Chicago River Bridges chronicles the importance of the bridges to the Windy City from the first wood footbridge to the iconic steel and concrete spans of today.

A photographic guidebook to Chicago’s amazing moveable bridges

Chicago River Bridges presents the untold history and development of Chicago’s iconic bridges, from the first wood footbridge built by a tavern owner in 1832 to the fantastic marvels of steel, concrete, and machinery of today.  It is the story of Chicago as seen through its bridges, for it has been the bridges that proved critical in connecting and reconnecting the people, industry, and neighborhoods of a city that is constantly remaking itself.  In this book, author Patrick T. McBriarty shows how generations of Chicagoans built (and rebuilt) the thriving city trisected by the Chicago River and linked by its many crossings.

The first comprehensive guidebook of these remarkable features of Chicago’s urban landscape, Chicago River Bridges chronicles more than 175 bridges spanning 55 locations along the Main Channel, South Branch, and North Branch of the Chicago River.  This award-winning book received the 2013 Henry N. Barkhausen Award for original research on Great Lakes Maritime History.  With new full-color photography of the existing bridges by Kevin Keeley and Laura Banick and more than one hundred black and white images of bridges past, the book unearths the rich history of Chicago’s downtown bridges from the Michigan Avenue Bridge to the often forgotten bridges that once connected thoroughfares such as Rush, Erie, Taylor, and Polk Streets.

Throughout, McBriarty delivers new research into the bridges’ architectural designs, engineering innovations, and their impact on Chicagoans’ daily lives, explaining how the dominance of the “Chicago-style” bascule drawbridge influenced the style and mechanics of bridges worldwide.  A confluence of Chicago history, engineering lore, and urban design, Chicago River Bridges illustrates Chicago’s significant contribution to drawbridge innovation and emergence as the drawbridge capital of the world.  

PATRICK T. McBRIARTY is a writer and creative producer based in Chicago.  He has co-produced, with Stephen Hatch, the documentary film Chicago Drawbridges.

288 Pages. 11 x 91/2 inches, 76 color photographs, 101 black & white photographs, ISBN 978-0-252-03786-3 price: $44.95

Chicago River Bridges (printed book)

Price: $44.95
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