16 votes

Sugar Creek Chapel Bridge



Photo taken July 2006 by Tom Hall

BH Photo #102210


This bridge shares it's heritage with the nearby Dunn's Bridge in Indiana. Both were built ca.1895 by P.E. Lane's Bridge & Iron Works in Chicago. The materials were apparently acquired from a salvage company and were originally from the 1892 Chicago World's Fair. Dunn's Bridge was long thought to have been a part of the Ferris Wheel, but it and this bridge were likely fabricated from roof trusses.


Steel through arch bridge over Sugar Creek on 900N Road (CH 9), 3.25 mi. east of Milford
Iroquois County, Illinois
Closed to traffic in December 2012.
Built in 1895 by P.E. Lane using parts salvaged from the 1892 Chicago Worlds Fair
- Lane Bridge & Iron Works
- P.E. Lane of Chicago, Illinois
Steel through arch
Length of largest span: 159.0 ft.
Total length: 163.0 ft.
Deck width: 17.3 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 13.6 ft.
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.62605, -87.63642   (decimal degrees)
40°37'34" N, 87°38'11" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/446174/4497441 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2013)
Inventory numbers
IL 038-5500 (Illinois bridge number)
BH 15334 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of December 2016)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Imminent Failure (1 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 28.1 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • December 23, 2020: New photos from Steve Conro
  • December 13, 2012: Updated by Tony Dillon: Updated status per forum post
  • November 15, 2011: Updated by Steve Conro: added relationship info
  • July 29, 2011: Updated by Tony Dillon: Updated information.
  • January 2, 2010: New photos from Tom Hall
  • October 2, 2006: Posted photos from Tom Hall

Related Bridges 

  • Dunn's Bridge (Same design) - Same unique world's fair heritage.



Sugar Creek Chapel Bridge
Posted December 23, 2020, by Steve Conro (sconro [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I was so disappointed to find this bridge in such poor shape. This is such an amazing bridge one of a kind (OK two of a kind) up close. So be left to rot is just an incredible shame.

Sugar Creek Chapel Bridge
Posted December 14, 2012, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Iroquois County has never preserved a single historic bridge and has been systematically annihilating its historic bridges for the past several years. Now would be a great time to bring an end to the slaughter! This bridge is one of the most unusual bridges in the country and perhaps beyond.

Sugar Creek Chapel Bridge
Posted December 13, 2012, by DK
Sugar Creek Chapel Bridge
Posted December 13, 2012, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I hope that with Iroquois County's terrible record of late concerning historic bridges they don't plan on making this beauty one of the casualties.

Sugar Creek Chapel Bridge
Posted December 13, 2012, by Barb Davis (fieldpup [at] fieldpup [dot] com)

December 2012

Sad day for our area. The Sugar Creek Chapel bridge is officially closed now.

Sugar Creek Chapel Bridge
Posted March 4, 2012, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

I just found that the L'Erable Bridge is on Bridge Hunter as "Iroquois River Bridge", BH 15314. It collapsed in 2005.

Sugar Creek Chapel Bridge
Posted March 4, 2012, by Ed Hollowell (erhollowell [at] aol [dot] com)

It's interesting that the three other bridges mentioned in the article that Gene posted are gone despite their historic 'protection'. Butzow went in 1996, Fidler in 1995 and L'Erable appears to be gone but there is no BH entry. It doesn't appear that the "Historic Bridge" protection law in Illinois is very effective.

Sugar Creek Chapel Bridge
Posted March 4, 2012, by Gene Smania

Here's an article from the Kankakee Daily Journal that appeared on October 19, 1992 concerning the structure.

Sugar Creek Chapel Bridge
Posted March 4, 2012, by Bramster

Some more photos . . .

Sugar Creek Chapel Bridge
Posted March 4, 2012, by Bramster

I love this bridge near Milford. It is definitely my favorite !

Sugar Creek Bridge
Posted March 11, 2011, by Gene Smania

Photos taken ca February 2010. Structure is load posted. Somebody has hung a section of steel roadwy guardrail at each portal which restricts the height of vehicles that are able to cross. Looks like it's about the height of trucks.

Sugar Creek Bridge
Posted May 11, 2010, by Robert Stephenson (seainfeld99 [at] yahoo [dot] com)
Sugar Creek Bridge
Posted May 11, 2010, by Tom (thomas [dot] hall [at] ffni [dot] com)

I stand corrected.

I was beginning to think there were no records of this bridge anywhere. Excellent work Mike!

Sugar Creek Bridge
Posted May 10, 2010, by Anthony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Thanks for posting this Mike.

It would seem that the stories of this and the Dunn's Bridge are now less far fetched. And that P.E.Lane was involved.

Sugar Creek Bridge
Posted May 10, 2010, by Mike Roegner (roegner [at] soltec [dot] net)

This article appeared in a 1899 issue of the Northeastern Reporter, a publication of the Harvard Law Schools that covers Supreme Court Decisions of various states that include Illinois. P.E. Lane apparently got himself in trouble.

On February 26, 1895, the commissioners of highways of the town of Stockland, Iroquois County, and the board of supervisors of that county, let a contract to one P. E. Lane, by the name of the Lane Bridge & Iron Works Company of Chicago, to furnish the material and labor for and to erect a bridge at Sugar Creek Chapel, in said township. The price to be paid was $4,400 - one half by the county and the other half by the township. On March 11th following, Lane executed to the Exposition Salvage Company of Chicago, ILL, the following order: "B. F. Price, County Clerk, Iroquois County, Illinois: Upon receipt of the report of special committee appointed to act in the matter of building a bridge at Sugar Creek Chapel, Illinois, the sum of $1,100, payable in order on the county treasurer, said order to be issued by you when payment has been ordered by C. A. Newburn, G. S. Hummer, and Herman Salmon, the said committee, and upon the presentation there after of this order to you. Lane Bridge & Iron Works, P. E. Lane, Pr." On the same day he executed a similar order to the firm of Young & Hamilton for the like amount. Both of these orders were on the day of their date presented to Price, who endorsed upon them "Will issue order as above indicated. B. F. Price, County Clerk." Lane began work on the bridge soon after the execution of the contract, but did not complete it until April, 1896.

And it goes on and on from there. That does establish the completion date of the bridge, though it seems to have taken him a while to build it.

The Columbia Exposition Salvage Company was started by a Russian immigrant Moses Harris, who established a successful salvage business that reused materials from world's fairs. His companies included the Chicago House Wrecking Company and the Columbia Exposition Salvage Company in which he pioneered techniques for preserving historic materials by reusing them. His presence in the construction of the bridge lends support to idea that the bridge was built of material salvaged from the Exposition.

Sugar Creek Bridge
Posted January 9, 2010, by Michael Roegner (roegner [at] soltec [dot] net)

I had also heard that this bridge was built from steelwork from the Ferris Wheel at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, however, other sources say it is built from steel from the dome of the Exposition's Administration Building. Considering the size of the Ferris Wheel, the dome is more likely the source. Also, in 1904 when the Sugar Creek bridge was built, the Chicago Ferris Wheel had been moved to St. Louis and was in operation at the Louisiana Purchase Exposition.

Sugar Creek Bridge
Posted August 3, 2008, by bradley glover (gloverbe [at] hoopeston [dot] k12 [dot] il [dot] us)

There is no mention to the fact that this bridge was built from the frame work of the ferris wheel at the 1892 Chicago Worlds Fair