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Holy Crazy (Homeless?) Guy!

By Sam Bakken in News on Dec 13, 2004 10:29PM

Not THE drawbridge, but a drawbridge nonetheless. IMAGE: Drawbridge, 1936, Library of CongressOn Sunday Richard Dorsay was evicted from a wooden shack he'd constructed between girders and beams underneath a drawbridge over the Chicago River. Evidently there were a number of these shacks underneath the bridge camouflaged with blankets to prevent detection from below. When police arrested one of Dorsay's neighbors, that neighbor gave them a tip that led authorities to the bridge on Lakeshore drive where they discovered Dorsay and the small community.

Dorsay had some prime digs yo! He'd used the electricity from the bridge to power a T. V., microwave, space heater and a Playstation. All of the news stories label him a homeless man. Chicagoist has lived in plenty of shacks (essentially) that didn't have a T.V., microwave or Playstation, and we wouldn't have considered ourselves "homeless" at the time.

When he heard the bells warning that the bridge was about to rise, he'd just hold on until the bridge returned to its resting position.

Dorsay said the first time this happened was scary, but after that it was "...almost like riding a Ferris wheel."

Dorsay moved in three or four years ago when he noticed a separation in the middle of the bridge's lower level and climbed in.

Dorsay on what it takes to live under a drawbridge:

"You've got to be kind of agile," Dorsay said of his living arrangements. "You can't be an idiot. ... It doesn't take long to figure out what you need to do."

Dorsay's feat is quite a marvel of engineering and architecture and a definite resume-builder. He'd better get a patent because these "drawbridge dorms" could be the new it housing option in Chicago; the new Lincoln Park or Wicker Park loft. Getting caught may be just what he needs to kick-start a lucrative career.