Thursday, August 6, 2015

Milwaukee's Removed Bridge near Kinzie Street

Copyleft (CC BY-NC-ND): Copelin Commercial Photographers,
"Bridges, viaducts, and underpasses: Ashland Ave. and Belmont Ave., Image 2",
James S. Parker and Chicago Photography (University of Illinois at Chicago)
William Russ posted a different exposure
[The comments indicate the bridge in the background is Erie Street.
I believe it is Grand Avenue.]
Paul Petraitis shared
(Bridge Hunter, I could not find it in Historic Bridges)
When you see reference to a Kinzie Street RR Bridge, it probably is referring to the now abandoned Chicago & Northwestern RR Bridge south of Kinzie. But there was a Chicago, Milwaukee, St Paul & Pacific bridge that was even closer on the north side.

From the comments on the Flickr link in the caption we learn that it was referred to as the J-O bridge and that it was removed in 1973.

There was heavy industry and railroads along the Chicago River North Branch and on Goose Island until after World War II.

This 1897 map indicates that the Milwaukee had a line going up the east side of the river while the C&NW had a line going up the west side. North of North Avenue the Milwaukee line went west back across the river and became the Bloomingdale Line that connected to the mainline west of Central Park Avenue. (Update: I learned the Bloomingdale Line was originally the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. (ChicagoRails)) The Bloomingdale Line is now The 606 Trail.

The map reminds me that "and Pacific" was not part of the corporate name in 1897. It also shows that the east side of Goose Island was a canal. That is, Goose Island is a man-made island. It was dug to increase the number of lots that had access to water-based transport.

pdf copy from 1915 Smoke Abatement Report, p. 316
Moving our time machine forward from 1897 to 1915, we see that a lot of rail served industry buildings had been built east of Goose Island.
pdf copy from 1915 Smoke Abatement Report, p. 328
The heavy industry served by the Milwaukee Road continues along the track down to Kinzie Street.

Moving the time machine forward from 1915 to 1938 (aerial photo below) shows that much of the heavy industry east of the track has disappeared, but there is still industry between the track and the canal/river.

The segment of track from the C&NW tracks that crosses the river and goes to, and on, Goose Island still exists. The track between that segment and the removed bridge has been removed. The railyard in the initial photo on the east bank is now occupied by the East Bank Club, a health club.
1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP
pdf copy from 1915 Smoke Abatement Report, p. 312
There was industry north of Goose Island as well including the Deering Works of International Harvester. The Deering Works was served by both Milwaukee and C&NW. Since the tracks on the river side connect with Milwaukee, Milwaukee served most of the buildings.

1915 Smoke Abatement Report, p. 311
Center for Railroad Photography & Art posting
By Wally Abbey: Chicago & North Western commuter trains in Chicago in 1952.
You can see part of the swing bridge in the left-center. The Merchandise Mart is in the middle of the picture.

Jeff Nichols posted
Jeff's comment:
Chicago Terminal Transfer Railway Company Bridge over Chicago River (between Taylor and Roosevelt), 1911. Chicago History Museum, DN-0056531
From yet another posting of the picture at the top comes the comment:
Mitchell Brown I remember reading a statistic - in 1950, the USA accounted for fully 50% of the world's GDP, while Chicago accounted for around 33% of the USA's GDP.

That's an insane number.
Jonathan David posted
Where East Bank Club currently sits. Please share your pictures/stories of River North from back in the old days!
[The parking lot used to be railyards. You can see there were industrial buildings close to the loop which is why the Milwaukee had a line up Kingsbury Street.]
Allen Thilk shared David M Laz's photo.
The Kinzie Bridge at the bottom of the pic is still with us, but the rail bridge north of it is long gone.
Ken Olson I believe the building to the right was the original C&E terminal until the swing bridge was added so that passenger trains could terminate at Union Station. Or should I say CUS.
Erik Coleman You're probably correct, that was once the original route from downtown to Pacific Jct. before the "bypass" via Western Ave.
Chicago & North Western Historical Society posted
Here we are looking north along the north branch of the Chicago River. The Kinzie Street bridge isseen at the lower right of the photo. The diagonal swing bridge across the river is the Milwaukee Road bridge which is used to connect the main line of the Milwaukee Road (behind the photographer's left shoulder) to the "Goose Island" line. On rare occasion Milwaukee Road passenger trains used this line if there was a blockage at Western Avenue. The distant bridge is the Erie Street bridge, now gone. So also is the Milwaukee Road bridge as well as the rail yards seen. There is no date or photographer data on the back of the photo held at the archives of the C&NW Historical Society

