There is currently no Rush Street Bridge over the Chicago River. At one time, there were four different bridges ( 1856–1920) at this site (365 North; 80 East).
The first bridge was built in 1856. This was a replacement to a ferry service. It was an all iron swing bridge; one of the first. Type was Pratt Truss. There were three trusses with two roadways. There were also pedestrian walkways. The bridge was financed with equal contributions of $18,000 by the city of Chicago and the Illinois Central and Galena and Chicago Union railroads. The bridge was destroyed in 1863. Twelve individuals and sixty head of cattle were pushed into the waters of the Chicago River.
Due to the importance of the Rush Street crossing, there was only a short interval between the destruction of bridge 1 and the construction of bridge 2. The second bridge opened February 3, 1864. Construction cost was $8,740. Contractor was Fox and Howard.
The bridge was a wooden pivot bridge 211 feet long and 32 feet wide. It had two carriage ways. It was a two truss bridge. The bridge was destroyed in 1871 during the Great Chicago Fire.
The replacement bridge was built in 1872. It was an iron Pratt truss hand operated swing bridge. It was the same length as the previous bridge and one foot wider. It was designed by the Detroit Bridge Company. Substructure Contractor was E. Sweet, Jr. and Company. Cost was $54,000. It was destroyed on November 22, 1883 by a collision involving the Schooner Grainger and a steam barge Business.
A fourth bridge over the Chicago River at Rush Street was opened on July 22, 1984. Bridge was designed by Rush and Coolidge; they were also the superstructure contractor. Substructure Contractor was Fitzsimmons and Connell. Construction cost was $125,000.
The 657 ton bridge was an all iron Pratt Through Truss steam powered one. It was the second largest bridge built at this time. It was the last iron swing bridge built by the city of Chicago. It was 240 feet long and 59 feet wide. During its life span, it underwent many updates. In 1895, the steam power plant was removed and replaced by electric motors. In 1899, the bridge was replanked. In 1909, 2 new ge motors were installed. In 1907, danger signals were installed.The
The 4 Rush Street Bridge was closed on 12/22/1920.
Photos added 4/14/2018