1 vote

Spandau Bridge


BH Photo #187324



The first wholly concrete wagon bridge in Vermilion County.

Brief History 

Written by Mike Roegner

The term "wholly concrete" was a term used by the newspaper to describe this bridge. They didnít qualify the statement, but I think must have been referring to township road bridges as opposed to railroad bridges, as there were several concrete railroad bridges in the county at the time this bridge was built.

The bridge was reinforced concrete, 200 feet length with 4 spans of 50 feet. It was designed by Frank Payne, who was also the engineer that designed the Butler Ford bridge on the Salt Fork. Work began on this bridge May 15, 1910 which put it ahead of the Butler Ford bridge, whose contract was let on June 4, 1910. The bridge was completed about August 1st. Cost of the Wood Ford bridge was $6,500. It was in both Newell and Blount Townships, and both were responsible for the bridge.

Apparently no job was too big or too small for R.C. Spandau, the contractor. He was also a contractor for foundation work on the McKinley bridge in St. Louis.


Lost concrete arch bridge over North Fork Vermilion River on CR2650 southwest of Bismarck
Vermilion County, Illinois
Replaced by new bridge
Built 1910
- Frank Payne of Danville, Illinois (designer)
- Richard C. Spandau of Danville, Illinois (contractor)
Closed-spandrel concrete arch
Length of largest span: 50.0 ft.
Total length: 200.0 ft.
Also called
Leonard Bridge
Wood's Ford Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+40.24911, -87.62874   (decimal degrees)
40°14'57" N, 87°37'43" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
16/446526/4455596 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Danville NW
Inventory number
BH 47028 (Bridgehunter.com ID)

Update Log 

  • February 14, 2011: Updated by Mike Roegner: Changed bridge name to modern usage
  • November 27, 2010: Updated by Mike Roegner: Added alternate name
  • November 23, 2010: Essay added by Mike Roegner
  • November 16, 2010: Added by Mike Roegner


  • Mike Roegner


Spandau Bridge/Wood's Ford Concrete Bridge
Posted May 29, 2015, by Brian Makowski (myhome72 [at] prodigy [dot] net)

I came across this informational photo card about this bridge.

Spandau Bridge
Posted February 14, 2011, by Mike Roegner (roegner [at] soltec [dot] net)

I was looking through a book on Newell Township history last weekend and they referred to this bridge as the Spandau Bridge, so I changed the name to reflect that and put Wood Ford as an alternate name. Look's like the builder got some recognition.

Wood Ford Bridge
Posted January 3, 2011, by Mike Roegner (roegner [at] soltec [dot] net)

Spud Ave bridge is as good a name as any other - I only called it Wood Ford because that's what the newspaper article called it. Bridges with the early names are the hardest to locate. Everyone at the time knew where Wood Ford, or Moore's Ford, etc. were at. Now - those are locations nobody's heard of, and don't seem to be on any maps. You have to get into the local history books and hope for the best.

I saw a photo of this bridge from the 1940's and it was called Leonard Bridge. I wish I'd known Wood Ford and Leonard Bridge were the same bridge; I spent a lot of time trying to locate Leonard Bridge.

Wood Ford Bridge
Posted January 2, 2011, by Christopher Fisher (cfisher [at] mailbag [dot] com)

I remember this bridge too from my childhood summer vacations near Danville. Funny thing was at the time, though of course I was not aware of the term (and it likely didn't exist back then), I thought of it as a "UCEB"! And IMO it is, compared to the much more distinctive nearby bridges like Myersville and Old Seaton Hill Rd.

One other thing: Back then, I never knew the bridge was called "Wood Ford". I used to call it the Spud Ave (boy, that's got to be the dumbest name I've ever heard of for a road!) bridge. Wood Ford makes sense though, as I seem to remember the North Fork being pretty shallow at that point (you could see rocks and stones in the riverbed during dry spells in summer), and the water a lot clearer and less "smelly" (the North Fork to me always had a very distinctive smell to it) than up stream by Myersville or my grandparents property.