Photo taken by Steve Conro in November 2011
BH Photo #220628
Found a railroad document for this bridge, which gives a build date of 1887, but does mention reconstruction. On a side note, the span appears to actually be continuous, with only one vertical member at the center and no gap in the bridge.
Doing a second look, I definitely agree that itís likely around 1900-1910 instead of 1877. The report where the 1877 date came from likely referred to the previous bridge, which I assume was a lattice deck truss.
The CNW built a number of early riveted connection bridges. These include the nearby 1879 bridge in Carpentersville, as well as a number of early 1880s pony trusses.
The oldest rivet-connected truss spans are the 1883 Rock Village Bridge in MA and the 1880 approach spans of the Redstone Railroad Bridge in MN.
That said, if the 1911 date for this similar bridge is correct, it seems like that would be more likely for this one too.
The connections are all riveted, which is making me question that date...I could be wrong, but it seems to me that rigid connections did not come into use until after the turn of the 20th century.
Without maintenance and barring a flood or similar disaster, the bridge should last at least 100 years. However, a unique bridge like this should be preserved.
On a side note, I looked into the true build date of this bridge. While researching at the Chicago & North Western Historical Society archives, I was not able to confirm the 1877 date; but I also did not find information to reject it either.
The railroad does not use this bridge. The rails have been removed from both ends of the bridge. I don't long it will last with no maintenance.
The only record of any Kishwaukee River Bridge at Belvidere I have found was listed in an Annual Report of the Chicago & North Western Railway from a fiscal year ending 1877. It gives a record that a two span iron bridge over the Kishwaukee River at Belvidere was rebuilt in 1877, and the bridge was on the Wisconsin Division (the line from Belvidere to Beloit). Would anybody be willing to say the bridge dates to this time? The bridge is clearly iron, as it does not see signs of corrosion typical in steel.
A name change might be in order. I doubt the locals think of it as a UP structure.
C&NW had a large yard and roundhouse in town showing on the 1918 topo and the line extended north and crossed another C&NW track at Caledonia. UP bought them in 1995.
i am not sure way its the UPRR spur Bridge i have maps dating back to 1900's and before saying its a Chicago and Northwestern line ---- it lead from the main line up to C&NW yard and Roundhouse which was at the corner of Mckenly Ave. and Rt 20
A man hung himself from this bridge about 5-6 years ago.