Sugar Creek Covered Bridge 13-84-02
Photo taken July 2004 by David Backlin
BH Photo #102589
The bridge has an arch much like a Burr-arch truss, but the truss in a Burr-arch is typically a multiple kingpost or a long truss. This one looks like a long truss at first glance - execpt the tension diagonals can't be under tension becaues of the joint type and they are wedged to put them under compression. My opinion is this is not a rehab error, but a quirk of the original construction.
Pieces of wood were likely added to the original Kingpost bracing to form X panels. I have seen this on other examples, although with the Burr arch they likely do nothing.
History and dates
Written by Fmiser
The first bridge across Sugar Creek in this area was built about 1827 by Thomas Black and his neighbors who wanted somethnig better than a ford. That bridge was not a covered bridge and spanned the creek in neigboring Auburn township close to the border with Ball township.
In 1880 Thomas Black built this covered bridge. This bridge is known as the Hedley (or Headley) bridge, or the Glenarm bridge, or the Sugar Creek Covered bridge. It was rehabilitated in 1965, but I'm not finding any information on what work that entailed. A local commented that this bridge was still carrying traffic in the late 1970s. According to the NBI, in 1983 a prestressed concrete beam bridge was built just to the south.
An article in the State Jurnal Register says the bridge was in use until 1984 - but it also claims it was built in 1827 which my research indicate is incorrect, so I'm not sure I trust it's dates.
Based on an old photo, the bridge is currently higher above the water than it used to be.
According to this NIU website, the bridge was extensively renovated in 1994. Maybe this was when the bridge was raised, and steel beams were added to carry the load, and the poured concrete abutments that have surface texture to look liked coursed stone were added.
In 2002, the state had plans to add a fire-suppression sprinkler system. It was in place when I wrote this in 2012. There is also a video camera surveillance system.
The bridge is handicap accessible. The paved old road alignment runs between the parking lot and the bridge, and the approach spans are wide, sturdy, and gently sloped.
- Covered bridge over Sugar Creek at Covered Bridge Road southeast of Chatham in Chatham
- Sangamon County, Illinois
- Open to pedestrians only
- Built 1880 by Thomas Black; rehabilitated 1965
- Covered Burr arch-truss
Length of largest span: 58.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on January 9, 1978
- Also called
- Glenarm Covered Bridge
Hedley, or Headley Covered Bridge
- Approximate latitude, longitude
- +39.64041, -89.66257 (decimal degrees)
39°38'25" N, 89°39'45" W (degrees°minutes'seconds")
- Approximate UTM coordinates
- 16/271520/4391235 (zone/easting/northing)
- Quadrangle map:
- Inventory numbers
- WGCB 13-84-02 (World Guide to Covered Bridges number)
NRHP 78001185 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 15654 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
- July 28, 2020: New photo from Melissa Brand-Welch
- April 25, 2019: New photos from Jack Schmidt
- March 30, 2015: New photos from Steve Conro
- December 1, 2013: New photo from Diane Martin
- October 9, 2013: New Street View added by J.P.
- June 28, 2012: New photos from Fmiser
- June 27, 2012: Updated by Fmiser: Added an history and timeline essay, a description of the truss, and another name.
- September 16, 2011: New photos from Luke Harden
- December 19, 2005: Posted additional photo from Justin Skinner
- David Backlin - us71 [at] cox [dot] net
- Justin Skinner - Farm4Fun [at] msn [dot] com
- IL DOT
- Dale Travis Covered Bridge List
- Fmiser - fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com
- J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
- Steve Conro - sconro [at] yahoo [dot] com
- Jack Schmidt - jjturtle [at] earthlink [dot] net
- Melissa Brand-Welch - melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com