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Illinois Terminal - Ellsworth Park Bridge (Old)

Photos 

Photo submitted by Mike Roegner

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BH Photo #185318

Map 

History 

Written by Mike Roegner

From an article in the The Danville Democrat, July 10, 1903: "the bridge committe reported that they had had a meeting with township commissioners and had gone over 3 bids that were received for a bridge at the dam in Ellsworth Park. The lowest bid by Lafayette Engineering Company of $10,950 was accepted and the bridge committee and the Mayor were instructed to sign the contract."

Most of the bridges over the Vermilion and North Fork were of dual ownership - owned by the City of Danville and Danville Township. This one was unusual in that it was owned by the city, Danville Township, and the Illinois Traction Company. The city paid $3,000, the township $4,000, and the balance of the cost was paid by Illinois Traction.

When the Woolen Mill bridge was condemned and closed in 1914, the city ordered that the interurban bridge be planked over, and it became the route for wagon traffic across the North Fork, as well as interurban traffic.

On April 27th, 1928, a train of 6 cars carrying washed coal from Decatur and 2 locomotives approached the bridge. The coal was destined for the power house in downtown Danville. Illinois Traction had a rule against more than 3 cars crossing the bridge at a time, so 3 cars were cut out and left in the Ellsworth Park siding. At 5:50 am, as the 3rd coal car entered the bridge, the bridge collapsed under the weight of the train. The 1st and 3rd cars landed in the water with their ends propped against the abutments. The middle car landed in the water and tipped over. A brakeman riding the 3rd car managed to hang on and was able to climb out of the wreckage. The collapse was attributed to severe corrosion. A temporary timber pile bridge was built, and while plans were being made for a more permanent bridge, trains were again crossing the river by Monday morning.

Facts 

Overview
Lost Through truss bridge over North Fork Vermilion River on former Illinois Traction System in Danville
Location
Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois
Status
Collapsed
History
Built 1903, collapsed on April 27, 1928
Builder
- Lafayette Engineering Co. of Lafayette, Indiana
Railroads
- Illinois Traction System (ITS)
- Interurban
Design
Pin-connected, 7-panel Pratt through truss
Dimensions
Total length: 120.0 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.12281, -87.63981   (decimal degrees)
40°07'22" N, 87°38'23" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/445483/4441584 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Danville SW
Inventory number
BH 44277 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • August 2, 2013: New photo from Jacob P. Bernard
  • April 20, 2013: New photo from Jacob P. Bernard
  • August 6, 2012: New photo from Jacob P. Bernard
  • August 2, 2012: New photos from Jacob P. Bernard
  • April 30, 2011: Essay added by Mike Roegner
  • March 31, 2011: New photo from Jacob P. Bernard
  • January 20, 2011: New photo from Jacob P. Bernard
  • January 10, 2011: Updated by Mike Roegner: Added Lafayette Engineering as builder
  • August 11, 2010: New photo from Jacob P. Bernard
  • February 28, 2010: Added by Jacob P. Bernard

Related Bridges 

Sources 

  • Jacob P. Bernard
  • Mike Roegner

Comments 

Ellsworth Park Interurban Bridge
Posted October 1, 2014, by Anonymous

Dam in the picture was the Beard Ice Company Dam. It was built to hold back the river to insure a supply of water for ice that was cut out of the river, transported under South Logan (the tunnel is still there but filled with debris, and stored in buildings between the two rivers. The dam that is presently there was built to hold back the river and allow for swimming and boating near the walking bridge. This dam is also going to be removed probably sometime this fall.

Ellsworth Bridge
Posted January 10, 2011, by Mike Roegner (roegner [at] soltec [dot] net)

From an article in the The Danville Democrat, July 10, 1903: the bridge committe reported that they had had a meeting with township commissioners and had gone over 3 bids that were received for a bridge at the dam in Ellsworth Park. The lowest bid by Lafayette Engineering Company of $10,950 was accepted and the bridge committee and the Mayor were instructed to sign the contract. Most of the bridges over the Vermilion and North Fork were of dual ownership - owned by the City of Danville and Danville Township. This one was unusual in that it was owned by the city, Danville Township, and the Illinois Traction Company. The city paid $3,000, the township $4,000, and the balance of the cost was paid by Illinois Traction.

When the Woolen Mill bridge was condemned and closed in 1914, the city ordered that the interurban bridge be planked over, and it became the route for wagon traffic across the North Fork. That was only possible because the city was part owner - railroads don't usually encourage people to walk on their tracks.

Ellsworth Park Bridge
Posted March 4, 2010, by Mike Roegner (roegner [at] soltec [dot] net)

Here's a Bill Janssen photo of the replacement with inbound car 271. Not a pretty bridge, but it lasted until the end of service in April 1952. Don't know how long it remained after that. The abutment on the right and the pier still remain.

Webmaster's note: The photo that was here has been incorporated into the main site.

Ellsworth Park Bridge
Posted March 4, 2010, by Mike Roegner (roegner [at] soltec [dot] net)

Here's some pics of the Ellsworth bridge. This was an Illinois Traction bridge. It may have had provisions for pedestrians, judging from the number of people that always seem to be on it. It was built in 1903 at the start of Danville-Champaign service and lasted until 1925, when it was taken out by a derailing train.

I don't think that dam is the dam that is at the park now. I can't find anything that says I.T.S. crossed the North Fork anywhere but on the south side of the park, and that is downstream from the current dam. Also, in the photo of the derailment, the dam isn't there.

Webmaster's note: The photos that were here have been incorporated into the main site.