1859 General Dean Suspension Bridge

1859 General Dean Suspension Bridge
Kodak EasyShare Z730

You don’t expect to come upon a suspension bridge over a river in middle America. But nevertheless, here this one is.

It’s in Carlyle, Illinois, about 50 miles east of St. Louis. It’s a block north of US 50 on Carlyle’s east side. It carried vehicular traffic through sometime during the 1930s. I wouldn’t be surprised if this bridge was on US 50’s original alignment here.

Today, it’s a pedestrian bridge.


7 responses to “single frame: 1859 General Dean Suspension Bridge”

  1. Doug Anderson Avatar

    What a great bridge!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      It was a real pleasant surprise to come upon it.

  2. pesoto74 Avatar

    I wish I could find more info on this bridge. Seems like most of what is out there is a repeat of what is on the plaque.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      How far is Carlyle from you? Might make a nice day trip. I haven’t seen the bridge since I took this photo 9 years ago.

      1. pesoto74 Avatar

        It is probably a couple hours away. I might head down there when the weather cools off some. I did find this in a history of Carlyle Township.
        “Suspension Bridge. – This was constructed by the county, and reached completion in the spring of 1860. Mr. Griffith D. SMITH, of Pennsylvania, was the contractor and builder. The stone towers are 32 feet in height, capped with brick masonry 35 feet in height. The stone abutments extend from 15 to 16 feet below the surface. The length of the span between the towers is 280 feet. Strong wire cables pass over the towers from side to side and fasten in the abutments on either side; these support the whole structure of the bridge. The cost of this enterprise was $45,000. It is free to all citizens of the county, but foreign travelers are required to pay toll. One of the towers on the eastern side of the river has commenced leaning to the southward; this may prove disastrous to the bridge in time if not remedied. In the flood of 1875, the water touched the bridge, but did no damage. This was five feet above any other known high-water mark.”

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Awesome, thanks for sharing the fruits of your research labor!

          I wouldn’t mind revisiting all of my old road trips to see how things have changed.

        2. pesoto74 Avatar

          It is strange to think of the Kaskaskia as a large river. It has it origin fairly close to where I live and isn’t much more than ten feet across by the time it leaves Champaign County.

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