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.
Here is an article on the closure.
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.
I just found that the L'Erable Bridge is on Bridge Hunter as "Iroquois River Bridge", BH 15314. It collapsed in 2005.
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.
Here's an article from the Kankakee Daily Journal that appeared on October 19, 1992 concerning the structure.
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.
Here is a link to the case:
I stand corrected.
I was beginning to think there were no records of this bridge anywhere. Excellent work Mike!
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.
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.
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.
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