Welcome to Chicago Loop Bridges!

The website devoted to Chicago's downtown movable bridges.

2016 marks 100 years for two of the downtown bridges - W Jackson Blvd and W Lake St. Thanks to the 1,305 visitors who visited the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum on May 29th to mark the anniversaries.

Walking along the Main Stem of the Chicago River? Discover the Chicago Riverwalk

  • W Jackson Blvd - South Branch Chicago River - January 29, 1916 - 100 Years!
  • W Lake St, South Branch Chicago River - November 6, 1916 - 100 Years!
  • W VanBuren St, South Branch Chicago River - December 5, 1956 - 60 Years!
  • Du Sable Bridge at N Michigan Ave, Main Stem Chicago River - May 14, 1920
  • N Franklin St, Main Stem Chicago River - October 23, 1920
  • N Wabash Ave, Main Stem Chicago river - December 20, 1930
  • South Branch of the Chicago River
  • W Monroe St, South Branch Chicago River - February 22, 1919
  • N State St, Main Stem Chicago River - May 28, 1949
  • N Clark St - Main Stem Chicago River - July 10, 1929
  • W Randolph St - South Branch Chicago River - December 21, 1984
  • W Adams St, South Branch Chicago River - August 26, 1927
  • W Washington Blvd, South Branch Chicago River - May 26, 1913
  • W Madison St, South Branch Chicago River - November 29, 1922
  • N Columbus Dr, Main Stem Chicago River, October 31, 1982
  • N Dearborn St, Main Stem Chicago River - October 27, 1963
  • N La Salle St, Main Stem Chicago River, December 20, 1928
  • N Lake Shore Dr, Main Stem Chicago River - October 5, 1937
  • N Wells St, Main Stem Chicago River, February 11, 1922
  • Main Stem of the Chicago River

Downtown Chicago provides a unique opportunity for anyone interested in bridges. In a mere two miles, there are eighteen movable bridges. While the most celebrated bridge is the Du Sable Bridge at N. Michigan Avenue, there are seventeen other examples of beautiful Chicago bridges. An easy stroll along Wacker Drive provides an opportunity to see the evolution in design of the Chicago Type, Double Leaf, Trunnion, Bascule Bridge .

Chicago Loop Bridges provides some background information on these beauties and takes you on a virtual tour. This site focuses on the eighteen bridges from N. Lake Shore Drive, at the mouth of the Chicago River to West Van Buren Street, on the South Branch. You will also find touring tips for three other types of movable bridges not found in the downtown area. Click here for a map and photographs of all 29 regularly operated movable bridges on the Chicago River.

If your plans bring you to downtown Chicago and you would like a guided tour, please contact me. Details can be found here.

As you explore the site, you will find photographs, facts, general information, some engineering drawings, "local" QuickTime videos and links to YouTube videos and narrated tours provided for the individual bridges. In addition, there is a mobile "version" providing some photos and basic quick facts, formatted for mobile devices. (check out the bridgehouse picture index)

The basis for the information in this site is research done for the e-book, "Two Miles - Eighteen Bridges A walk along the Chicago River." In addition, I have written two short articles - one about the engineers involved in the development of the Chicago Type Bridge and the other an historical look at bridge operation. These documents are available from Scribd.

The videos below provide a view of a number of bridges on the Main Stem of the Chicago River, as well as an external and internal view of the raising of the Du Sable Bridge. The internal view is available to the public at the McCormick Bridgehouse and Chicago River Museum (operated by the Friends of the Chicago River). Water taxis and the Bridgehouse Museum are excellent means to learn and see the Chicago River in downtown Chicago.


Take a virtual ride on the water taxi via YouTube

(YouTube link)


Sounds from the gear room

(YouTube Link)