World Wide Magazine "Vince and Marty at the Chain of Rocks"
Video posted by diabetoboy
See what its like to drive across the Chain of Rocks Bridge
Posted by Steve Conro
Bridge hours are from 9 AM to sunset, daily.
2011 Eagle Days will be January 15 and 16 from 9 AM to 3 PM. The bridge will be closed from January 11 through 14 and January 17 for Eagle Days preparation.
I really don't think this bridge should be promoted as a tourist attraction. After seeing this bridge mentioned in the St. Louis Post Dispatch, I decided to look it up online and consider visiting it. After seeing it on the Missouri tourism website, I assumed it was a valid place to visit and saw no warnings indicating otherwise. I set my GPS up to go to the address listed on the Missouri website which is: 10950 Riverview Drive
St. Louis, MO 63137
When I got to the bridge, other than the area being deserted except for one other car, I saw nothing amiss. We walked across the bridge and when we returned our car window was bashed in and items had been stolen from the car. There was another pile of glass which I think must have meant the other car had been broken into as well. We called the police and it took them about 45 minutes to arrive. While waiting we heard from two other people, and later from the police that this is a common occurrence that has been happening for years. When I got home I called the police again and it was again confirmed that this happens frequently and that the area directly around the bridge on the Missouri side is considered a high crime area and the police officer on the phone said he wouldn't recommend being anywhere around this area. After further research I found your website and see that this happens frequently and has been happening for years. This is horrible that tourists are being directed to this as a valid place to visit on vacation only to be put in harms way. I wish I would have seen your website earlier.
When I spoke to traillink, who seems to be leasing this bridge from the state of Illinois, they informed me that as far as they're concerned the Missouri side is closed for parking and people should be parking on the Illinois side of the bridge. Their website says the following: Parking and Trail Access
Parking is not advised at the Missouri trail end. To get to the Illinois trail end from I-270, take Exit 3 onto Illinois Route 3 South/Lewis and Clark Blvd. At the first stoplight, turn right onto Chain of Rocks Rd. and continue 2.2 miles to parking at the end of the road.
However, I had never seen their website and based on the visitmo website, I was directed to the Missouri side and there were no signs saying that side of the bridge was closed, or ill advised for parking and/or in a dangerous neighborhood.
So, at a minimum, the visitmo website shouldn't have the Missouri address listed as a place to park. However, I honestly don't think it should be promoting this as a tourist attraction at all. Even if I had parked on the Illinois side, knowing what I know now, I wouldn't think it was safe to walk across the bridge to the Missouri side only to allow these same people that are targeting the parking area to still be able to gain access to me just walking onto the bridge. There is no way this is a safe place to be with no law enforcement patrolling the area or even being close enough to respond quickly. That part of North St. Louis and North St. Louis County is a known high crime area but unfortunately, I and many others had no idea since we don't live here.
Sadly, the bridge does look very enticing and I can see how people would want to visit it. However, I think this makes it more dangerous because it attracts people that aren't risk takers and have no idea that they're making a dangerous choice by visiting this bridge.
At one point in time the crime on the Missouri side got so bad that someone (the city?) hired a security guard. That lasted for a couple months until media coverage of the thefts died down and then the security guard disappeared.
There is supposed to be a camera in the parking lot, but it's not surprising that the SLMPD never showed up. You should call and ask to see the security footage.
Decided to take a walk on the bridge today, July 25. With my daughter who just arrived from CalIFORNIA.pARKED ON THE MO side, when we returned the window was broken. Someone had attempted to break in. Called 911, waited for an hour and then left for home. The van I parked next to was also broken into. The people in the van were tourists visiting from the Netherlands.All their luggage, including passports were stolen.
This is the jurisdiction of the St. Louis City.
I would not recommend anyone visiting the bridge from the Missouri side.The lack of law enforcment in this area makes it unsafe to visit.
Since all the photos here are recent, I thought I would post some taken before blue fences and tourist goop.
These are from a few rolls of Kodachrome 64, shot mostly on March 31, 1991. It turns out that it was just four days before the Kerry sisters were murdered. What a horrific crime. When I look back on the photos now it's a little unsettling to recall the graffiti, open man-hole covers and the remoteness of the bridge at that time. I think I was wise to slip a .357 into my jacket before I left the house.
I was born and raised in the area and traveled across the bridge many times. Traffic was always fairly heavy and that made the bend all the more exciting, if that's the right word. The narrowness, altitude, and bend all caused my mother to have a pretty good grip on the arm rest and front seat whenever we crossed it.
