think the bridge is an eyesore?

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: captain54 (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: November 19, 2009 03:37PM

to me, it's got that turn of the century industrial revolution aesthetic where function trumped form and compatibility with the environment. It looks like a black, broken arm sticking out of the ground. I looks odd and out of place. Maybe if it wasn't black.

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: Mr Downtown (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 20, 2009 12:51PM

Railroad bridges were always black, to save money on steel. Since the span would expand in the sun, they could make the bridge a half-inch shorter. :)

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: captain54 (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: November 20, 2009 03:44PM

Mr Downtown Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Railroad bridges were always black, to save money
> on steel. Since the span would expand in the sun,
> they could make the bridge a half-inch shorter.
> :)

I take it you like the bridge as it is.. How about we move it and make it the front entrance to your building.... or in your yard back... or in the middle of your living room

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: Mr Downtown (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 21, 2009 01:33AM

My living room looks out on the similar bridges at 16th Street. My living room has a poster of the Milwaukee Road Cherry Street bridge. I've taken several pictures of the C&NW Kinzie Street bridge for various publications. I give tours of Chicago's movable bridges.

Yes, some of us think Chicago's railroad and industrial heritage is beautiful in its own muscular way:





Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/2009 11:48AM by Mr Downtown.

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: captain54 (---.hsd1.il.comcast.net)
Date: November 21, 2009 02:55AM

eye of the beholder, I guess. some might think the burned out abandoned steel mills in south chicago are beautiful, and to me it's just flat out depressing, and I grew up in the Stockyards. go figure.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/2009 02:56AM by captain54.

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: bwalsh (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 21, 2009 05:24PM

Great picture Mr. Downtown.

Captain, in this case, I think that the black color of the bridge really stands out against the background color of the sky and the buildings in a good way. Makes it seem more powerful and is a symbol of what made this city what it is - railroads and industry put Chicago on the map so to speak.

I am one of those that can see beauty in abandoned buildings. Usually I let my imagination wander and try to picture what it looked like when it was new, how it could be fixed up now and what kind of stories are hidden, known only to the walls and empty rooms, if they could only speak.

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: captain54 (---.dsl.chcgil.sbcglobal.net)
Date: November 21, 2009 06:27PM

I agree, great picture from Mr D, somehow i've never seen it that way. I always seem to be walking by that bridge on a cloudy or dreary day and it brings me back to an era where Chicago was dark, smoky, and dreary.

I'm with you on trying to picture old places as they were when they were new. Especially some of the old shopping districts that were replaced by the malls. I picture those areas teaming with people and vibrant, as opposed to what they are now. sort of beaten up and dreary.

While some would have a valid point in holding the belief that some of the early 20th century structures that are still around signify the brawn and might of Chicago as it was developing during that time, equally I see the point that many of those structures were erected with no regard to form or their integration with the environment.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 11/21/2009 06:28PM by captain54.

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: Quercus (---.dsl.emhril.sbcglobal.net)
Date: December 02, 2009 05:37PM

I love this bridge. It is beautiful and a wonderful piece of our past. In the late 60's I was walking around the area, which was completely deserted and very different than it is now. I waved to the bridgetender and we started talking. I asked him about the bridge, age, etc and he was happy to talk about it. then he asked me if I would like to lower and raise it - just for fun..WOULD I???
The first 80-95 degrees went down with a lever set into floor, the last few feet was a button. I set it down with just the softest of bumps. I was so proud. I would hate to see it go. maybe it needs a friends of the bridge group.

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: WayOutWardell (63.226.79.---)
Date: December 02, 2009 08:19PM

In Cleveland, the abandoned B&O Railroad bridge is lit at night to nice effect. It may be interesting to try that here.

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: the_mogra (---.hfc.comcastbusiness.net)
Date: April 17, 2015 02:10PM

years ago I remember this bridge was kept in a good state of repair, and if the sun-times used it up until about 2000 one obviously knows why. the RR signal lights (usually on red) were lit for example. in the years since it betrays a death knell however and with much reluctance I'd see the point of others considering it an eyesore now. i think the city wants it to continue deteriorating to the point it is beyond 'fixing up', and hopefully stopping just shy of it starting to collapse into the river before a rally produces the funds to remove it completely. at that point it'll look so decrepit no-one would argue the point, right?

but in closing I'll say do you have any idea the hordes of people who'd turn out on a saturday afternoon if the city publicly announced they were going to give the bridge one more down-and-up just for show. wow

Re: Railroad Bridge Over Chicago River @ Kinzie and Canal
Posted by: Jeff_Weiner (---.sub-70-194-97.myvzw.com)
Date: February 11, 2016 04:12AM

Of course you have the same problem now with one of the bridges from the St. Charles Air Line, south of Roosevelt. Nothing left from Canal to the west.

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