8 votes

Rainbow Bridge


Photo from 1998

Unknown source


BH Photo #166586



Illinois Old Bridge Hunt - Rainbow Bowsyring Bridge, b. 1868, McLean County, over Mackinaw River

2020 visit to this bridge


GPS coordinates are an estimate only

Here is a link to an article about the bridge http://www.lexingtonillinoisfort.org/Articles/2005/August/Ra...


Bowstring through truss bridge over Mackinaw River on abandoned section of Green Street
McLean County, Illinois
Built in 1868 by the King Bridge Company; abandoned in the 1960s
- King Iron Bridge Co. of Cleveland, Ohio [also known as King Bridge Co.]
Wrought iron Bowstring through truss
Also called
Pleasant Hill Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.60457, -88.75514   (decimal degrees)
40°36'16" N, 88°45'19" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/351507/4496342 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory number
BH 45418 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • March 8, 2021: New video from Nick Schmiedeler
  • January 13, 2019: New photos from Nick Schmiedeler
  • June 7, 2016: New photos from Elliott Johnson
  • June 29, 2012: Updated by Luke Harden: Extant as of 6/24/2011
  • May 30, 2010: Added by Anthony Dillon


  • Tony Dillon - spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Luke
  • Elliott Johnson - elliottsgon15 [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Nick Schmiedeler - nick [at] nickschmiedeler [dot] com


Rainbow Bridge
Posted November 17, 2021, by Marvin kelch (Trashman32456 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I hope no one message with this bridge. I remember fishing under this bridge ever since I can remember up until I was 25 years old. Iím now 65. One of the fond memories fishing under the bridge was at night with my parents. I must have been around 7 years old. My mom thought see had a bite on her line.Reeled the line line in and we thought there wasnít anything on the hook. Laid the pole down. Went to get a flash light. Came back and the line had moved. My first time seeing a mud puppy. My mother freaked out. I moved away from McLean County 26 years ago. Most recently working about two hours away. Came to see my brother and I had to go visit the bridge. Pretty sad seeing south end of the road closed and no trespassing signs up. Hope it doesnít come soon but I have always wanted my ashes to be spread in the Mackinaw River off this bridge. Hope itís there for another 150 years.

Does the county still own the bridge? If anyone knows?

Rainbow Bridge
Posted March 8, 2021, by Nick Schmiedeler (nick [at] nickschmiedeler [dot] com)

Just posted a YouTube clip of visit in 2020


Rainbow Bridge
Posted January 16, 2019, by Don Morrison

That would be great. Long Dick Creek, which rises up in Hamilton County northeast of Ellsworth and enters the South Skunk River south of Story City already has, like a pony or two.


Rainbow Bridge
Posted January 15, 2019, by Luke

We should relocate the Boner Bridge to cross Long Dick Creek in Story County, Iowa :')

Rainbow Bridge
Posted January 15, 2019, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

On a side note, the recent photos of this bridge posted were very useful to me and did bring to my attention the fact that this is an altered bridge. The floorbeams are not original and the vertical member connections to the floorbeams are reconfigured, with all cast iron connection assemblies having been replaced. Also, extremely heavy pack rust on the upper chord plate.

Rainbow Bridge
Posted January 15, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

...And yes Nick, that Rainbow Bridge does need to be rescued before Mother Nature finishes her reclamation of it! There has been talk for a long time about it... But NO action!

Rainbow Bridge
Posted January 15, 2019, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

It could be, but hard to be for certain.

Some information I have seen has the Boner (Sorry, but I always snicker when I type this one!) Bridge being started as early as 1866.

Rainbow Bridge
Posted January 15, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Letter to the editor from 1982 ! I haven't found anything else...

Rainbow Bridge
Posted January 15, 2019, by Nick Schmiedeler (nick [at] nickschmiedeler [dot] com)

Someone correct me if I'm wrong but according to the advanced searches on this website, this is the oldest existing bowstring in it's original spot in the country. The open triple-bowstring in Indiana is one year younger. Are there any efforts in place that anyone knows of to give this old thing more recognition, or any known pushes for preservation? DANG 151 YEARS OLD

Rainbow Bridge
Posted January 14, 2019, by Nick Schmiedeler (nick [at] nickschmiedeler [dot] com)

Thanks, Melissa. Several hundred abandoned bridges into hunting hobby, this is the oldest one I've visited still in it's original spot....excited, 151 years old, yow!!

Rainbow Bridge
Posted January 14, 2019, by Melissa Brand-Welch (melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com)

Beautiful photos!

Rainbow Bridge
Posted June 30, 2012, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I added this a couple years ago and am glad to see it still exists. A truly hidden gem that needs a new lease on life. The county had talked of making this area into a park several years ago...but unfortunately that never came to fruition.

Rainbow Bridge
Posted June 29, 2012, by Luke Harden (lmharden [at] iastate [dot] edu)