100th St Bridge - Calumet River

The first bridge built at 100th street is the current bridge. Construction started in July 1925 and the leaves were first lowered into place in February of 1927. It was opened to traffic on September 24, 1927. The permanent bridgehouses were completed in 1928.

100th St Bridge under construction - from 1926 CPW Annual Report

A bridge at this location had been considered since 1899, but problems with appropriations plagued the process. Funding was not obtained until a $1.1 million bond issue was passed in 1924, which allowed the bridge to be started. In 1926, a $200,000 bond issue was passed to complete the span.

100th St Bridge completed - from 1927 CPW Annual Report

This bridge was opened during a term of Mayor William “Big Bill” Thompson, so naturally there was a big parade. As described in the Chicago Tribune, there was more than 1,400 autos, floats, and displays driven through streets lined with 30,000 spectators. A naval parade on the river which included a 500 ft. ore carrying ship.

Evidently the care and enthusiasm given to the bridge construction did not transfer to the construction of the approaches which remained unpaved and rough for two or three blocks on either side of the bridge. As reported in the Chicago Tribune:

“The committee in charge of the celebration attending the opening arranged a parade route that would be tough going for the 1,400 autos in it, with the purpose, it was hinted, to give Mayor Thompson an impressive object lesson. After the mayor hit the second bump, which bounced him out of his seat, he made the chauffeur slow down to a coal rock pace.”

No idea what "coal rock pace" means, do you? Help me out

100th St Bridge

100th St bridge plaque

More information about this bridge can be found at Historicbridges.org.

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Sources:

CPWD Annual Reports 1925-1938

“Mayor promises to get going on Calumet Harbor: Applauded at opening of 100th street bridge” September 25, 1927; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Chicago Tribune

“This bridge is also finished but try to get it: approaches to 100th St. span unpaved ; January 30,1928; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Chicago Tribune

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