Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Trip 105: Railroad Bridges Day Two

Date: May 30, 2011
Trip: 105
Landmarks Visited: 3
Landmarks To-Date: 293
Landmarks Remaining: 60

On Memorial Day I headed out with Shawn for a second day of visiting railroad bridges.

1. Chicago & Illinois Western Railway Bridge

In the first two photos, the bridge in question is the one in the foreground with the graffiti. The limits of my camera's zoom capabilities prevented me from getting a good photo. From some web research, I learned that what makes this bridge unique is that it rolls back a short distance as it cantilevers upward.

The third photo is not mine. I found it on the web and it better shows the mechanical portions of the bridge.

2. Illinois Central Railroad Swing Bridge 2

This bridge and its twin below both swing from a central pier to open.

3. Illinois Central Railroad Swing Bridge 1

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Trip 104: Railroad Bridges

Date: May 29, 2011
Trip: 104
Landmarks Visited: 3
Landmarks To-Date: 290
Landmarks Remaining: 63

I set out on Saturday morning with a plan to see six landmarked railroad bridges. But I learned that railroad bridges are hard to get to. First, they're located on private property. Second they tend to be surrounded by industrial property with no easy access. So I ended up having to find roadway bridges with views of the target railroad bridges, or nearby city parks that happen to have a clear view. The process took longer than expected, and the rain cut my day short at just three bridges.

1. Chicago & Northwestern Railway Bridge

This bridge is abandoned, and it doesn't seem that it will ever be used for trains again. The east side of the bridge is almost on top of the Merchandise Mart building. And the west side of the bridge is very close to residential condos. It also might be permanently rusted open. 

2. Pennsylvania Railroad Bridge

This bridge reminded me somewhat in appearance of the Tower Bridge in London. But instead of the center of the bridge being cantilevered, the entire deck is lifted upward along the towers.

3. Pennsylvania Railroad "Eight Track" Bridge

This bridge appears to be four side by side bridges. Two of the bridges appear to cantilever toward one shore, and two to the other shore. I was thinking that the bridges probably look like scissors as they open and close for boats to pass.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Trip 103: The Most Remote Landmark

Date: May 7, 2011
Trip: 103
Landmarks Visited: 2
Landmarks To-Date: 287
Landmarks Remaining: 66

1. Illinois-Indiana State Line Boundary Marker

On a rainy Saturday morning I was driving to Toledo for a Mother's Day visit. I stopped by what I think is probably the most remote (or at least the most difficult to find) landmark in Chicago. It's the border marker between Illinois and Indiana. It's located at the entrance to the State Line Generating Plant, which itself it wedged between the Skyway toll road and Lake Michigan. You have to drive through a residential neighborhood and then down a one lane road along railroad tracks to get to it. When you find it, you definitely have the feeling that you're trespassing on private property.

The marker was moved to it's current location--I'm guessing due to the construction of the Skyway. It's not a lot to look at, but it is one of the oldest surviving structures in Chicago. 


2. Drake Fountain

On the way to the boundary marker, I also stopped by Drake Fountain. The interesting thing is that it doesn't appear to be a fountain at all. According to the city's website, it was originally an "ice water fountain" donated by John Drake and the Italian government. I'd never heard this term before, and oddly wasn't able to find a good definition on the web. I'm assuming that blocks of ice were put there in the summertime to provide cool water for residents, but it's not obvious how that would have worked with the structure that remains there today at least.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Trip 102: Bronzeville

Date: May 1, 2011
Trip: 102
Landmarks Visited: 4
Landmarks To-Date: 285
Landmarks Remaining: 68

Today was the first day of May, and it was finally sunny after almost continuous rain for the entire month of April. Shawn and I headed to Bronzeville to see a couple landmarks. We had lunch at "Chicken & Waffles".

1. Chicago Defender Building

This building isn't much to look at. It was originally a Jewish temple, and then it was home to the Chicago Defender newspaper for a number of years.

2. Roberts Temple Church of God of Christ Building

This building similarly isn't very fancy. It was obviously landmarked for its historical significance. Emmett Till's funeral was held in this church. He was a teenage boy who was brutally murdered while visiting relatives in Mississippi. His funeral had a major impact on the civil rights movement.

3. Black Metropolis-Bronzeville

Bronzeville is the historical center of the African-American community in Chicago.

4. Ida B. Wells-Barnett House