Those were the days.
@ webmaster: According to MoDot and an Alton newspaper, the bridge closed to traffic in February 1970.
There is now a paved parking lot on the ILLINOIS side, right at the foot of the bridge. It has several security cameras and presumably they are monitored. You should AVOID parking on the Missouri side because of past problems.
Very much like the Old Williamstown Bridge in Washington County Ohio and Wood County West Virginia.
I visited the Chain of Rocks Bridge in February of 2011. I've heard stories about cars being broken into, but ours was safe. The bridge is a wonderful place to walk over, and I would like to go back someday.
Molly, I'm sorry to hear you sustained damage. But you're here on BridgeHunter and that's a good thing!
At least there were no fatalities in our area from the storms. Sadly, the same can't be said for the southeast area of the country from yesterday's storms. The death toll is climbing.
Yes, well aware of mother nature and her pms first hand, got shingles and a shutter blown off of my house and lost two trees!
Parts of my crappy little house can be replaced, a historic and unique bridge cannot, true that!
Molly, I too was very concerned when I heard the initial reports of the tornado's path. A tornado can certainly pick up debris in one area, carry the debris for a long distance and forcefully deposit the debris in many directions. Even seeing the path of the tornado where it crossed the Mississippi River is really fairly close to the bridge given the abilities of tornadoes to send debris flying everywhere.
I know it's a big bridge and well built but tornadoes have a nasty habit of destroying what man builds.
I was wondering about that when the news was describing the path of the storm, thank goodness it's alright. So far it's turning out to be a rough spring, more severe weather is on the way and the rivers are on the rise :-O
A tornado on Good Friday came "too close for comfort" to this bridge. You can see the storm path at this link.
It would be terrible to lose this beauty to tornado!
The Husband and I visited on a blustery march day last year and parked on the illinois side. whatta cool bridge! and long too ( lots of time to enjoy it) Knowing it was near a bad neighborhood I didn't leave anything valuable in my car ( or visible for that matter) I had no problems, though I'm sure the weather was a discouragement as well. It's a bummer so much vandalism occurs there, I may not be so lucky the next time...
Three suspects were actually arrested for vehicle break-ins on the parking lot for the bridge! Wow! There are security cameras on the lot on the IL side. This should be happening more often.
What a beautiful family. Nice photos. Thanks for sharing.
Kimberly, It's going to take enough people like yourself that are fed up with this situation to change the local law enforcement stance. Granted I understand they are probably facing budget problems like everywhere else, but to not even pursue these thugs when given solid information is intolerable. It is their job to protect and to SERVE.
By the way.........nice looking family! :)
I was very excited to visit the bridge with my two little kids and my husband. i have never been before but my husband has. we parked on the MO side. The "park at your own risks" signs really make me angry. its so common that they city have signs, saying what? park here we do nothing, is what i read. sadly enough we found out first hand. as we were on our way back to the car a alarm was going off and a 2001 tan impalla and a tan bemer were going through our cars. seems one is a watch out and the other breaks the windows and grabs what they can. as my husband walked up he got a plate number the drove away before he got all the way to the car. For us they didnít get anything but put a kink in our day. For the other car there she lost everything.
My husband called 911 for them to say, we have other priorities but if you want to wait 2 hours we will have a cop stop by. they donít finger print anymore. also its a non-policy she says to come out and do anything even with us having a plate number and had seen the people rob our cars. No one was injured and its not a felony. so needless to say im very discussed with the city of St. Louis. seeming to be lazy and rather than put up NO PARKING signs. (on the little parking strip off riverview dr) they tell criminals "hit these cars, we wont do anything about it" i feel it is a large disappointment to take a historical sight and make people not want to visit it. Please do not park there. I would hate for anyone else to go through what we did. I plan on making as large of a issue out of this that I can. After reading other people going through it something needs to be done and I intend to fight till I get answers and resolution.
these are picutres of my family we took while visiting the old chain of rocks bridge.
I drove from Dallas to Pgh and made a stop here at sundown in August 2010, during the 100 degree days. The Missouri side seemed to have blight, which was discouraging, but I was able to walk the bridge with my daughter, and make a youtube of my trip. I suppose I was fortunate literally no one was around. It is a little depressing to read the posts about robberies and vandalism..
here is my video--paste into your browser!
