You don’t see many suspension bridges here in flyover country.
This one was built in 1859 in Carlyle, Illinois, on a mail and stage road between Vincennes, Indiana, and St. Louis, Missouri. US 50 follows much of that 1806 road’s path today. I read conflicting reports of whether US 50 ever crossed this bridge, but motor vehicles did travel along it until 1932, when it was closed and a new bridge built nearby. The bridge was built with horses and buggies in mind, and so a few trucks broke through the deck! The bridge sat abandoned for more than 30 years and deteriorated rapidly. This 1936 photo is from Historic American Engineering Record.
Fortunately, the bridge was restored in the 1950s and was renamed for Major General William Dean, a Carlyle native who served during the Korean War.
It has been a pedestrian bridge since, and was a popular spot on Memorial Day when a friend and I went out to see it.
The deck is narrower today than it was when it carried regular traffic. I don’t think my little car would fit!
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Last updated on 25 January 2020 by Jim Grey