The Creative Werks of Patrick T. McBriarty

The book Chicago River Bridges incredibly well researched, hardback, full-color, coffee-table history, and photographic guide.  It tells the story of the importance and development of Chicago and its bridges.  With 200 images past and present in 344 pages, this is the authoritative guide to the bridges of the Windy City.
The DVD Chicago Drawbridges from Hatch Werks Films is available for schools, libraries, or home use. This 57-minute documentary plus 100-minutes of special features was  co-produced by Director Stephen Hatch and narrator Patrick McBriarty.  Order your copy from the film website

Patrick's first children's picture book Bridges of All Kinds presents 50 full-color photographs of natural, big, small, yellow, bumpy, railroad, covered, and various other bridges from around the world.  Paperback 36-pages published by PTM Werks Inc.  Get your signed copy below.
A Little About Patrick McBriarty

Over a decade ago Patrick McBriarty discovered a new focus and fascination for Chicago’s bridges.  His first book , presents the untold history and evolution of Chicago's bridges, from the first humble footbridge to the iconic moveable steel and concrete structures of today. It reveals a city, that at its heart is the world center for drawbridge design and innovation.  Chicago without its bridges to connect and reconnect the people, culture, industry, and neighborhoods would not be what it is today. The book captures the engineering and architectural significance of the bridges and presents the people, stories, and legends of Chicago's fantastic bridge history.  Chicago River Bridges was published by the  in October 2013 and received the 2013 Henry N. Barkhausen Award for original research on Great Lakes Maritime History.  With more than 200 images and beautifully laid out, this 344-page, full-color, hardback, coffee table book makes a great gift.  For a review check out

Patrick also recently completed with Chicago filmmaker Stephen Hatch the documentary, , which they independently produced and first aired on Chicago and Milwaukee public television in 2013.  It chronicles the importance of the bridges in the making of the Windy City from the first wood footbridge, built by a tavern owner in 1832, to the iconic structures of today crossing the Chicago River. 

Patrick's first children's picture book  is about big, red, small, steel, railroad, and many other kinds of bridges from around the world. This full-color children’s picture book presents over 50 photographs that amaze and delight children and adults alike. It shows the great variety of types, shapes, colors, materials, uses, and life cycle of bridges. The prominent feature of each bridge from 22 different countries is described with its geographic location.  It provides a great cross-section of the many and varied bridges and bridge types all over the world.  This is an eBook on Apples iBookstore and printed copies may be purchased above.

Book Cover Drawbridges Open and ClosePatrick is currently working on the PTM Werks Series of children’s books with illustrator Johanna Kim.  The idea of this series is to show the behind-the-scenes and inner workings of machines that are all around us to answer the why's and how's kids often ask, even most adults can't completely explain.  The first book in the series is Drawbridges Open and Close, which introduces Bridge Tender Todd (a fox) and tugboat captain Josie (a kangaroo) who is towing a big barge and needs the bridge to open.  Just as impatient Terry Turtle in his sports car approaches, Bridge Tender Todd follows the six steps to safely open the bridge and then reverses the six steps to close the bridge.  wonderful illustrations show the center lock, gears under the drawbridge, and controls inside the bridge house.  The Narrows Drawbridge is used by a variety of vehicles, watercraft, and animal characters that go over and under as they go about with their busy day.  This book is recommended for kids 3-years old and up and will be released in October 2014 from CurlyQ Press and distributed by Applewood Books.

The second book in the series Airplanes Take off and Land is currently in the works and expected in early 2015 also from and distributed by .  It introduces Harry (a sheep) who is a little afraid of flying and travels with Aunt Stacey to visit his grandmother.  Stacey is the captain and pilot of the flight and Harry gets a special treat visiting the pilots lounge, seeing the filing of the flight plan, pre-flight inspections, and sits in the jump seat for a closeup view of flying an airplane, its controls, and procedures.


As A Young Boy . . .
At times being a little kid does not seem so long ago.  I was curious, loved to play, and lucky to make friends easily.  One of my earliest memories is of running through the backyards of my neighborhood in Normal, Illinois (really that was the name of the town).  It was early morning and I decided to run as fast as I could from one backyard to another and another just because I could.  It was the beginning of a beautiful summer day that seemed to hold endless opportunities.  School was out, sunny, and warm I could feel the grass and the cool morning dew under my bare feet as I dashed along, both excited and afraid of stepping on a bee in the clover.  Still ran anyway with the twinge of fear spurring me on with quick inspecting glances at the ground ahead.  Yet still running an at times with pure abandon as fast as I could because it felt so good to fly across the grassy yards.  The excitement was simply too great to contain.  Running seemed to be the best way to express and enjoy this perfect summer morning that held so much possibility and promise.

