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Cermak Road Bridge

22nd Street Bridge

   
                  


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Bridge Documented: August 12, 2006 and 2011
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Key Facts
Bridge Name Facility Carried / Feature Intersected Location Structure Type Construction Date and Builder/Engineer
Cermak Road Bridge
22nd Street Bridge
Cermak Road Over South Branch Chicago River Chicago: Cook County, Illinois Metal Rivet-Connected Pratt Through Truss, Movable: Double Leaf Bascule (Rolling Lift) and Approach Spans: Metal Stringer (Multi-Beam), Fixed 1906 By Builder/Contractor: George W. Jackson of Chicago, Illinois and Engineer/Design: Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Company of Chicago, Illinois
Technical Facts
Rehabilitation Date Main Span Length Structure Length Roadway Width Main Spans Approach Spans NBI Number
1997 216 Feet (65.8 Meters) 337 Feet (102.7 Meters) 36 Feet (11 Meters) 1 4 16600727337

Historic Significance Rating (HSR)

Primary Photographer(s): Nathan Holth

View Archived National Bridge Inventory Report - Has Additional Details and Evaluation

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Documentation For This Bridge

HAER Data Pages, PDF

View Short Biography of Contractor George W. Jackson

View A Second Short Biography of Contractor George W. Jackson

View The Chicago Landmark Designation Report For This Landmark District

Cermak Road Bridge RaisedGeorge W. JacksonCermak Road was originally known as 22nd Street. This bridge was designed by Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Company. Today this type of movable bridge is in fact known as a Scherzer rolling lift bascule bridge. In Chicago, where the city usually built trunnion bascule bridges, this is the only remaining example of this bridge type on Chicago's roads. The city preferred the trunnion bascule bridge over the rolling lift bridge because rolling lift bridges shift the dead load on the abutments, which tends to wear out and damage the abutments over time on the unstable soil conditions that were found in Chicago. The city became very adept at designing trunnion bascule bridges, and so nearly all of the trunnion bascule bridges in Chicago were designed in-house by the city. The Cermak Road Bridge however, as a rolling lift bridge, was not designed by the city, but was designed by the Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Company which obviously specialized in the rolling lift design.

The superstructure contractor for this bridge was George W. Jackson, Inc. of Chicago which was also listed in the Annual Report of the Department of Public Works under the name of Jackson and Corbett Bridge and Steel Company. The substructure contractor was Great Lakes Dredge and Dock Company of Chicago.

Much like the Kinzie Street Bridge, a large amount of original bridge material has been removed and replaced in-kind. As such, while the bridge has lost integrity of original materials, it retains integrity of design and function.

While the primary goal with any historic bridge should be to preserve as much original material as possible, whenever something is replaced, it should be the goal to replace in-kind with as accurate a replica as possible. While it would be nice to see a greater quantity of original material on this bridge, this is nevertheless a good example of how a bridge beyond repair or nearly beyond repair might still be able to display the features which give it historic value. The only major shortcoming of the replacement is that standard high strength bolts were used instead of rivets. If rivets were used it appears it would be a perfect replication. From an aesthetic standpoint, the city could have partially simulated the appearance of rivets by using round head bolts which would make the bolts look more like rivets than the hex heads on the standard bolts the city used.

The previous and first documented bridge at this location was built in 1871 as an iron/wood combination bridge by Fox and Howard. It was 210 feet long and 32 feet wide.

Cermak Road Bridge RehabilitationCermak Road Bridge

Cermak Road BridgeCermak Road Bridge

Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge Company AdvertisementGeorge W. Jackson Company AdvertisementIsham Randolph

George W. Jackson Company Advertisement

Main Plaque

ERECTED BY

SANITARY DISTRICT OF CHICAGO

1906

BOARD OF TRUSTEES

ROBERT R. MCCORMICK
PRESIDENT

WILLIAM H. BAKER
ADOLPH BERGMAN
WALLACE G. CLARK
FRANK X. CLOIDT
HENRY F. EIDMANN
ANTON NOVAK
GEO. W. PAULLIN
EDWD. I. WILLIAMS

ISHAM RANDOLPH
CHIEF ENGINEER

  George W. JacksonGeorge W. JacksonGeorge W. Jackson

Information and Findings About Cermak Road Bridge District From Chicago Landmarks Designation

