How the Michigan Avenue Bridge Made Chicago What it is Today via The Chicago Architecture Blog

"The innovation of a double-deck bascule, first applied at Lake Street in 1916,was the basis for the iconic Michigan Avenue Bridge, which opened in 1920.  This new span was the world’s most unusual bridge at the time, and has become an icon synonymous with the City of Chicago.  It replaced the fourth Rush Street Bridge and owes its existence to Daniel Burnham and Edward Bennett’s Plan of Chicago. The Michigan Avenue Bridge and the development of the boulevard to connect the city’s northern and southern sides was a centerpiece of the Plan of Chicago. The project widened Michigan Avenue from Chicago Avenue to the river south of Randolph Street…

…The double-deck Michigan Avenue Bridge’s importance to the city is reflected in its design and ornamentation. It features four corner pylons that double as bridge houses, each constructed of Bedford limestone and varied metalwork in the French baroque style. Strolling past the Michigan Avenue bridge houses, one cannot help but notice their sculptural relief embellishments. The south bridge houses feature the Fort Dearborn Massacre and the rebuilding of the city after the Great Fire. Sculpted by Henry Herring, they were a gift from the B.F. Furguson Fund. The north bridge houses feature explorers Marquette and Jolliet and the town’s early settlers Jean Baptiste Point De Sable and John Kinzie. Created by James Earl Fraser, they were donated by William Wrigley, Jr.

The design of the Michigan Avenue Bridge superstructure was the work of the city’s Bridge Design Section, under the Bureau of Engineering within the Department of Public Works. This effort was led by Thomas G. Pihlfeldt, engineer of bridges, in consultation with Hugh E. Young, the engineer in charge of bridge design. It was designed to resemble the Alexander III Bridge in France, which was built for the Paris World’s Fair in 1900 and is regarded as one of the prettiest bridges in Paris.”

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    How the Michigan Avenue Bridge Made Chicago What it is Today [via The Chicago Architecture Blog] "The innovation of a...
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