If you’re a city wanderer like I am, you’re probably looking for those curious moments out and about as you walk around. Well, I have a real gem for you in Lincoln Park: the Cherry Avenue Bridge.
A Piece of Chicago History
Amid the light industrial landscape of Goose Island, you'll see an elaborate and well-worn bridge that seems to have been born anew. A brilliant, asymmetric bob-tail swing, Cherry Avenue Bridge is an engineering landmark, a slice of Chicago history and pedestrian path. Quite a troika, indeed.
Today the bridge is an official city landmark, but it was originally completed in 1902 as part of the sprawling transportation network to move goods on and off Goose Island. Created at the behest of the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway on the North Branch of the Chicago River, the bridge was able to swing out to an angle of 82.5 percent, which allowed large ships to pass through the channel as needed. During its heyday, it performed this basic and important task many times each day as part of delivering finished and semi-finished goods to rail connections and factories up and down the Chicago River.
The Cherry Avenue Bridge, Reimagined
By the early 20th century, the bridge was in poor repair. An angel investor came in the form of the City of Chicago, which took possession of the bridge in 2008. After a year of solid work, repair and reimagination, the bridge became a passageway for pedestrians and bicyclists.
Today, visitors can use the bridge as a form of transit to go back and forth from Goose Island, as a way to explore the area around North Avenue. It's a one-of-a-kind project that provides an old and historically important structure with a wonderful way to experience Chicago in the present day.
Getting There, Plus Nearby Attractions
Located just south of North Avenue on Cherry Avenue at the Chicago River, the bridge (also known as "Bridge Number Z-2) is a short walk from the North/Clybourn Red Line 'L' stop.
Make a day of it: After exploring the bridge, you can head over to a host of celebrated Chicago attractions, including iO Chicago for some comedy, Goose Island Brewery for a tipple or two (note the original Clybourn Avenue brewpub is undergoing a complete refresh and will reopen summer 2017), and top-notch burgers at Burger Bar Chicago. Also not far, the new shopping & entertainment district Newcity is just one of the many area spots to shop.