- Beautiful views of the Mississippi River
- Great place for Eagle watching in the winter
- Provides a river crossing for bike routes that span Missouri and Illinois
- Plaques with fascinating history
The old Chain of Rocks Bridge spans the Mississippi River on the north side of St. Louis, Missouri. The bridge is named after an un-navigable portion of the river caused by a large outcropping of bedrock exposed in the river channel. A canal and locks allow river traffic to bypass this outcropping. The most notable feature of the bridge is a 22-degree bend occurring at roughly the middle of the crossing.
The Chain of Rocks bridge was privately built as a toll bridge in 1929. In 1966, a New Chain of Rocks Bridge was built immediately to the north and the old Chain of Rocks Bridge was subsequently closed on February 25, 1970. For nearly three decades the fate of the bridge was uncertain, and the bridge developed a reputation for crime and violence, including the April 1991 tragic murder of two sisters. The bridge was also used as a filming site for the movie “Escape from New York” in 1981. In 1998, the bridge was leased to Trailnet, a local trails group, who have renovated the bridge for pedestrian and cycling use.
The bridge is now frequently used by joggers and bikers, and is a popular place for eagle watching in the winter. The castle like structure below the bridge is one of two water intake towers located on the Mississippi River. The tower was built in 1915 by architect Guy Study of the firm Rith & Study. This minature Classical palace located in the middle of the Mississippi River includes living quarters and sits on a granite foundation going down 100 feet to bedrock in order to withstand the River’s mighty flow. I am not positive, but I believe the tower is still used today to intake water for use by the City of St. Louis. The tower is part of the Chain of Rocks Water Treatment Facility, which was built in 1915, and was the largest filter plant in the world at the time of its construction. By 1913, when construction of tower #2 began, the intake capacity of the older tower had become inadequate to meet the water needs of the City.
Text above by Mark Schuver