3 votes

Old Pearl Street Bridge


Photo taken by Steve Conro in February 2014


BH Photo #274283


Street View 


"The Pearl Street bridge is one of the oldest and largest iron truss bridges in the state. It was created by the now-defunct Milwaukee Bridge and Ironworks Co., a major bridge builder in the Midwest at the time." (Chicago Tribune, July 7, 1997 article by Maryan Koehler)


Through truss bridge over a branch of Fox River on Pedestrian path
Prairie Grove, McHenry County, Illinois
Open to pedestrians only
Built 1881 over Fox River on Pearl Street in McHenry IL, relocated to Terra Cotta Industries Nov. 1976, two of three original sections in storage
- Milwaukee Bridge & Iron Works of Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Pratt through truss
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.27374, -88.28747   (decimal degrees)
42°16'25" N, 88°17'15" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/393831/4680972 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 53547 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • July 15, 2020: New photo from Art Suckewer
  • January 5, 2019: New photo from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • November 22, 2018: New photos from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • May 16, 2014: New Street View added by Tony Dillon
  • February 13, 2014: New photos from Steve Conro
  • September 15, 2012: Added by Frank Hicks



Old Pearl Street Bridge
Posted July 15, 2020, by Tyler

Art, the article you found still holds true. They still plan on using one of the spans for this riverwalk


Old Pearl Street Bridge
Posted July 15, 2020, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)


There are all kinds of shorter pony trusses sitting around abandoned in many Illinois counties. Not sure what size you need but here is an example in neighboring Kane County...


If you let me know what length you're needing I'll be happy to look for some other possibilities.

Old Pearl Street Bridge
Posted July 15, 2020, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Apparently Tyler may be be on to something... :^)

Old Pearl Street Bridge
Posted July 15, 2020, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Dec 21, 2015 Northwest Herald


Next step for McHenry Riverwalk remains uncertain

By EMILY K. COLEMAN - ecoleman@shawmedia.com

Dec. 21, 2015

McHENRY The final payment on the most recent phase of the McHenry Riverwalk has been made, a city official said.

The next step, however, still is up in the air.

The McHenry Riverwalk Foundation has two directions it could take the project, but the big issue is fundraising, said the foundations president, John Smith.

With the way the economy is, people just arent going to make donations, he said, adding that the project has been a difficult one to get the public to buy into and that a catalyst like something happening with Miller Point or the old city hall could get everything moving again.

The city bought Miller Point, a 2.62-acre lot on North Riverside Drive, in 2012 after a fire destroyed the 1929 Dobyns House and the restaurant in it, leaving it vacant for several years.

The property still is being marketed, but nothing has progressed beyond conversations at this point, Deputy City Administrator Bill Hobson said.

I wouldnt say wed take any comers, Hobson said. I think its important that the right thing goes there. Obviously, its a key component within the [tax increment financing] district, and so the generation of revenue ... is something we look at with every project. But at the same time, you dont want to be too restrictive. Thats going to limit your options.

If and when the fundraising starts again, the city and the foundation are looking at two different options.

One extends the walk west along Boone Creek and includes the installation of a section of the historic Pearl Street bridge, which would provide a pedestrian connection between a city parking lot and the downtown area, Hobson said. It also would run along the historic center of the city, including behind the 1894 Landmark Elementary School and the former city hall.

It expands the marketability of both sides of that section, Hobson said.

The old single-lane Pearl Street bridge was built in 1880 at the site of a former ferryboat crossing and dismantled in 1977 to make way for the current bridge, according to city documents and media reports from the time.

The pieces of the bridge were saved by Terra Cotta Industries, now TC Industries, and one of the sections connects an employee parking lot with its main building in Prairie Grove, the reports said.

Another one of the sections was donated to the city of McHenry and remains in storage at a city maintenance garage, Hobson said. The city also has received a $50,000 monetary donation specifically for that project, which is estimated to cost about $400,000 for the installation of the bridge, walking path, seawall work and lighting.

The other option is picking up where the last phase left off on the north side of Route 120 and continuing north along the Fox River toward Webers Park, where more public boat slips could be installed, Hobson said.

The idea is to take advantage of the busy Fox River and give boaters a place to dock, drawing them into the citys downtown, Hobson said.

There are more pieces in place for the Pearl Street bridge; however, the greater economic benefit would be to enhance the river, Smith said.

Old Pearl Street Bridge
Posted July 15, 2020, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)


I had missed your response previously. Thanks!


What is your definition of a short span and is it for public or private land?

1. These are not small spans so they may exceed your needs even if they still exist (think higher costs).

2. Private land would be ideal because you won't need to worry about AASHTO standards or other headaches.

Post the specs you need and I suspect those on here may be able to help you find the perfect historic bridge solution for those needs.


Other surprises and miracles have happened but, I suspect, they are long gone. If they still exist, the metal (wrought iron) will have held up just fine and need only a new paint system and whatever it needed when it was placed in storage in 1976. The deck will need replacing.

Regards to all,

Art S.

Old Pearl Street Bridge
Posted July 15, 2020, by Tyler

Supposedly. Its not known where they are however. I would ask the company that owns this span.

Old Pearl Street Bridge
Posted July 15, 2020, by Dennis Palys (denpalys [at] gmail [dot] com)

Looking for a short span bridge for foot taffic over creek in Wonder Lake, IL. Are the two sections still in storage?

Old Pearl Street Bridge
Posted January 5, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Art, I read the other two spans were stored after the move but I have no information on their current location or existence.

Old Pearl Street Bridge
Posted January 5, 2019, by Art S. (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Interesting design, hope the other two spans still exist. Looks just like a mid 1880s King to me.