6 votes

Sugar Creek Covered Bridge 13-84-02


East end

Photo taken July 2004 by David Backlin

BH Photo #102589

Street View 


The bridge has an arch much like a Burr-arch truss, but the truss in a Burr-arch is typically a multiple kingpost or a long truss. This one looks like a long truss at first glance - execpt the tension diagonals can't be under tension becaues of the joint type and they are wedged to put them under compression. My opinion is this is not a rehab error, but a quirk of the original construction.

Pieces of wood were likely added to the original Kingpost bracing to form X panels. I have seen this on other examples, although with the Burr arch they likely do nothing.

History and dates 

Written by Fmiser

The first bridge across Sugar Creek in this area was built about 1827 by Thomas Black and his neighbors who wanted somethnig better than a ford. That bridge was not a covered bridge and spanned the creek in neigboring Auburn township close to the border with Ball township.

In 1880 Thomas Black built this covered bridge. This bridge is known as the Hedley (or Headley) bridge, or the Glenarm bridge, or the Sugar Creek Covered bridge. It was rehabilitated in 1965, but I'm not finding any information on what work that entailed. A local commented that this bridge was still carrying traffic in the late 1970s. According to the NBI, in 1983 a prestressed concrete beam bridge was built just to the south.

An article in the State Jurnal Register says the bridge was in use until 1984 - but it also claims it was built in 1827 which my research indicate is incorrect, so I'm not sure I trust it's dates.

Based on an old photo, the bridge is currently higher above the water than it used to be.

According to this NIU website, the bridge was extensively renovated in 1994. Maybe this was when the bridge was raised, and steel beams were added to carry the load, and the poured concrete abutments that have surface texture to look liked coursed stone were added.

In 2002, the state had plans to add a fire-suppression sprinkler system. It was in place when I wrote this in 2012. There is also a video camera surveillance system.

The bridge is handicap accessible. The paved old road alignment runs between the parking lot and the bridge, and the approach spans are wide, sturdy, and gently sloped.


Covered bridge over Sugar Creek at Covered Bridge Road southeast of Chatham in Chatham
Sangamon County, Illinois
Open to pedestrians only
Built 1880 by Thomas Black; rehabilitated 1965
Covered Burr arch-truss
Length of largest span: 58.0 ft.
Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on January 9, 1978
Also called
Glenarm Covered Bridge
Hedley, or Headley Covered Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+39.64041, -89.66257   (decimal degrees)
39°38'25" N, 89°39'45" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/271520/4391235 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Inventory numbers
WGCB 13-84-02 (World Guide to Covered Bridges number)
NRHP 78001185 (National Register of Historic Places reference number)
BH 15654 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • July 28, 2020: New photo from Melissa Brand-Welch
  • April 25, 2019: New photos from Jack Schmidt
  • March 30, 2015: New photos from Steve Conro
  • December 1, 2013: New photo from Diane Martin
  • October 9, 2013: New Street View added by J.P.
  • June 28, 2012: New photos from Fmiser
  • June 27, 2012: Updated by Fmiser: Added an history and timeline essay, a description of the truss, and another name.
  • September 16, 2011: New photos from Luke Harden
  • December 19, 2005: Posted additional photo from Justin Skinner


  • David Backlin - us71 [at] cox [dot] net
  • Justin Skinner - Farm4Fun [at] msn [dot] com
  • IL DOT
  • Dale Travis Covered Bridge List
  • Fmiser - fmiser [at] gmail [dot] com
  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Steve Conro - sconro [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Jack Schmidt - jjturtle [at] earthlink [dot] net
  • Melissa Brand-Welch - melissabrandwelch [at] msn [dot] com


Sugar Creek Covered Bridge 13-84-02
Posted November 23, 2021, by Elizabeth French (ucaeze [at] gmail [dot] com)

Hi, greetings from Argentina. I appreciate all who have posted about this bridge. I lived with my aunt/uncle on Covered Bridge Acres in 1980. The bridge was definitely in use then. Just great to see it again.

Sugar Creek Covered Bridge 13-84-02
Posted March 30, 2014, by Brandi (baggybirtches05 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Was here this past weekend. Would love to go back in the fall

Sugar Creek Covered Bridge
Posted October 28, 2011, by Luke Sparrow (lukesparrow [at] me [dot] com)

Spent a few hours there the other day with some beautiful colors to enjoy.

Looking forward to going back after some snow falls.

Sugar Creek Covered Bridge
Posted September 16, 2011, by Euth Wilson (rcwilson62 [at] yahoo [dot] ca)

This bridge looks to be kn good condition. Why is it open only to pedestrians and not vehicular traffic?

Sugar Creek Covered Bridge
Posted May 25, 2011, by Ron Turner (ront1959 [at] aol [dot] com)

Re the West Union Covered Bridge in Indiana and this covered bridge at Glenarm, Illinois.

I am quite familiar with both sites, 1) living in Springfield, Illinois and having a sister living in Covered Bridge Acres, and 2) being a frequent Parke County, Indiana visitor.

This is not the West Union bridge. One name it is known as is the Hedley Covered Bridge. It does cross a creek known as Sugar Creek. This Sugar Creek is one of the two main feeder streams for Lake Springfield, Illinois (the other is Lick Creek; they joined at the point where the Interstate 55 bridge over Lake Springfield is now).

The West Union Covered Bridge is in western central Parke County, about 5 miles north of Montezuma. It is Parke County's longest covered bridge. It crosses one of the largest creeks in Parke County, Sugar Creek. That Sugar Creek empties into the Wabash River 2-3 miles west of the West Union bridge.

Sugar Creek Covered Bridge
Posted April 3, 2011, by Jodi Christman

Randy, REALLY nice photo! Thanks for sharing.

Sugar Creek Covered Bridge
Posted April 3, 2011, by Randy Washam (curlyhoward54 [at] aol [dot] com)

Great site and one of my favorite places to photograph.

Sugar Creek Covered Bridge
Posted August 7, 2010, by Ed Baumgarten (ed [at] edbaumgarten [dot] com)

Visited the Sugar Creek Covered Bridge on 080710 on behalf of the Illinois Bureau of Tourism. Images can be found at http://www.flickr.com/photos/baument/sets/72157624675929942/

Wonderful site!

Sugar Creek Covered Bridge
Posted May 19, 2007, by Al Watters (awatterssarge [at] aol [dot] com)

West Union 1876 Over Sugar Creek

I recently acquired a sketch of the Sugar Creek covered bridge with the following information on the sketch; West Union 1876 Over Sugar Creek Parke Co., Ind by Roscoe Misselhorn. Any feedback is appreciated.


Sugar Creek Covered Bridge
Posted May 3, 2006, by Sharon Rodriguez (Srod508332 [at] aol [dot] com)

This Bridge and the property around it was owned by my Great grandmother,Josephine Nelch. She donated the bridge and several acres around it to the historical society many years ago. Its was never owened by Mr. Castle. The Nelch family has owned this property for nearly one hundred years and still maintians farms in Chatam and Glenarm adjacent to the bridge property.

Sugar Creek Covered Bridge
Posted March 6, 2006, by Eldon L. Sanders (w5vdw [at] tca [dot] net)

My brother-in-law, James M. Castle, developed residential property on Sugar Creek, known as "Covered Bridge Acres". The property for the residential development included the covered bridge. Jim apparently deeded the bridge to a historical society sometime before his death. I have often travelled the old road and enjoy reading about its present status.