General Information

Address: Cermak Road, predominantly between Grove and Jefferson Sts.
Year Built: 1901 - 1924
Architect: Various
Date Designated a Chicago Landmark: April 26, 2006

This small district is the finest intact, early 20th-century riverfront industrial precinct in Chicago. It is an especially significant ensemble of four large industrial buildings, clustered around the Cermak Road Bridge, which is the City's last-remaining double leaf Scherzer Rolling Lift Bridge. The District commemorates the importance of the Chicago River in the economic development of the City and conveys how the interconnected river and rail network made Chicago a national center of commerce. Individually, the buildings are fine examples of early 20th-century industrial architecture, and collectively they represent an almost vanished aspect of Chicago's historical industrial streetscapes.

This Bridge Contributes To A Designated Chicago Landmark District

Visit The Chicago Landmarks Website

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Chicago and Cook County are home to one of the largest collections of historic bridges in the country, and no other city in the world has more movable bridges. HistoricBridges.org is proud to offer the most extensive coverage of historic Chicago bridges on the Internet.

Chicago / Cook County Bridge News

October 2014 - A visit to Chicago revealed that the Van Buren Street Pedestrian Bridge was not demolished, but instead extensively rehabbed. The railings are new, but replicate the original design. The concrete encasement was removed and not replaced, and instead the exposed riveted steel beams have been painted. The riveted beams look quite nice, and given the condition of the bridge prior to the project this seems like a good outcome. In other news, the rehabilitation and repainting of the La Salle Street Bridge is ongoing, and the project to extend the Chicago Riverwalk under additional bridges on the Main Branch is continuing.

September 2014 - Chicago's dubious distinction of offering numerous boat tours that pass under the bridges but offer narration only of the buildings has ended with the start of a Wendella tour that focuses on bridges! Information is here.

July 29, 2013 - A project study has been initiated for the reconstruction of historic North Lake Shore Drive. This project puts a large number of historic bridges at risk for demolition and replacement. However, it could also be an opportunity to rehabilitate the bridges. Visit the project website.

May 15, 2013 - The Ashland Avenue Bridge over North Branch Chicago River has been recommended for Chicago Landmark designation by the Chicago Art Deco Society.

April 30, 2013 - Illinois Landmarks has included Chicago's Bascule Bridges as one of their Top 10 Most Endangered Historic Places. View The Official Page.

General Chicago / Cook County Bridge Resources

Chicago's Bridges - By Nathan Holth, author of HistoricBridges.org, this book provides a discussion of the history of Chicago's movable bridges, and includes a virtual tour discussing all movable bridges remaining in Chicago today. The book includes dozens of full color photos. Only $9.95 U.S! ($11.95 Canadian). Order Now Direct From The Publisher!

View Historic American Engineering Record (HAER) Overview of Chicago Bascule Bridges (HAER Data Pages, PDF)

Chicago Loop Bridges - Chicago Loop Bridges is another website on the Internet that is a great companion to the HistoricBridges.org coverage of the 18 movable bridges within the Chicago Loop. This website includes additional information such as connections to popular culture, overview discussions and essays about Chicago's movable bridges, additional videos, and current news and events relating to the bridges.

Additional Online Articles and Resources - This page is a large gathering of interesting articles and resources that HistoricBridges.org has uncovered during research, but which were not specific to a particular bridge listing.

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Photos and Videos: Cermak Road Bridge

Available Photo Galleries and Videos

Click on a thumbnail or gallery name below to visit that particular photo gallery. If videos are available, click on a video name to view and/or download that particular video.

 
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A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
View Photo Gallery Structure Details
Original / Full Size Photos
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. For the best visual immersion and full detail, or for use as a desktop background, this gallery presents the photos for this bridge in the original digital camera resolution.
View Photo Gallery Structure Overview
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of overview photos that show the bridge as a whole and general areas of the bridge. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer
View Photo Gallery Structure Details
Mobile Optimized Gallery
A collection of detail photos that document the parts, construction, and condition of the bridge. View the photos for this bridge in a reduced size which is useful for mobile/smartphone users, modem (dial-up) users, or those who do not wish to wait for the longer download times of the full-size photos. Alternatively, view this photo gallery using a popup slideshow viewer (great for mobile users) by clicking the link below.
Browse Gallery With Popup Viewer

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