18th Street Bridge, 1960s

Thus far, we have not been able to find out much about this unusual, handsome structure that stands just east of the Ping Tom Park Pavilion.  Most of the drawbridges in this area (and Chicago is said to have more such bridges than any other city in the world) have double leaves — that is, the bridges open in the middle, proving settings for car chase scenes in innumerable movies and television shows.  This one, however, has a single leaf, opening on one side and making car jumps impracticable.  The bridge approved in 1963 and finished in the late 1960s, being built of imported Italian steel.  It replaced an earlier drawbridge built in 1906 which in turn substituted for a center-pivoted swing bridge of 1880s vintage.  The 1906 bridge is shown (inaccurately) on the Reincke map of 1917 (bridge #2).

18th St Bridge

18th St. Bridge2