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(September, 2004)


Sorria. Voce esta na Barra !

James Arthur

The Michigan Avenue Bridge on the Chicago River

Chicago, Illinois, USA

Monday, September 20, 2004 2 PM CST

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© 2004 James Arthur, All Rights Reserved.

I love this majestic bridge in Chicago lined with flags of the United States, Chicago and Illinois fluttering in the wind. The Michigan Avenue Bridge in Chicago, designated a Chicago landmark in 1991, is one of a series of many bridges along the Chicago River. When it is not rush hour, maritime law prevails and the bridges are drawn up to allow ships to pass through.

This is where it all began (Chicago that is). If you look directly south of the bridge at the pillar you are looking at the site of the original Fort Dearborn (1803) named in honor of the Secretary of War. The government ordered the evacuation of the fort at the beginning of the War of 1812 with Great Britain. The settlement population followed and many were massacred by Native Americans as they tried to evacuate and the fort was destroyed. It was rebuilt in 1816 and stood until 1856.

October 7 is the anniversary of the great Chicago fire (1871) that destroyed most of the city. The fire started far to the south of this location (there was a different bridge here then). People thought the river would stop the fire but it jumped the river and continued north all the way to Lincoln Park.

On the north bank of the river you can see the Chicago Sun Times building, a major Chicago newspaper since the 1940's. It has been purchased by Donald Trump and will be the site of the new Trump Tower, 90 stories high featuring condominiums with floors made from the Brazilian rain forest.

To the right of the Sun Times building next to the bridge is the Wrigley Building (of Wrigley gum fame). To the right of that building, down the street is the Tribune Tower, home of the Chicago Tribune newspaper and modeled after the Butter Tower of the Rouen Cathedral. It has artifacts of famous buildings from all over the world imbedded on the outside such as a brick from the Alamo, a chunk of the great Pyramid, and a twisted piece of metal left from the World Trade Twin Towers in New York. From the other side of this bridge you can see the river emptying into Lake Michigan and a giant water cannon that shoots a stream of water from one side of the river to the other.

The bridge is a good vantage point to watch the Chicago River dyed green - a tradition every St. Patrick's Day. A panorama of the green river (with a high school band) can be seen here a little further down the river.

I have posted a slide show of buildings along the Chicago River seen from vantage of the river cruise boat, a panorama looking back at the Michigan Avenue Bridge from another bridge down the river, and a panorama of the water cannon close up at night.

The bridge and bridge house were built in 1920 and the Wacker Upper Drive esplanade was completed in 1926 (and just recently renovated). The architects were Edward Bennett and Hugh Young. The engineers were Thomas Pihfeldt and Hugh Young.
More panoramas and photos of the Chicago River by James Arthur

Avenue of Dreams
Taken with an Nikon CoolPix 950, wide angle lens and a Kaidan tripod head. Stitched with Apple QuickTime VR Authoring Studio.

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