West by Southwest to Stickney

Chapter 2 Photos, 1–27

(photos 28–54 here and 55–82 here)

Chicago River and South Branch

Photo 2.1
Photo 2.1

The Chicago Terminal Railroad bridge over the South Branch looking north from Twelfth St. on May 1, 1901. The first bascule railroad bridge built by the District to replace a restrictive center pier swing bridge served for 27 years until removed to allow for straightening the South Branch. Looking north, the nearly completed west leaf is down and the east leaf up while erection is in progress. Immediately behind, is the old railroad center pier swing bridge that was removed. (MWRD photo 1864)

Photo 2.2
Photo 2.2

The west pier for the Metropolitan West Side Elevated Railroad bridge stood out in the South Branch, posing an impediment to navigation as well as flow in the river channel. Immediately north, the center pier of the Jackson Street swing bridge was also an impediment. The pier for the upstream bridge was removed when the bridge was reconstructed five years after this November 22, 1911, photograph, but the railroad bridge pier wasn’t removed until the 1950s. (MWRD photo 4707)

Photo 2.3
Photo 2.3

Construction of the Ashland Avenue bridge over the South Branch is nearing completion on July 30, 1902. The south leaf is partially open in this view to the west. Numerous lumber yards are located all along the north bank, east and west of Ashland. (MWRD photo 2161)

Photo 2.4
Photo 2.4

Erection of the steel framing for the Canal Street bridge north leaf is in progress on June 27, 1902. Looking southeast across the river, the channel will be widened and the dock wall in the lower right removed and rebuilt adjacent to the building wall. (MWRD photo 2154)

Photo 2.5
Photo 2.5

The south abutment of the Dearborn Street bridge is under construction on June 8, 1906. Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company, the substructure contractor, had to extend the foundation shafts to bedrock due to thin water-bearing sand layers in the clay sub-soil. The south bank of the river was lined with warehouses in the early part of the century. (MWRD photo 3450)

Photo 2.6
Photo 2.6

While work continues on November 26, 1904, erecting steel framing on the east leaf of the Eighteenth Street bridge, the west leaf has been lowered for installation of the road deck and trolley tracks. Looking southeast, some of the machinery is visible that enables this Scherzer rolling lift bascule bridge to move between the closed and open positions. (MWRD photo 3023)

Photo 2.7
Photo 2.7

The Harrison Street temporary swing bridge looking southeast on January 30, 1903. Due to delays in the final design of the permanent bascule bridge and after demolition of the old center pier swing bridge, a pontoon supported swing span was fabricated and installed in the interim. Even in its short life, the pontoon bridge was closed for repairs several times caused by accidents and equipment breakdown. (MWRD photo 2279)

Photo 2.8
Photo 2.8

Looking northwest on June 6, 1905, erection of steel framing is in progress for the east leaf of the permanent Harrison Street bascule bridge while a tugboat tows a schooner downstream. The large building and smokestack at left is the Harrison Street Generating Station, which was expanded in 1903, more than doubling its generating capacity. (MWRD photo 3116)

Photo 2.9
Photo 2.9

Recently completed, the Jackson Street bridge is a handsome addition along the South Branch, looking downstream on May 26, 1916. Design of the bridge began in 1912 after railroad land acquisition along the west bank was completed. The bridge observed its centennial in 2016 and remains in service. (MWRD photo 5469)

Photo 2.10
Photo 2.10

Looking south over the north approach to the Loomis Street bridge on May 20, 1904, steel erection is progressing while work remains on the north abutment. Construction of the south abutment was particularly delicate due to the proximity of the gas holding tank at left. This photo is reversed and will be corrected. (MWRD photo 2746)

Photo 2.11
Photo 2.11

The Randolph Street bridge is nearing completion on April 24, 1903. Looking west, the eastbound lanes are open to traffic while finishing work on the westbound lanes progresses. The foundation of the Star and Crescent Milling Company building in the left background required modification to accommodate bridge construction. (MWRD photo 2326)

Photo 2.12
Photo 2.12

Completion of the new and modern State Street bridge brought a welcome improvement in traffic between the Loop and the North Side. Looking north along the west side of the bridge from South Water Street on May 14, 1903, one can see the steady flow of foot and wheel traffic. (MWRD photo 2332)

Photo 2.13
Photo 2.13

Both leaves of the Throop Street bascule bridge are in the closed position for work on the road deck. Looking east on July 30, 1902, a large gas holding tank is located on the north bank about one block east of the bridge. Part of another similar tank is at the extreme right and is immediately adjacent to the bridge’s south abutment, requiring the substructure contractor to take special precautions to avoid interference with the tank and gas distribution operations. (MWRD photo 2164)

Photo 2.14
Photo 2.14

Looking northeast toward the Twenty-Second Street double-leaf bascule bridge on March 21, 1907, one can see what a wonderful difference these bridges made in the openness of the river channel. This is the only Scherzer rolling lift bridge remaining in service in Chicago. (MWRD photo 3652)