Eagle Days on the Old Chain of Rocks Bridge is coming up this weekend. Hopefully, security will be active on both sides of the river.
There is a proposal to build a casino adjacent to the bridge on the Illinois side. It would provide 24-hour security and make it more accessible. There is opposition though.
GOOD NEWS! As we were visiting the bridge today... walking and sauntering along...we were startled from behind with the sound of.... get ready for it... a POLICE CAR from the Madison Side. He said they patrol it once an hour. We chit chatted and then he drove to the Missouri Side, turned around and came back. I was with my boyfriend and felt safe there: but wouldn't walk it by myself from the Missouri Side. NO WAY... The presence of crime is felt...100%!!! The creepiness was the Riverfront Trail on North Broadway...leading up to the bridge. Anyway, we were fortunate enough not to experience crime, had a fantastic time walking the bridge, taking pictures and enjoying the historical significance of this bridge...where Ole Man River meets everyone in St. Louis on Route 66 AND the Mississippi River National Trail. I'd do it again..which I will...but the next time will be by HORSE. GREAT JOB TRAILNET and MADISON ILLINOIS!
To view some video of this bridge... check these links out at
i think its on the bridge for picture opts. not really sure out side of that.
What's the story of the beat-up 1930 Ford?
we actually took our youth group back in november to the bridge, and walked acrossed. We parked on the Ill. side, but we told everyone, take your cellphones and we cover up everthing else the best we could. and i'm happy to say the van was not bothered at all. The youth greatly enjoyed it, and it was a great walk after being in the van for 4 or 5 hours. We had a great time, as the pictures will show.
My apologies. In my last post I left out Julie's name. I meant to type Robin and Julie Kerry, and what came out was Robin and Kerry. I meant no offense.
I noticed an anonymous post about how the bridge is neither fun nor safe. There has ALWAYS been a bad element from the Missouri side at that bridge. I am well aware of the murders on the bridge in 1991. I feel bad for Robin and Kerry. I was in tears as I read the book that their cousin Tink wrote. No one should have to go through that.
That being said, they were on the bridge around midnight before it had opened up as a trail. The bridge was closed, and NONE of us were supposed to be on it at all. Being teens, this direction was largely ignored. I am obviously not excusing anything that happened to them. What I am saying, is that it is a little different going there in the middle of the day especially since it is open as a trail. I would let my children go on it alone during the day. While I cannot speak to the safety of one's belongings, it is safe from an assault standpoint, and it IS a great, fun place to visit.
It DOES sound like the criminal element has picked up on the Missouri side, though. This is unfortunate as these thugs ruin a nice trip to a wonderful landmark. Where else will you see to water towers that are over 100 years old in the middle of a major river? I wish there was a way to clean up this element so that people can enjoy the beautiful scenery and the history of the location.
I found a cool aerial picture of the site. I hope all enjoy it!
I love old buildings and structures and I am a professional photographer. Our rental car was broken into while we were on the bridge. They busted out the back window and got into the trunk and stole all of my lenses out of the bag. We had nothing in plain sight. If I had seen this site BEFORE I had gone I would have just skipped it. These robberies are real and obviously do happen so if you must go park on the IL side. The whole area seems a bit suspect and is a bit isolated. Proceed with caution and don't park on the MO side.
I am angered by this incident...it is really frustrating.
I have walked this bridge a few times, it's wounderful view of the river and the Eagles are awesome. Being a local resident i'm very aware of the criminal element in the area. I would not park on the Missouri side. The Illinois side is nicer area to park but is somewhat sucluded.My advice is to go in numbers and have someone to watch the cars. I hate to see a piece of our history ruined by the worthless punks who break a $400 window for $3 worth of change left in the console. Trailnet needs to take notice and get some type of security for this great piece of Americn History before it's to late and eveyone is scared to come and walk the bridge.
Keith: This is terrible news. Until recently, all of the crime reports were confined to the Missouri parking lot. Now the Missouri side is patrolled on weekends during the summer (with a parking fee), while the Illinois side is wide open for criminals.
There has been talk of constructing a visitor's center at the Illinois parking lot (in the form of a replica of the old tollbooth), where a full-time park ranger would be stationed. It's hard telling, though, when the money will be available.
The Illinois side (Chouteau Island) does have other parking areas. One is at the foot of the Canal bridge, another provides fishing access downstream from the big bridge. So far I haven't heard any reports of problems there, but that could change.
