In 1862, Chicagoan Juliette Kinzie noted that the land near what would become the DuSable Bridge (commonly known as the Michigan Avenue Bridge) was “a low wet prairie, scarcely affording good walking in the driest summer weather, while at other seasons it was absolutely impassable.” In our own time, thousands of people pass over the bridge on this site without knowing its fascinating history or about the technology that makes the bridge such a wonder.
With that in mind, visitors should make a visit to the McCormick BridgeHouse and Chicago River Museum to learn about this operation of Chicago’s bridge, the story of the reversal of the Chicago River, and much more. Opened in 2006 by the Friends of the Chicago River, the museum is located within the five-story bridge house of the DuSable Bridge and it contains a range of exhibits that document the flora and fauna of the river, along with offering insights into the various environmental transformations that have happened over the past several 150 years.
The bridge lifts along the river are another remarkable event that take place from April to November and visitors can plan their schedule accordingly to enjoy such an engineering feat. Visitors will need to make a special reservation to take part in such an exhibition, but it’s well worth it.
After a visit to the museum, visitors should make sure and explore the newly renovated and expanded Riverwalk (above), which contains a host of viewing platforms, restaurants and other outdoor activities. A long afternoon at the museum coupled with a walk along the river is a great way to experience one of Chicago’s most notable natural landmarks.