Tuesday, December 22, 2015

1895 Metropolitan "L" Bridge and 1891 Pueblo Bulk Freighter

(Bridge Hunter, no satellite because it was removed in 1958)
Bridge Hunter indicates that HAER Report MA-35 [HAER], Fort Point Channel Rolling Lift Bridge notes that this was the first Scherzer rolling lift bridge ever designed. (Update: a Van Buren Street Bridge was also designed by Scherzer, and I include more details from the report in the Van Buren Street Bridge notes.)

(Update: information concerning the Wells Street Terminal has been moved to its own notes.)

Uraiwan Dutkiewicz posted
Jackknife Bridge, Chicago River. 1907. Photo by: Hans Behm.
Jon Habermaas: Bridge for Metropolitan Elevated (CTA westside lines,,Garfield Park, Douglas Park, Logan Square and L trains and CA&E trains from Wells Street Terminal.
Michael Bush: Here is a site about the ship in the photo. Interesting tie in for the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Historic Chicago posted a link to a darker exposure

I found a down picture from the same angle so that you can see how the curved girder, called a quadrant, rolls back and forth on the foundation rail.
PeterJ Santora posted
Roy Kessmann also posted

William Shapotkin posted
"All in favor of the return of service on the Garfield Park 'L,' signify by raising your draw." A picture of the out-of-service (since June 22, 1958) rapid transit bridge over the South Branch of the Chicago River. View looks S/W across intersection of Jackson Blvd/Wacker Dr. (BTW -- is that a Parmelee (Railroad Transfer) vehicle at right?) Wm Shapotkin Collection.
Steve Vanden Bosch posted four photos with comments describing the 1902 freighter.
Nolan Skipper LaFramboise II Is she a wooden hull?
Timm Blair Nolan Skipper LaFramboise II yes and you can find additional details here -- https://www.greatlakesvesselhistory.com/historie.../p/pueblo




An 1897 RR map indicates the Metropolitan Elevated ran between Jackson and Van Buren to the Wells Street Station.

A 1938 aerial photo indicates it still existed between Union Station and the (now old) post office.

1938 Aerial Photo from ILHAP

Darla Zailskas posted
Looking northeast from the main Post Office at Van Buren and
the South Branch of the Chicago River, early 1950's

Darla Zailskas posted
Van Buren Street Bridge 1949, the Scherzer rolling-lift bridge shown here at Van Buren, looking northeast, was replaced by a bascule bridge opened in Dec. 1956. The bridge in the background was the famous Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railway bridge used for rapid transit from 1895 until June 22, 1958, when service began on the Congress Expressway. Always used for electric trains, this bridge was the only 4 track bridge in Chicago's history and also served the Chicago Aurora & Elgin Railway AS TOLD by the Department of Public Works

MWRD posted
Historical Photo of the Week: A view looking north from the roof of a building on Van Buren Street, showing a Metropolitan Elevated Rail bridge and the South Branch of the Chicago River, September 1, 1903.

Jennifer Burns shared
[That was a Pennsy/PFW&C freight house on the left.]

MWRD posted
A view from the Adams Street Bridge looking south at the South Branch of the Chicago River showing the new Jackson Street Bridge raised before opening to the public on January 29, 1916.

MWRD posted
The west side abutment for the Metropolitan Elevated RR Bridge over the South Branch of the Chicago River between Van Buren Street and Jackson Boulevard, viewed looking south, on November 11, 1911.

Update: According to an advertisement, this was one of three bridges they mentioned as "in successful operation."
Len Marcus commented on a posting
West Metropolitan L over the Chicago River, was this type of bridge. Carried the CA&E and the West Side Met trains into the Loop.
John B Copleston posted
[This is obviously a colored version of a UIC Library Photo]
One of the photos posted by Marty Swartz
Drawbridge across the Chicago River, from postcard c. 1910.
[This artist preferred lighter colors. Or else it faded a lot.]
Jim Arvites posted
View of a Metropolitan Elevated train on the Van Buren Street Bridge crossing the Chicago River circa 1907.
[Yet another colorization of this photo. I added other images from these notes to the posting as comments.]

Jim Arvites posted again
Bruce Moffat View was actually taken from the Van Buren bridge. The bridge was just the Metropolitan beige as it carried the four tracks of the Metropolitan West Side Elevated. Remained in use through 1958 when CTA closed it. Opened in 1895.
Craig Dickson You can still see the foundation in the Chicago River just north of the Van Buren bridge!

