New Book Explores Chicago River Bridges

Chicago River Bridges

A new book entitled Chicago River Bridges, by Patrick McBriarty, presents the evolution and history of Chicago as the “Drawbridge Capital of the World.” This comprehensive guidebook chronicles more than 175 bridges spanning 55 locations along the Main Channel, South Branch and North Branch of the Chicago River.  

Throughout, McBriarty delivers new research into the bridges’ architectural designs, engineering innovations and their impact on Chicagoans’ daily lives. Describing the structure and mechanics of various kinds of movable bridges (including vertical-lift, Scherzer rolling lift and Strauss heel trunnion mechanisms), he explains how the dominance of the “Chicago-style” bascule drawbridge (which is made of steel) influenced the style and mechanics of bridges worldwide.

If you’ll be in Chicago, McBriarty will be providing a Book Launch & Talk on Tuesday, February 18, at 6 p.m. in the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium (lower level) of the Harold Washington Public Library (400 S. State Street). He’ll be giving a multimedia presentation on Chicago’s bridges and the innovation, design and major contributions to moveable bridge technology by Chicagoans. A book signing will begin at 7 p.m. after the presentation.

For additional information on the book and launch event in Chicago, visit the author’s website at