The Fisheries Building

Music Court Bridge / East Lagoon Bridge Jackson Park

Written By HistoryCop

HistoryCop was founded by Ray Johnson, a life-long Chicago area resident and history buff who is a former criminal investigator.

The Fisheries Building

If you are standing on the music court bridge looking north toward the Museum of Science and Industry, you would be looking directly at the Fisheries Building in 1893.

The Fisheries building displayed both fresh and saltwater fish from all over the globe. It really was the predecessor to the large modern aquariums that we have grown accustomed to and take for granted. In 1893 people were not as mobile as they are today and a great many people never had a chance to see animals or fish other than where they lived and grew old.

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The Music Court Bridge

The stone bridge that you are standing on dates back to the World's Fair and would have bridged the Fisheries Building to the north and the U.S. Government Building to the south. The bridge was made famous by the 1980 film "The Blues Brothers" directed by John Landis and starring John Belushi and Dan Akroyd. The who remember the movie might remember the bridge as being the one that the "Illinois Nazis" jumped from to avoid being run over by Jake and Elwood Blues.

The "Battleship" Illinois

The U.S. Naval exhibit at the fair was a prototype ship named the U.S.S. Illinois. Everything on the ship was real including the guns and U.S. sailors but the ship itself was made of brick and covered in staff and sat on a wooden pier. Most people who visited the ship never knew that it wasn't a real floating ship and even one sailor reportedly got "sea sick". After the fair, the ship was going to be used as a training vessel for the Illinois Naval Militia but it wasn't meant to be. The navy reclaimed their equipment and the ship eventually wasted away in the lagoon. One article from the ship was purchased by Julia Arthur Cheney who was married to Benjamin Cheney who started the American Express Company. She purchased the brass bell from the ship and when the U.S. built the real U.S.S. Illinois she donated it back to the U.S. Navy and you can now see it at Navy Pier!

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The 1893 World's Columbian Exposition

The Fisheries Building

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