Ethical G Dilemma posted
Chicago circa 1907. "Jack-Knife Bridge, Chicago River." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative by Hans Behm, Detroit Publishing Company.
Xzvier Quintana posted
The view looking east of the elevated route bridge over the Chicago River between Jackson Boulevard and Van Buren Street on July 3, 1961. The bridge will be removed in a campaign to improve the downtown area, wrote the Tribune in 1961. Photo by William Vendetta. (Vintage Tribune Chicago)

David Daruszka commented on a posting
MWRD posted
A view looking north towards the raised Metropolitan Elevated Railroad Bridge and boat traffic on the South Branch of the Chicago River, from a point just north of Van Buren, on November 9, 1911.
MWRD posted on Oct 16, 2021
A comment on a share for which Facebook won't give me a link:
Ken Morrison: The Mauch Chunk, of Buffalo, NY. Owned by the Lehigh Valley Steamship Co., which later became simply Lehigh Valley Transit, very likely part of the railroad... 380 feet long; ships that come to Chicago today (Calumet River) are generally twice as long...

Paul Petraitis posted two photos with the comment: "The glass negative ways "Metropolitan RR"....look at the detail I pulled up!"

David H. Nelson commented on a share by Forgotten Railways, Roads, and Places
David H. Nelson This is the bridge I mentioned crossing the river (looking south).
Dennis DeBruler I believe it is looking north. The Sanitary District bypass channel is on the left side of the photo and the bypass was on the west side of the South Branch.

Richard Ragnar Sammartino commented on another posting by Paul Petraitis of Photo "1" above.

Patrick McNamara commented on Paul's posting
 Photo by Hans Behm - 1907 - from that silly 'shorpy' site that doesn't credit any photographers.......

David Daruszka commented on another posting
 The Union Station headhouse is on the right. The tall building is the CB&Q office building, today's headquarters for the commuter rail agency Metra.
David DaruszkaGroup Admin Built in 1895 removed in 1958.
David DaruszkaGroup Admin The bridge itself was a unique example of a "Sherzer" Rolling Lift Bridge. Unlike a trunion bascule bridge, which pivots on an axle, this lift bridge rolled back like a rocking chair along a track. If you stand on the Van Buren Street bridge and look on the west bank of the river you can see the remnants of the pit for the bridge.
Dennis DeBrulerGroup Admin "Scherzer" I have to look up the spelling every time I use this word. This was the first bridge he designed. I didn't realized until recently that it spans only one side of the river because, when it was built, boats had to fit on one side of the swing bridges that were still present on the river. Chicago used to have a lot of bridges with this design. Cermak Road is the only one left in Chicago. Joliet still has theirs because the foundations are built on dolomite limestone instead of a swamp.

CTA Flickr via Bridge Hunter

Met L Trains Crossing Chicago River

To reach the Loop, trains using the Metropolitan Main Line crossed the Chicago River on a four track drawbridge. In this view dating to the early 1940’s, an eastbound Garfield Park-Westchester train approaches the Loop. In 1958, the elevated structure was abandoned and CTA service was rerouted onto new tracks laid in the Eisenhower Expressway median and into the Dearborn Subway.

MWRD posted
The Metropolitan Elevated RR bridge over the South Branch of the Chicago River, viewed from the west end of the Van Buren Street bridge looking north, on September 23, 1908. Friends of the Chicago River

MWRD posted again
Jeff Bransky commented on a posting
Here is an aerial view of the MET L tracks looking east. You can see the Union Station train sheds, the bridge crossing the River, and the tracks curving on the east side of the river turning south onto Market Street (today’s South Wacker Drive).
Jeff Bransky commented on a posting
On the left, the Union Station Headhouse, Concourse, and train sheds can be seen along with the Metropolitan Elevated tracks and bridge.

MWRD posted
Historical photo of the week: Construction of the west abutment for the Jackson Boulevard bridge, viewed from the northwest corner looking south down the South Branch of the Chicago River, on February 19, 1915. The bascule style bridge was built by the Sanitary District (now MWRD) in 1915.
Dennis DeBruler The Scherzer rolling lift bridge of the Metropolitan West Elevated is in the background. The Chicago, Aurora & Elgin interurban also used that bridge.

That bridge and the Van Buren Street Bridge were the first two bridges built by Scherzer. He developed this design because there was not enough room between the two bridges for swing bridges. Once again, necessity is the mother of invention.

I couldn't figure out which post to add this to. I picked this one because you can see a train on the viaduct in the background. I also added the "water" label because of the storage yard for water supply pipes and fittings in the right foreground.
MWRD posted
Looking north from the Harrison Street Bridge showing the South Branch of the Chicago River and adjacent properties on November 24, 1908.

Flickr of 1940s color slide

More photos of this bridge as the Cliffs Victory went from Baltimore, MD, via the Gulf of Mexico, to the Great Lakes.

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