I am sure at the time I could not have described this feeling as well, but the joy of bare feet on grass, the crisp clean air, and sense of freedom was too good to ignore.  Hopefully that feeling will never leave me.  The energy, like uncorking a bottle as the foam rushes out, after I stepped out the back door of our house and endless possibilities that summer day was pure magic.

I sometimes have similar feelings while writing about bridges or other things when all the pieces seem to fit together (after a lot of work) and an idea, project, or book comes together.  That feeling of excitement bubbling up inside like a shaken soda can is a thrill we should all keep in our hearts.  The thrill of pure joy, success, and that anything is possible as the good little kid in all of us no matter what age.  The fun, energy, and assurance what you are doing right then and there is just what you were meant to be doing right now.  AND you are the best and only person to express it.  It is just so right, so strong you must seize the chance and paint or write, build, hug someone, or run through the grass to feel the air rush by.

It is my hope kids everywhere find and keep this feeling to always remember that excitement and joy of being alive.  So as they grow up, change, and learn the feeling is never lost.  We should all find activities, friends, and pursuits that create a feeling of self worth, strength, and joy!  Some people say it is following your passions -- whatever that is.  To me it is just this feeling inside wanting to discover what if.  What if I can make this happen?  What if I try and build this idea?  Why not make this work?  I try and ignore the hard work because along the way the discovery of new things, and even if it doesn't turn out as expected the hard work is always worth it -- not for the end result, although that too can be amazing -- but for the journey of learning and seeing what will happen, created, or built.  Chase ideas that thrill you despite what other people think or say.  Try something new and different exploring is just plain good for you and helps create a better, stronger, and smarter you.  What does the happy little kid inside you feel is cool, fun, or exciting to do next?  You never know will you learn or become along the way.
Check out the PTM Werks Events

Listen to Rick Kogan's interview of Patrick McBriarty on

Radio program After Hours with Rick Kogan
June 29, 2014

Watch the ABC 7 Chicago News segment from

which includes two spots of Patrick McBriarty describing the importance of the Michigan Avenue Bridge on May 14, 2014.

Member of the following writer and trade associations:

Society of Children's Book
Writers and Illustrators

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Author and bridge historian
Patrick McBriarty has AND can provide a variety of programs and presentations as follows:

A Bridge Talk - learn about Chicago's fantastic bridges chronicling that made the Windy City what is is today -- The Drawbridge Capital of the World with more drawbridges than any city in North America.  Discover he architectural and engineering significance of the bridges past and present mixed with human dramas of bridge jumps, political battles, destruction of bridges by flood, fire, and cattle or of the homeless man living inside a bridge.  Articulate, knowledgable and very approachable McBriarty lends his keen eye, humor, and expertise to create and deliver great programming for kids and adults alike.  Each talk is customized to the audience and no two are exactly alike incorporating Q&A's with the audience.  Well polished these presentations have been provided for trade associations, public libraries, history museums, schools, universities, and private clubs. [Total time 60-65 minutes.]

Screening of the Documentary - Bring the 57-minute documentary Chicago Drawbridges to your organization.  See the film that chronicles the development of Chicago's bridges from the first wood footbridge, built by a tavern owner in 1832, to the iconic spans crossing the Chicago River today.  Broadcast on Chicago and Milwaukee Public Television, you can share this informative and entertaining film with your organization and enjoy a Q&A with the filmmakers, afterward.  [Total time 70 minutes.  A/V requirements: a venue, screen and LCD projector.] 

Boat Tours - Catch author and Chicago bridge historian Patrick McBriarty on Wendella's Chicago River Bridges Tours to spend a delightful 2-hours cruising the river to see and learn about the bridges.  Pass under or through at least 20 bridges to learn up close their importance and significance to Chicago and engineering and architectural development.  For schedules and tickets visit the Wendella website.
[Total time 120 minutes.]

Specialty Tours - For a custom
Chicago bridges walking or boat tours contact Patrick by email at to discuss your needs to put a specialty tour together.

All of programs provide great history, exploration, and evolution of moveable bridge designs, how various drawbridges work, engineering and architectural significance, and the development that led to the Chicago-type bascule bridge design that dominates our waterways and continues to evolve.  These programs require an honorarium, which is negotiable and the ability to sell books and DVDs
at the event.

McBriarty taps into the universal relationship we all have with bridges by sharing his excitement and passion relating the beauty, dynamics, and magic of bridges with people of all ages.  Patrons take away a new found appreciation for bridges as these fantastic structures offer a tremendous springboard for further discussions of science, technology, engineering, and math for most any educational level.  To bring this presentation to your organization email and schedule your event.

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