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Steel Shots: Happy Birthday, Michigan Avenue Bridge
Posted by Tom Klemens on May 14, 2010 at 5:30 AM.


The double-leaf, double-deck trunnion Michigan Avenue Bridge was considered a marvel of engineering when it was opened in 1920. In the background of this HAER photo are Mies van der Rohe’s IBM Building (now 330 North Wabash), completed in 1971, and the Chicago Sun Times building that was constructed in the mid-1950s and razed in 2004. Photo: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, Historic American Buildings Survey or Historic American Engineering Record, Reproduction Number HAER ILL, 16-CHIG, 129-1.


Today marks the 90th birthday of Chicago’s Michigan Avenue Bridge. A birthday celebration includes free admission to the McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum, located inside the five-story southwest tower of the bridge. In addition to historical information, the museum provides visitors with an up close view of the gears, sometimes in action as the 100-hp motors raise and lower the bridge. (Thank goodness for counterweights!)


For more information about the Michigan Avenue Bridge birthday celebration, click here.


For historic photos and descriptive information on the bridge from the Historical American Engineering Record (Library of Congress), click here.


To learn more about the McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum, visit


If you’re planning to be in Chicago and want to catch the bridge in action, view a bridge lift schedule by clicking here.

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