Photo 2.15
Photo 2.15

Construction of the new Twelfth Street bascule bridge by the City of Chicago interrupted traffic on this busy thoroughfare. On July 29, 1920, a downstream-bound tugboat is passing the open pontoon pedestrian crossing while people are waiting on the east and west approach ramps. Construction of this bridge was delayed by planning for the straightening of the river channel. The District reimbursed the city for half of the cost. (MWRD photo 7760)

Photo 2.16
Photo 2.16

Boats frequently collided with bridges, both during construction and after the bridge was in service. Repairs are underway on December 7, 1908, after the steamer Eber Ward collided with the upstream face of the Chicago Terminal Railroad bridge, damaging the lower chord and three truss panels of the bridge and tearing a large hole in the port side of the bow of the steamer. (MWRD photo 3955)

Photo 2.17
Photo 2.17

The Clark Street center pier swing bridge remained in service connecting the Loop with the North Side in this June 13, 1922, view looking east. While workers are repairing the center pier protective fence, part of the 15-year old Dearborn Street bascule bridge is visible under the left Clark Street bridge opening. While a new bascule bridge was being constructed in 1929, the swing bridge suffered a fatal accident when knocked off its turntable by a passing barge. (MWRD photo 9162)

Photo 2.18
Photo 2.18

The Seipp Building, located on the east bank of the South Branch south of Van Buren Street, required modification after the District purchased part of it for channel widening. Looking northeast on January 18, 1906, a portion of the building was demolished and a new façade constructed from the top down. In addition to paying all costs for building modifications, the District also paid for tenant relocation. (MWRD photo 3301)

Photo 2.19
Photo 2.19

New foundations and dock wall were also built for the Seipp Building. Looking south from Van Buren Street on June 12, 1906, the river-facing new wall is complete and new foundations are in place prior to construction of the new dock wall. The dock wall will be built along the line of piling indicated by the man with his foot propped up on the piling. (MWRD photo 3475)

Photo 2.20
Photo 2.20

Numerous grain elevators lined the banks of the South Branch, such as the one shown here on January 19, 1910, on the east bank at about Fourteenth Street. Looking north, the Twelfth Street viaduct is in the background. The foreground is the site of the former Iowa Elevator, purchased and demolished for channel widening. Later in the year, a new dock wall will be constructed at left where the men are standing and the land in the foreground will be removed. (MWRD photo 4277)

Photo 2.21
Photo 2.21

New dock wall on the west bank of the South Branch is shown on April 27, 1917, looking south toward the Taylor Street and Chicago Terminal railroad bascule bridges, both built by the District in 1901. Removal of old and construction of new dock wall was necessary after the District widened the channel to the specified 200-foot width. (MWRD photo 5880)

Photo 2.22
Photo 2.22

The wooden piling at left, along the line of what will become Hoyne Avenue, was the upstream end of the West Arm of the South Fork on May 3, 1910. The upstream extension beyond the piling had already been filled in. Across the arm, the gap in the piling is where the inlet to the West Thirty-Ninth Street conduit will be built. The conduit drained the arm to a sewer in Western Avenue discharging to the Sanitary & Ship Canal. North of the arm are a few homesteads. (MWRD photo 4351)

Photo 2.23
Photo 2.23

Looking west along Thirty-Ninth Street on May 3, 1910, from a point west of Damen Avenue. The West Thirty-Ninth Street conduit will be constructed from Hoyne Avenue to Western Avenue. The railroad overpass in the distance is at Western Avenue and more housing is seen in the background. (MWRD photo 4356)

Photo 2.24
Photo 2.24

The West Arm of the South Fork looking northwest toward the West Thirty-Ninth Street conduit inlet at Hoyne Avenue, if extended, on April 26, 1911. This arm was the original Bubbly Creek and is completely covered by a scum of floating sewage solids. The inlet and conduit was a failed attempt to remedy the offensive nuisance of Bubbly Creek by drawing off some of the sewage and diverting it to the Sanitary & Ship Canal. (MWRD photo 4630)

Photo 2.25
Photo 2.25

Construction of the Stock Yards intercepting sewer along the south bank of the West Arm is shown on September 27, 1916, looking east at Damen Ave. This sewer solved the sorry state of Bubbly Creek by diverting the north flowing sewers in Ashland and Damen directly to the West Thirty-Ninth St. conduit, bypassing the West Arm. This early sewer was unusual for the District since it was constructed of brick, whereas most District sewers were constructed of monolithic concrete. (MWRD photo 5623)

Photo 2.26
Photo 2.26

The Stock Yards intercepting sewer continued west to Hoyne Avenue, turned north, crossing the West Arm, and ended at the connection to the inlet for the West Thirty-Ninth Street conduit, shown on November 14, 1916. Note the housing in the background and construction of a multistory building, perhaps along Thirty-Ninth Street. (MWRD photo 5659)

Photo 2.27
Photo 2.27

The East Arm, a.k.a. Stock Yards Slip, of the South Fork looking west from a point west of Morgan Street on January 30, 1911, showing the railroad bridge at Racine Avenue in the right background and in the left foreground, crude measures to remove solids and oils in discharges from slaughterhouses and meat packers. The measures were undertaken at the urging of the District. (MWRD photo 4574)