Chicago’s double-deck Michigan Avenue bridge turned 94 years old this week. The bridge is one of the most revered and celebrated landmarks in the Second City.

When the movable bridge was put into operation in 1920 there was much fanfare. And a little unwelcome excitement.

In Chicago River Bridges Patrick McBriarty writes:

The Michigan Avenue Bridge’s opening ceremony was nearly the scene of an accident after a lumber steamer, the Herman H Hettler, whistled to pass during the dedication. Navigation having the right-of-way, the bridge tender, not seeing four occupied cars still on the bridge, began to open the southern leaves. Tragedy was averted only after police officers fired their pistols over the din of the crowds and marching bands to get the bridge tender’s attention.

The Wednesday, May 14, 2014 gathering at the McCormick Bridge House River Museum thankfully went off without incident.

 

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