The first bridge at West Jackson Boulevard was a swing bridge built in 1888.
The current bridge was opened on January 29, 1916. At the time this bridge was built, there was a major push for the city to remove center pier swing bridges. The city was strapped for cash and unable to build all of the bridges it needed to. In an effort to help out, the Sanitary District built this bridge. They also agreed to pay the extra $20,000 dollars to comply with the Chicago Plan Commission's architectural recommendations.
The result was the first bridge that fully embodied the the ideals of the Chicago Plan. The use of deck trusses and the details of the bridge tender houses made this bridge the archetype of the Chicago type bridge.