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Chicago History and Moveable Bridges: Foto Friday

By Amanda on May 30, 2014

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While I haven’t personally counted moveable bridges in cities across the world, and I have no idea why anyone would, I am pretty sure it’s true when people say Chicago has some of the most moveable bridges of any city. The Chicago River and its canals snake through the city and historically Chicago’s many train lines needed to cross the river. These massive steel structures loom over the Chicago river still today, and many of them are still in use.

chicago moveable bridges history industry

I took a picture of this one when I took a college student group of architecture students from Canada to tour the Rebuilding Exchange, a non-profit that repurposes building materials. The bridge in this photograph is located just behind the Rebuilding Exchange building on Webster, west of Ashland.

Something about the contrast of the growing weeds and the rusty metal caught my eye here. If we consider what architecture is, a bridge like this lies in a gray area of that definition since it is not a building. Some people might argue that a bridge is not necessarily a kind of architecture because it is designed purely for function and has no sense of art. However, it depends on how you look at an old moveable bridge like this along the Chicago River.

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