Chicago Landmarks

Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway Bridges

Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway Bridges, Historic American Engineering Record     Address: East of Chicago Skyway, North of 98th St. (Calumet River)
Year Built: 1912 - 1915
Architect: Waddell & Harrington
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark: December 12, 2007

Tower detail, Historic American Engineering Record The two Lake Shore & Michigan Southern Railway bridges over the Calumet River are among four surviving examples of the "span-driven" vertical-lift bridges in Chicago. Built from patents by Kansas City-based engineering firm of Waddell and Harrington, these bridges are a prominent visual landmark in the surrounding area. The pair consists of two adjacent, double-track, steel-truss spans that together make up the largest multiple installation of Waddell and Harrington's patented design. The towers that support the spans share a foundation with a remnant of the Pittsburgh, Fort Wayne & Chicago Bridges. Operating on the same principles as an elevator, the spans are raised and lowered by a system of cables and pulleys. The spans which were designed to operate independently or as a single unit were driven by motors located in a control room. Today, the operating machinery has been removed and the spans are locked in a partially raised position. The massive structures are easily seen from the Chicago Skyway.