The first river crossing at North La Salle Street was a tunnel which opened in 1871. This tunnel was initially used for cable cars, then electric street cars. This tunnel was in use until 1939, when it was blocked off by the construction of the Dearborn Street subway (the current Blue Line). The last vestige of this tunnel, the north portal, was removed in 1953.
The current bridge is the first built at this crossing. The design/planning process for this bridge began in 1914.
This bridge makes quite a statement. The curving pony trusses, ornate hand railings, and four bridge tender houses present an impressive entrance into the Loop. The four bridge tender houses are more adorned and taller than all but those at the Du Sable Bridge (N Michigan Ave).
In 1999, this bridge was dedicated as the Marshall Suloway Bridge in recognition of a 50 year long career. Mr. Suloway, a Chicago native educated at IIT, started his civil engineering career in 1950 with the Illinois Highway Department. He joined the Chicago Department of Public Works in 1964, serving as Chief Engineer beginning in 1967. In 1974, Suloway was appointed as Acting Commissioner of Public Works. He was selected as the Man of the Year in 1976 by the American Public Works Association and served as Commissioner of Public Works until 1979.