Saturday, November 02, 2013
I recently found some neat vintage photos from Chicago with the date "9-13-51" helpfully written on them. They show one of the famous bridges that cross the Chicago River, in this case the Madison Street Bridge (renamed the "Lyric Opera Bridge" in honor of the massive opera building that flanks it on the eastern shore). Here is a nice contemporary photo, found on www.chicagobridges.com. This bridge was opened in November of 1922, and like all of the bridges along the Chicago River, it is moveable to allow the passage of large boats (or even sail boats).
Here is the first vintage picture; I am pretty sure that this was taken as the photographer stood facing toward the west - then he turned left to look south toward the open Monroe Street Bridge (which has just allowed a barge to pass through).
As always, I like to try to use Google Maps' "street view" to try to replicate the vintage perspective as closely as possible. But holy moly, there is not a single recognizable landmark anymore. Just glass box after glass box!
The photographer followed the barge's progress as it headed north toward the now-opened Washington Street Bridge. Back in those days Chicago had a lot more red brick and a lot less glass. Note the building on the left that says "Butler Brothers" (built in 1918) on top....
.... The building is still there today, with an added clock, and now called the "River Center" building. It has been transformed into swanky residential lofts and a multi-tenant office building. I'm glad it somehow survived all these years!