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P&D - Salt Fork Vermilion River Bridge


1875 Map of Danville

Bridge is seen in the center

BH Photo #252626


Brief History 

Written by Mike Roegner

The Paris & Danville Railroad was built by John C. Short, a Danville banker. It was chartered March 23, 1869 and began running trains from Danville to Robinson in 1872. It eventually made it from Danville to Paris, IL and crossed the Salt Fork river at approximately the same location as the concrete arch bridge does today. From there it connected with the Indianapolis, Bloomington & Western Railroad and crossed the North Fork on their bridge (BH52994), before terminating at the I.B. & W. station on Gilbert Street.

The P&D Bridge was a 3-span (two 120' spans and one 40' foot span) Howe Deck truss approximately 550 feet long (including approaches?) and 70-75 feet high, built by W. H. Alexander, chief engineer for the railroad.

August 1, 1879, The P&D began running trains from Tilton Junction across the Wabash Bridge (BH43975) into the Main Street station through a lease agreement with the Wabash Railroad ($100/month). The P&D Bridge was then abandoned.

The approaches to the bridge became the property of the Ellsworth Coal Company. The bridge was sold to the Vermilion County Highway Commission for $1,000, and Henry Halls was contracted to dismantle it in September 1882. The bridge was to be moved to the Kyger Mill to be used as a wagon and pedestrian bridge. (I can't verify it ever made it there.) Some of the oak timbers from the approaches were donated by A. C. Daniels, superintendent of the Ellsworth Coal Company, to be used by City Engineer Alexanders to build a dam on the North Fork. This was to impound water for skating & swimming.

The P&D Railroad was reorganized after foreclosure as the Danville & Southwestern, later becoming the New York Central's Cairo Division.


Lost Deck truss bridge over Salt Fork Vermilion River on former Paris and Danville Railroad in Danville
Danville, Vermilion County, Illinois
Built 1870, abandoned in 1879, removed in 1882
- W.H. Alexander (chief engineer)
- Paris & Danville Railroad (P&D)
Main spans: Howe deck truss
Length of largest span: 120.0 ft.
Total length: 550.0 ft.
Also called
P&D - Salt Fork Vermilion River Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.11906, -87.64150   (decimal degrees)
40°07'09" N, 87°38'29" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/445336/4441169 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Danville SW
Inventory number
BH 53068 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • April 20, 2013: New photo from Jacob P. Bernard
  • August 19, 2012: New photo from Jacob P. Bernard
  • August 10, 2012: Updated by Clark Vance: Added categories "Paris and Danville Railroad", "railroad"
  • August 10, 2012: New photo from Jacob P. Bernard
  • August 8, 2012: Updated by Mike Roegner: Corrected essay and bridge measurements
  • August 6, 2012: Essay added by Mike Roegner

Related Bridges 


  • Mike Roegner
  • Jacob P. Bernard


P&D - Salt Fork Vermilion River Bridge
Posted February 12, 2021, by Daniel Briseno (dnl [dot] briseno [at] gmail [dot] com)

I have a stereo card of the original bridge.