Building 51 | Building 51 | early 1920’s double-sided ornamental cast iron division street sidewalk railing baluster panel with geometric 8-pointed compass rose motif- roemheld & gallery, bridge builders, chicago, il.
8778
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early 1920’s double-sided ornamental cast iron division street sidewalk railing baluster panel with geometric 8-pointed compass rose motif- roemheld & gallery, bridge builders, chicago, il.

Category

Chicago Buildings

About This Item

original c. 1920’s restored double-sided solid cast iron pedestrian walkway railing ornamental panel featuring an embossed or raised nautical 8-sided compass rose. the strongly geometric art deco designed panel was salvaged years ago from the historically-important division street bridge demolished earlier this year. unfortunately, the wrecking company charged with dismantling the bridge made no attempts to save any and all the historic components used in its original construction, dating back to 1902-03. the panel was removed by a city worker during early attempts to keep the bridge structurally sound and safe for both automotive and pedestrian travel. the historic division street riveted plate steel bascule bridge was an early north branch chicago river canal bridge designed and built by bridge builders roemheld & gallery of chicago, beginning in 1902. perhaps the most visually distinctive and rather unusual design element that set this bridge apart from other chicago bridges was the inclusion of the “municipal device” (encircled upside down letter “y”), which represents the three branches of the chicago river. no other chicago bridge contains this design feature in its overhead bracing. the divison street bridge was one of chicago’s oldest surviving highway bascule bridges; an example of the first generation of bascule bridges built in chicago, and among the oldest surviving bascule bridges in north america. this specific bridge was the fourth bridge built in the city according to the first bascule bridge design, which was a complex part-through part-pony truss design as seen in the images below. the superstructure for this bridge was built by roemheld & gallery and the fitzsimmons and connell company constructed the substructure. of the small number of surviving first generation bascule bridges in chicago, the division street bridge was one of the most heavily altered, with a significant number of members toward the center of the bridge, having been replaced and/or original rivets being replaced with bolts. the division street bridge was one of several bascule bridges that made the landmarks preservation council of illinois’ 2013 list of the 10 most endangered historic places in the state. the single double-sided panel has been brushed down to bare metal and sealed with a clear coat lacquer. the panel was likely installed between 1925-35 and/or as apart of one of many wpa projects designed to build and/or improve upon existing city infrastructure.