We planned our summer vacation around a drive on Route 66 from the Old Chain of Rocks bridge to downtown Chicago. After ignoring several reports regarding theft at the bridge, we were robbed. Not five minutes after leaving our vehicle we heard our car alarm sound, and as we ran back to the parking lot we watched a red car speed off THAT HAD BEEN SITTING IN THE PARKING LOT WHEN WE ARRIVED! The Madison County Sheriff's deputy said that it was common for thieves to sit and watch people leave, smash the windows out of several cars and grab whatever they could. In our case they broke a window and got a few puzzle books and a set of headphones, as we made sure to lock all our valuables in the trunk, but the owners of the other vehicle they hit lost everything; wallet, purse, medications, cell phone, luggage, etc. Heavy damage to their vehicle as well. Needless to say, we were traumatized and the rest of our long-awaited trip was ruined.
Being a former sheriff's deputy, I will be carrying my 9mm handgun the next time I visit the bridge, and I won't be parking my car in the parking lot. Speaking for everyone else who has been victimized, what harm would it do for Madison County to charge a fee and post a guard? The parking lot is very small and can be viewed easily from any spot. The security cameras mounted at the entrance to the island and above the parking lot are ineffective, according to local law enforcement.
The Old Chain of Rocks Bridge is a beautiful place that has been ruined by common thieves, but I will not let them deter me from enjoying it's beauty. See you in 2010!
Of all the nice things said about the bridge, there's one not so nice thing..in 1991, Two sisters, Julie and Robin Kerry, were rapped and pushed off the bridge, and died that April nice. So, I wouldn't call it a "fun" or "safe" place. It's more of a memorial more than anything...for those too girls. May they Rest in Peace
I grew up in Edwardsville, and I spent a lot of time on that bridge as a teenager. When I was growing up in the 80's the bridge was still closed and was a fun thing for a teenager to be on. We never had any trouble out there with crime or anything. Of course with a group of teenage boys, probably robbers would look for easier prey.
I now live in Indianapolis, and took my family back there to visit. In my opinion, it is completely safe, at least from the Illinois side. We spent time on the bridge, walking it and marvelling at the water towers. My children were really curious about the narrowness and how cars fit as well as the bend in it. We also went down to the beach on the Illinois side, skipped stones and took pictures. I regaled them with stories from my childhood about time I spent out there. It was one of the best mini vacations in my life.
I have a lot of fond memories of that bridge. I would recommend everyone go and visit it!
Every summer from the time I was 4 y/o(1951) until 12, I remember crossing this bridge as my family made the road trip from Chicago to Hope, Arkansas. This bridge was the highlight of the trip for me. I insisted that my parents wake me up when we got there so I could savor every minute as we crossed it. One yr. they didn't wake me, but I could sense the difference in the way the car was moving, and awoke on my own while crossing it. I was upset that I didn't have the experience from the entrance, but there was still plenty of bridge left.
I was just thinking of that old bridge and googled it on a whim. So thrilled to get to see the pics. they bring back memories.
This link has a pretty good explanation why, it has to do with river navigation and the way the bedrock is located.
I've always wondered why this bridge changes direction at the center pier. Is there some history to this? We used to drive across it before the new I-270 highway bridge was built and it seemed strange to have the sharp curve out in the center.
The view of the river is great with the literal "chain of rocks" spillway in clear sight and the old water system intake towers just south of the bridge. A canal with lock system takes river traffic around the "chain of rocks" spillway (or dam). Very interesting indeed.
I was very surprised to read about all of the robbery and vandelism that is going on there, being somewhat local (live near the airport). Chain of Rocks Park on the Missouri side of the span is within the city limits of St. Louis, way off in the northern tip of the city. I think that St. Louis, MO is the only city in the nation that is not in a county, thus, depends entirely on its own police department for security. St. Louis County can't help them. I don't know who's responsibility the east end falls under, it's in Illinois.
That is a real "black eye" for our region and to this stately, historic landmark. It is a situation that needs to be resolved, probably on a regional basis involving both states and all nearby communities. To get St. Louis City and County folks to cooperate may be a real challenge.
Don't leave any valuables in the vehicle at all (this includes purses, electronic items, etc.), and park from the Illinois side. Don't forget to lock the glove department on the vehicle. Leaving valuables in the trunk will not protect you from smash and grabs, as those petty thieves are not that stupid (they will smash the window and look for the trunk button inside the car).
