On a sparkling mid-May day in 1920, three men stepped from an automobile and stood before a tiny red, white, and blue ribbon. Ropes held back the crowds as the gents uncovered their heads, one sweeping his signature cowboy hat to his chest. It just happened to be his birthday, and this was going to be one heck of a party. He pulled out the ceremonial scissors and snipped the silk streamer. Crowds cheered. A band played The Star Spangled Banner and airplanes flew overhead and threw leaflets to the crowds like so much confetti. Fireworks exploded, boats blew whistles and sirens, and the city erupted as one with a sense of gaiety and hope.
The Michigan Avenue Bridge was officially open.
The man with the hat was Mayor William Hale “Big Bill” Thompson and his companions were Board of Local Improvements President Michael J. Faherty and Chicago Plan Commission Chairman Charles H. Wacker. That day, those three may have been the face of this great accomplishment, but this project, this dream, was the result of a city with a plan that had been decades in the making.
Read more about this landmark in Living Landmarks of Chicago.
Architect: Edward H. Bennett, Thomas G. Pihlfelt, Hugh Young
Address: 333 Michigan Ave.
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Sources for Michigan Avenue Bridge (DuSable Bridge)
This is a selection of specific sources used to provide details while researching this landmark. Additional sources, including books and websites, can be found on the Resources page.
- Chicago (Ill.). Mayor. Chicago: Eight Years of Progress. January, 1923 [Chicago, 1923.]
- Chicago Landmark Designation Report
- “Great Boulevard Subway Project for Connecting North and South Divisions of the City”. Chicago Tribune. January 22, 1903.
- Hanney, Suzanne. “The 100 year History of the Michigan Avenue Bridge.” Streetwise Chicago, 11-17 May 2020.
- “Horn Toots its Loudest Blast as Bridge Opens.” The Chicago Tribune, 15 May 1920.
- “‘I Will’ Spirit Wins; Open Link Bridge Today.” The Chicago Tribune, 14 May 1920.
- “Last Obstacle to Boulevard Link Removed.” The Chicago Tribune, 29 Dec 1916.
- “Many Plans are Submitted for the Boulevard Link”. Chicago Tribune. June 11, 1904.
- “A Michigan Avenue Dream”. Chicago Tribune. May 31, 1903.
- The New Chicago. Chicago: C.C. Mitchell & Co., 1920.
- Plan of Chicago
- “Wide Boulevard Scheme Chosen”. Chicago Tribune. July 11, 1911.