1 vote

Johnson Hill Bridge


Photo submitted by Mike Roegner


BH Photo #169658



This bridge has many similarities to the Armstrong Bridge including truss type and large struts that are telltale signs of an Attica Bridge Company span.

Brief History 

Danville, IL - Contract let to East St. Louis Bridge Co., East St. Louis at $7,540 for construction of 150' steel bridge over Middle Fork of Vermilion River at Johnson Ford. - Municipal Engineering, Jan-Jun 1914


Lost Warren through truss bridge over Middle Fork Vermilion River on a pedestrian trail
Vermilion County, Illinois
Built 1914, demolished in 2006
- East St. Louis Bridge Co. of East St. Louis, Illinois
Riveted Warren through truss with unusual X center panel
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.16016, -87.74035   (decimal degrees)
40°09'37" N, 87°44'25" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/436951/4445796 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Danville NW
Inventory number
BH 45653 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • June 29, 2012: Essay added by Mike Roegner
  • July 26, 2010: Updated by Anthony Dillon: Added circa date and fabricator.
  • July 14, 2010: Added by James Baughn based on info from Mike Roegner



Johnson Hill Bridge
Posted June 29, 2012, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Good find on this one Mike. I just went with the ones like it in Indiana that were built by the Attica Bridge Company. By the way Attica decided around 1913 to expand their operation and moved from the small Indiana town to East St. Louis, Illinois where they would become...you guessed it, the East St. Louis Bridge Company.

They obviously took their designs with them!

Johnson Hill Bridge
Posted September 9, 2010, by Mike Roegner (roegner [at] soltec [dot] net)

Here's a couple of more pics. The bridge had a concrete deck, so I'm sure it put up a fight during the demolition.

There was an out and back mountain bike trail that used the bridge until the bridge was removed.

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

Johnson Hill Bridge
Posted September 7, 2010, by Mike Roegner (roegner [at] soltec [dot] net)

I tried to go down to the bridge site 2 weeks ago to pay my respects and met with "fierce resistance". The road from Johnson Hill cemetery is almost entirely overgrown, with only a narrow path, most likely made by fishermen. I had to hold a stick out in front of me to knock down spider webs. I got about 1/4 mile from the river and all that was in front of me was 5-6 foot high weeds and no path, so I turned back. I might try this winter when the overgrowth is gone. Or not - it's actually kind of creepy down there. That's so sad too, because that used to be a beautiful place to hike. Yesterday, though, I was in the mood for a hike so I thought I would try from the east side. I couldn't even find the road leading to the bridge. I've never seen a road disappear so completely.

Yes, the bridge is in the middle of nowhere, but the state had built miles of bicycle and hiking trails, along with horse trails in that area. The bridge would have been a great asset, as well a a handy way to get across the river.

Johnson Hill Bridge
Posted September 7, 2010, by Matthew Lohry

Although the truss types are different, the Tainter Lake bridge in Dunn County, WI, is configured with the same idea, but it's a subdivided Warren truss with a Pennsylvania truss center panel.


Johnson Hill Bridge
Posted September 7, 2010, by Robert Elder (robertelder1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Definitely a rare configuration. Here is another example.


Johnson Hill Bridge
Posted September 7, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

There are a couple pony truss bridges in London, Ontario with this unusual truss configuration detail, with the Warren configuration, except for a center X panel. Here is one: http://www.historicbridges.org/truss/dundas/

These are the only other examples I have personally visited with this detail.

Johnson Hill Bridge
Posted September 7, 2010, by Matthew Lohry

I've noticed that this bridge had a rare truss configuration--the center panel has thin members arranged in a Pratt configuration, while the rest of the truss structure is arranged in a Warren configuration. It almost looks as if the center panel was changed to these thin members, but the overall panel configuration suggests that they are original--I'm not sure why this would be done this way, but it makes it unique. Too bad that those in charge of this bridge's destiny did not feel the same way...

Johnson Hill Bridge
Posted September 7, 2010, by J.P.

what was the reason for this bridge to be destroyed. It was in the middle of no where and with no road attached to it. Seems pointless.

Johnson Hill Bridge
Posted July 29, 2010, by Mike Roegner (roegner [at] soltec [dot] net)

Here's a few more photos of the Johnson Hill Bridge in its natural habitat. Hope nobody tried to find this bridge, I noticed the coordinates I gave are way off - this bridge is just north of Kickapoo State Park. I'll send better numbers when I figure out what they are.

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