Keltic Ray posted
For my train folks this line ran to Goose 1972 was removed
Ronnie Lenzi Kinzie St. Bridge in foreground, the east side of swing bridge is the East Bank Club. Way in the back of photo is Erie Cafe. Great photo thanks for posting.
Jeff Bransky That RR swing bridge pivoted off center near the far end.
David Daruszka The bridge was part of the Chicago, St. Paul & Milwaukee's Chicago & Evanston line. It was meant to be a competitive commuter line to the C&NW's. It ran as far north as Wilmette. The tracks that ran past Wrigley Field were part of that line. The CTA line that runs to Howard Street and in to Evanston occupy the former right-of-way.
Jeff Bransky The RR bridge can be seen on this map. On the far right is the Erie Street Bridge which was removed in 1971. You can also see the old configuration of Milwaukee avenue when it was on a bridge above the tracks and intersected Lake Street.
Chicago History Museum via DNAinfo
Kinzie Street Bridge rotated across Chicago River, Chicago, Illinois, November 13, 1899.
[This view must be looking north because the swing bridge in the background appears to be on an angle with respect to the river channel. So it would be this Milwaukee bridge.]
Xavier Quintana posted
A 1958 view of Wolf Point with the Lake Street elevated train and bridge in foreground. Kinzie Street bridge is in the middle of the frame. (Vintage Tribune)
Jeff Bransky commented on a posting
Here’s another photo showing bridges and viaducts over the extensive Northwestern RR yards west of the river.
[Cropped and exposed differently than the photo above.]

In the background of this photo, it looks like the bridge has swung open.
Jim Arvites posted
On this Day in History on January 23, 1970 the Milwaukee Road's "Afternoon Hiawatha" made their final runs between Chicago and Minneapolis.

Thomas McCauley shared
Digitally Zoomed

Dennis DeBruler commented on Thomas' share
Wow, has that view changed. You can tell that C&NW still had railyards on Wolf Point and the Milwaukee Chicago & Evanston branch still had railyards north of Kinzie because of the lack of buildings. Also note the black truss behind the Kenzie Street Bridge. That would be C&E's bobtail bridge in the open position. The red brick building still exists, but its view today is blocked by Hubbard Place and other buildings on both sides of the river.,-87.../data=!3m1!1e3
Also note the fire protection water towers.
Both the 1972 and 1978 topos confirm there was still a lot of track downtown in the 1970s.
1978 Chicago Loop Quadrangle @ 1:24,000

Bill Molony posted
A single Chicago & North Western EMD E3A was sufficient to power the seven-car Shoreland 400 away from Chicago & North Western Terminal in early 1942.
Dennis DeBrulerYou and 1 other manage the membership, moderators, settings, and posts for Chicago Railroad Historians. We can see part of Milwaukee's bobtail bridge behind Clinton Street Tower. That bridge connected the Chicago & Evanston branch to Milwaukee's main tracks going to Union Station.

Photo  posted by Mike Breski
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» Contact Photographer · Photographer Profile Remarks & Notes A steam powered suburban train emerges from the C&NW's Chicago passenger terminal (now Metra's Olgilvie Transportation Center) in this 1952 view by photographer Wallace W. Abbey. Courtesy of the Center for Railroad Photography & Art.
Dennis DeBruler Left of the signal bridge is part of the Milwaukee bridge that connected their Chicago & Evanston route with Union Station.
Dennis DeBruler I took another look because it occurred to me last night that this view should included the Clinton Street Tower. It does, but it is obscured by the escaping steam. The fireman evidently got a good head of steam to leave the station and popped the safety valve. Note how clean the smokestack is. Firemen for exhibition trains deliberately make black smoke when they approach railfans along the tracks. I've watched videos where the stack is clean as it comes into view and then gets dirty when it gets closer. Steam was not as dirty as we would conclude with just today's limited data points.

Jeff Kehoe posted
Here's a 'blast from the past' as MILW heads into Chicago's Union Station in April of 1967. Wonder who had the 'big idea' to paint that bottle of booze on the building in the background?---Geo. Strombeck photo
[Part of this bridge is peaking out to the right of the 1898 North American Cold Storage Warehouse.]
Jim Arvites posted
On this Day in History on January 23, 1970 the Milwaukee Road's "Afternoon Hiswatha" made their final runs between Chicago and Minneapolis.
Tyson Park You can see the Milwaukee Road's "Bobtail" swing bridge over the North Branch of the Chicago River in the distance, just past the Kinzie Street bridge. Interesting to see Wolf Point without the Apparel Center also.Dennis DeBruler I wondered if the bobtail bridge still existed in 1970.Tyson Park It was in use through 1973 when the Milwaukee Road severed the Chicago & Evanston Line at Kingsbury just south of Grand.Matt McClure Now the tracks are covered here. Horrible.Dennis DeBruler Water towers for fire protection still existed.

(Facebook share of David Laz not acknowledging a photo.)

1 comment:

  1. The bridge also carried the commuter trains of the Chicago & Evanston, a Milwaukee Road subsidiary. It followed a circuitous route and was built as a competitive service to the Chicago & North Western. They built a number of impressive station's, including one in Uptown. The service was not well patronized, and a large part of the right-of-way was ceded to the Northwestern Elevated Railroad, today's CTA Red and Brown Line service. A few industries, like coal and lumber yards, continued to be serviced by the rapid transit system with a ground level connection at Wilson Ave. with the Milwaukee Road.