I usually park the car at that one gas station in Granite City just east of the old canal bridge and just walk the 3 miles to access the bridge. The parking lot is much more secure (more vehicles and much more traffic, which seems to discourage that crime). I'm used to walking long distances to just about anywhere (my cousin and I used to do those 10 km volksmarches for quite a while).
I HAVE BEEN TO EAST ST. LOUIS SEVERAL TIMES TO VISIT RELATIVES, BUT NEVER KNEW ABOUT THE OLD BRIDGE. I AM INTERESTED IN VISITING IT (ILLINOIS-SIDE) IN MAY 2009, ALONG WITH SOME OTHER SIGHTS AS AN URBAN EXPLORER.
I WONDER IS IT REALLY DANGEROUS DURING THE SPRING-TIME AND DAYLIGHT HOURS? HAVE THERE BEEN MANY REPORTED ROBBERIES?
I JUST LEARNED THAT TEH BRIDGE WAS USED IN THE MOTION PICTURE, ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK, AND THAT HORRIBLE MURDERS HAPPENED THERE IN 1991. IS THERE ANYONE IN EDWARDSVILLE OR GRANITE CITY THAT CAN GIVE ME SOME TRUTH?
SIGNED, INTREPID TO TREPIDATION
You were robbed on the Illinois side? You really need to give us some details. My buddy and I went there in September of 2007 and found the Illinois side quite safe, but we are big strapping men.
Don't go. I went and was robbed on the Illinois side just today!
I live in Granite City, near the Chain of Rocks Bridge. Walking or biking the bridge is always a treat. Twice per year, classic cars are allowed to cross. A car show was held on the bridge this fall. The classic cars on this bridge are quite a site.
I have pictures of the bridge and cars on the bridge at these sites:
I LOVE this old bridge and have visited four times in the past five years. I ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS park on the Illinois side and NEVER NEVER NEVER on the Missouri side. When you park on either side, put your things in your trunk BEFORE you get there as you ARE being watched on the MO side. In fact, I was there on Nov 1, 2008, and FOUR cars on the MO side where broken into the two hours we were (I was parked on the IL side, as I was the three previous times). The IL side is more difficult to get to which makes thug's getaways MUCH more difficult. The MO side is right off a main road which leads directly to the interstate. Enjoy this bridge parked on the IL side!!! :o)
We visited this bridge on a whim. Very neat preservation project but they need to invest in a security guard or an attendant on both sides of the river. We were gone from our car less than 30 minutes and a window had been busted out and my purse taken. Never assume you're not being watched!
We stopped by to see this beautiful bridge on our way home (Indiana) from Las Vegas, via route 66. A wonderfully built structure and worth seeing, but very remote and needs to have security due to the numerous vehicle break-ins and vandalism there. Was a little scary for my sister, 80 year old mother and brother to be there and not another sole or any protection around. We had just read about the 1991 murders before we arrived and since we were there 3 days after the 17th anniversary of these poor young women losing their lives, it was needless to say a bit sad. Would love to see Illinois and Missouri work together to preserve this bridge AND provide security, even if a small fee was required to walk across it. A memorial plaque should also be put into place for these 2 women, one of which has never been found.
I visited this bridge memorial day weekend 2005 and it was
great.My friend and I stayed at the Best Western Motel
next to the Hen House restaurant.The night before visiting
the bridge we visited the Lune Cafe I had a couple of Budweisers and my friend had a long island ice tea which
disagreed with him the next morning.It was a trip I will
Outstanding photos, especially the aerial shot taken from the kite.
I had traveled the entire Route 66 except for walking the bridge because it was closed at the time. I came back to complete it with my family and we really enjoyed our time on the bridge. Unfortunately, when we returned to our car, it had been broken into and our purses stolen out of the trunk. The sign states "lock your valuables in your trunk". What it doesn't say is that someone is watching you. I wish Trailnet would hire someone to catch the people responsible. I know it would cost a lot, but right now they are stealing thousands from tourists and credit card companies daily!
Grew up minutes away from here, I use to walk this bridge lots, isn't that what that hole in the fence was for. Once a RiverRat always a RiverRat. Moved to Barnhart Mo. but still only a couple minutes from my river. Thanks for the memories.
Growing up on Chouteau Island in the early 60's, I remember this being a toll bridge. Walking across the bridge was like a stroll down memory lane.....
This bridge is featured in the 1981 movie "Escape From New York" as the "69th Street Bridge" and was also the site of a 1991 rape and murder of two sisters.