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Lost Souls on Chicago's Forgotten Suicide Bridge

On this postcard, the bridge is called Suicide Bridge instead of its official name High Bridge. Postcard publication is unknown. 


A tall pedestrian bridge that was built over the Lincoln Park Lagoon in 1894 was later dubbed “Suicide Bridge” after the structure became a popular place for people to take their own lives. It is believed that about 100 people jumped off of the bridge during its 25 years.

Located south of Fullerton and east of Lincoln Park Zoo near Webster Avenue (originally called Asylum Place), High Bridge allowed pedestrians to cross from Lincoln Park to the lakefront. At 75 feet--or four stories--tall, the bridge was built high enough to allow sailboats to pass underneath. It was so high that people standing on the bridge on a clear day could see as far as the stockyards, Jackson Park, and the steel mills.  

High Bridge was featured in a chase scene in the 1916 film Cousin Jim. The stuntman hired to jump off the bridge refused to do it because he thought it was too dangerous, so the amateur actors in the film did it themselves and, luckily, survived.

High Bridge in Lincoln Park. Published by Photo and Art Postal Card Co., New York, Philadelphia and Chicago. Printed in Germany.

Unfortunately, so many people decided to intentionally end their lives on this bridge. In 1907, two sisters ages 10 and 12 drowned in the lagoon after either falling or jumping off the bridge. The body of a man who was known to take walks in Lincoln Park every day was also found in the lagoon soon after, and it was thought that he had unsuccessfully tried to save the girls.

The bridge grew rusty over time and was torn down in 1919. Today the site is included in haunted history tours and makes up part of Chicago’s ghost lore. Supposedly, zoo employees have heard sounds of a young girl crying late at night near the site of the bridge, and one woman is said to have quit her job because of it.

There are several postcards of the bridge, including one that names the structure as “Suicide Bridge in Lincoln Park.” One postcard shows an image taken from the top of the bridge. For many people, the view from this bridge was one of the last things they saw.

Written by Emily Ruzich

High Bridge in Lincoln Park. The publisher is unknown. The postcard is postmarked August 2, 1907.



Looking out from High Bridge in Lincoln Park. Published by Hugh C. Leighton Co., Portland Maine. Printed in Germany. 





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