Chicago Landmarks

Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge

Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge, Historic American Engineering Record     Address: South of 19th St., East of Lumber St. (South Branch of the Chicago River)
Year Built: 1914
Architect: Waddell & Harrington
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark: December 12, 2007

Raised position, Historic American Engineering Record The Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge was designed by innovative and influential engineers John Alexander Low Waddell and John Lyle Harrington. Upon its completion in 1914, the bridge had the heaviest main span of any vertical-lift bridge in the United States. The steel truss span is situated between two towers, which rest on concrete piers on the river banks. A distinctive feature of the structure is the bridge tender's house at the middle of the span. A system of 64 cables and 32 pulleys engaged to vertically raise the span to provide a clearance of 111 feet above the river. Today the bridge is in use by both freight and passenger rail traffic, and is a familiar visual landmark to visitors of Ping Tom Park and commuters on the CTA Orange Line and Metra and AMTRAK trains.