The initial steps in the building of the red bridge took place in March 1863 at a meeting of the board of supervisors. At a meeting in July the estimated cost of $19,000 was accepted. It was resolved to levy a special tax of two per cent on the $100, on half to be collected in 1863 and the other half in 1864. At the September 1864 board meeting provision were made for completing the bridge, and the bridge was completed by the end of 1864.
Work on its replacement, the Gilbert Street bridge, began on July 3, 1893. It was reported that "The iron work on the Gilbert Street bridge will commence on Monday. The derricks have been placed in position."
The red bridge remained in place while the Gilbert Street bridge was built next to it. The Gilbert Street bridge being a higher bridge caused a few problems. One carriage driver reported that after crossing the red bridge, he found spikes in the top of his carriage. Kids had thrown them down from the Gilbert street bridge as the carriage passed by on the road to the red bridge.
The Gilbert street bridge was officially accepted as complete at a meeting of the bridge commission on September 21, 1893, where the contractor received his check, and everyone smoked cigars.
The coup de grace for the red bridge came on September 22nd when " the electric light in the old red bridge was ordered moved to the big new bridge." I wasn’t sure what the electric light was for. There was one at each end of the bridge. Illumination levels in 1893 weren’t nearly what they are now. There were gaslights in the downtown area, and some intersections had single bulb droplights over them. Since the bridge was just southwest of the main business district, the lights were probably so anyone traveling at night could find the bridge.
At the September 29th city council meeting, the committee on bridges in conjunction with the highway commissioners was instructed to advertise the superstructure of the old red bridge for sale at public auction. On October 16, the following appeared in the newspaper:
Sale of the Old Red Bridge
The committee on bridges of the city
council of Danville, Ill., and the commis-
sioners of highways of Danville township
will sell, at public auction, on Wednes-
day, Oct. 18, 1893, at 2 o’clock p. m.
the superstructure of the old red bridge.
Charles T. Shultz,
John K. Lane,
Commissioners of Highways
The bridge was sold to Joe M. Dougherty for $300. Terms of the sale was $50 down and the balance in 8 months. The south end of the bridge, the roof, sides and bottom were to be removed within 10 days. The balance of the bridge was to be removed within 8 months.
At a meeting in April, 1895, the council directed the city attorney to figure out how much the stone in the piers and abutments was worth and send a bill for that amount to Stalling Brothers, who had hauled the stone away. As they discussed the situation, everyone present denied having given permission to Stalling Bros. to take the stone.
One pier of the old red bridge on the south side of the river sat in the shadow of Memorial Bridge until the 1990’s, when a contractor rebuilding the Memorial Bridge sat a crane on top of it and destroyed it.