Rating:
2 votes

Fox River Trail - Mill Creek Bridge

Photos 

Photo taken by Steve Conro in October 2012

Enlarge

BH Photo #241829

Map 

Description 

Built Ca. 1885 at an unknown location, moved here in 1915. Information provided from 1918 C&NW Railway Valuation Field Notes for section ILL-3C at Chicago & North Western Railway Historical Society Archives

Facts 

Overview
Pony truss bridge over Mill Creek on Fox River Trail (former C&NW Ry)
Location
Kane County, Illinois
Status
Open to pedestrians only
History
Built Ca. 1885, Moved Here 1915
Railroads
- Chicago & North Western Railway (CNW)
- Rail-to-trail
Design
Double-intersection Warren pony truss
Dimensions
Total length: 90.0 ft.
Also called
CNW - Mill Creek Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+41.82196, -88.32471   (decimal degrees)
41°49'19" N, 88°19'29" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/389984/4630856 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Aurora North
Inventory number
BH 54129 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 18, 2015: New photos from John Marvig
  • August 1, 2015: Updated by John Marvig: added build date
  • October 23, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Added category "Riveted"
  • October 23, 2012: Updated by Steve Conro: Added categories "Chicago & North Western Railway", "Rail-to-trail", "Wooden deck"

Sources 

Comments 

Fox River Trail - Mill Creek Bridge
Posted September 21, 2016, by Nathan Holth (Webmaster [at] HistoricBridges [dot] org)

I neglected to mention in my earlier comments that the name Carnegie was being rolled into steel and iron coming out of mills bought by Carnegie years before the official formation of the company. I'm standing in front of an 1885 truss bridge right now with Carnegie on all its original channels.

Fox River Trail - Mill Creek Bridge
Posted September 16, 2016, by Zander Donat (zanderdonat [at] gmail [dot] com)

I'm going to take a few more pictures to see if that helps. The Carnegie stamp is very faded but it should show up in a photo. Thanks for all of the input from everyone!

Fox River Trail - Mill Creek Bridge
Posted September 16, 2016, by John Marvig

Nathan,

I'll look more into the date for this bridge. It's likely in an annual report somewhere. The bridge in wisconsin is possibly an accurate date, although I will ask the owner where that date came from.

Fox River Trail - Mill Creek Bridge
Posted September 15, 2016, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

John... while certainly there is the potential for a bridge of this design to date to 1883 from a technological standpoint (in my earlier comments I overlooked the 1880 Redstone Bridge as an earlier all-riveted truss), my point is that's still a pretty significantly early date, and quite an outlier... even as you state this bridge design was built over a period of years... of which I would suspect 1883 is at the early end of the spectrum. Also, I am not clear what the source cited for the 1883 date of the Lammscapes bridge is. I wouldn't trust the signs that private owner put out unless there is further evidence than I am unaware of... which by the way would be fairly noteworthy.

In any case, I would caution against adding a speculative date to BridgeHunter (without adding underlying detail in the description) since as is clear here some visitors may interpret as "confirmed construction date" what should be at best a "circa" date and at worst an "estimate."

Fox River Trail - Mill Creek Bridge
Posted September 15, 2016, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Nathan,

This identical structure:

http://bridgehunter.com/wi/washington/lammscapes-railroad/

was built by the same railroad in 1883. This design was very common along this railroad between the early 1880s and 1900. The difference is, this is one of the few structures that did not end up getting retrofitted with new floor beams and ending up in road use. While the date may be an error, I do not believe that this type of structure was exclusively built later in the 19th century.

Fox River Trail - Mill Creek Bridge
Posted September 15, 2016, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

If this bridge were built in 1883 it would be tied with the Rocks Village Bridge for oldest known surviving bridge using riveted connections. I think this date highly unlikely on that fact alone. Pony truss railroad bridges are rare, and many lack a confirmed build date. However, based on bridges I have dates for, (and my own experience in general) the bridge likely dates from ca. 1888 to ca. 1896. I cite these bridges as representative technology (note the Milford Bridge was originally on a railroad)

http://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=oh...

http://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=ne...

http://historicbridges.org/bridges/browser/?bridgebrowser=mi...

Photos of the Carnegie brand on the bridge and information on which member(s) the name has been found would be immensely helpful (Carnegie varied their font over the years, and can help to some extent with dating). Do any other mill names appear on the bridge?

Fox River Trail - Mill Creek Bridge
Posted September 15, 2016, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Zander, It's possible that there was an earlier bridge on site here as the stone abuts do suggest a pre-1900 span. I do think the bridge is at least 1890's but am not up to speed on steel mill history to comment further. Nathan Holth could probably tell you with more certainty. Either way it is definitely a very cool span!

Oh, and "God Bless Mooseheart"!

Fox River Trail - Mill Creek Bridge
Posted September 15, 2016, by John Marvig (marvigj27 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Zander,

The date was assumed based on the type of bridge, as well as the original date of construction at this location. I am curious. Is it a single member, or several that are stamped with this? What are the members? To me, the bridge certainly looks like an early to mid 1880s railroad structure.

Perhaps you could shed some light on the bridge? Do you have any information on it?

Fox River Trail - Mill Creek Bridge
Posted September 15, 2016, by Zander Donat (zanderdonat&gmail [dot] com)

This site claims erection of this bridge in the year 1883. The bridge is stamped with "Carnegie Steel" which was founded in 1892. I work for the municipality that owns this structure and I am curious of the facts surrounding it. Clearly there's some different information here. I'm contacting the Batavia Historical Society to see if they have any other info. Either way it's a great piece of history in my home town!

Fox River Trail - Mill Creek Bridge
Posted September 15, 2016, by Zander Donat (zanderdonat&gmail [dot] com)

This site claims erection of this bridge in the year 1883. The bridge is stamped with "Carnegie Steel" which was founded in 1892. I work for the municipality that owns this structure and I am curious of the facts surrounding it. Clearly there's some different information here. I'm contacting the Batavia Historical Society to see if they have any other info. Either way it's a great piece of history in my home town!