Lyndon Bridge

A Chronology of the Lyndon Bridge
(revised May 2015)

1876 The village of Lyndon petitions the Whiteside County Board to build
a bridge across the Rock River. The petition is denied.

1886 Construction of a bridge with the aid of horses is attempted. Hoped-for
sources of revenue do not materialize and construction is halted.

1891 A special meeting of the Lyndon town council on December 16, 1891,
concerns a petition directed to the supervisor of the township asking him to call a special election. The special election calls for a vote of to collect $10,000 from the Lyndon Township residents to finish the construction of the bridge. Prophetstown Township refuses “…to enter into any joint contract…to build or maintain such
said bridge…”.

A special election is held on January 1892. The vote to build a bridge passes by a 181 – 45 margin.

The Whiteside County Board appoints a bridge committee. The committee meets for the first time in June 1891. Its members are  Charles A. Wetherbee, John Fenton, and DJ Parker.

1892 The Lyndon Bridge Committee meets in February 1892. Bids for construction are sought. R.S. Riser, an engineer, is selected to plan and design the bridge at a cost of $50.00. Riser is paid in full.

1892 The Lyndon Bridge Committee receives eight bids for the construction
in March 1892. Bids range from $16,400 to $19,127. Keefer & Wyncoop’s bid of $16,400 is accepted. The chosen architectural style is a Parker Pratt Through Truss. The committee continues to meet after the contract is awarded to decide on various aspects of construction.

1892 Prophetstown Township agrees to share bridge construction costs o with Lyndon Township in August 1892.

1894 The Lyndon Bridge Committee employs Adam Manning to watch the bridge’s
Construction in July 1894. Mr. Manning is paid $1.50 a day, earning slightly more
than $56.00.The construction of the bridge is completed in late 1894 for a total cost
of $19,606. The village of Lyndon pays one-half of the expenses. Whiteside County is
liable for one-half of the expenses. Said orders are due March 1895.

1906 Whiteside County officials make alterations to the bridge. Originally
built to support wagon traffic, automobiles and tractors
necessitate such improvements. Original wood stringers are replaced
with 7 – inch steel I-beams. A new wood deck is laid. Steel lattice rails
are added.

1912 Whiteside County adds another span to the bridge lifting the bridge out
of and over the flood plain at the south entrance of the bridge.

1920 The wooden deck is repaired. The bridge is repainted, making 1920 the
last time the bridge is painted.

1939 The south pier begins to settle into the riverbed. Concrete pilings are
deteriorating as well as some of the concrete inside the pier’s steel
casing. Dilapidated concrete is replaced and new concrete footings are poured.

1968 The abutment on the south end of the bridge is repaired and a new
deck is installed for a cost of $6,800.

1976 The deck is replaced for a cost of $4,500.

1980 The Lyndon Bridge is deemed unsafe by the Whiteside County Engineers. On June 30, 1980 the Lyndon Bridge is closed to all vehicular and pedestrian traffic. Iron beams are welded across the bridge. Sand
is piled in front of both north and south approaches to prevent unsuspecting traffic from running into the beams.

1980 – 1995 The Lyndon Bridge sits unattended for the next 15 years.

1995 The Whiteside County Highway Department decides to demolish the
Lyndon Bridge. A grass-roots effort of Lyndon residents organizes a “Save Our Bridge” campaign.

1996 Steel mesh is placed over both north and south entrances. Cement abutments stop all access to the bridge in July 1996.

1996 A petition signed by 300 Lyndon residents (population 600) to save the
Lyndon Bridge is submitted to the Lyndon Village Board of Trustees
on July 10, 1996.

1996 Lyndon Village Board votes (October 1996) to annex the Lyndon Bridge to village,
clearing the path for further actions to save the bridge.

1997 The Lyndon Village Board of Trustees has the Lyndon Bridge inspected. It is deemed safe for pedestrian use only. The abutments at the north end are rebuilt. Several stringers are replaced. Rotted deck planks are removed and replaced as finances become available.
1997 In September, the Lyndon Bridge is dedicated. Over 400 attendees witness the ribbon cutting.
The Lyndon Loyal Leaders 4-H Club serves lunch. Kids’ games and entertainment are provided.

1998 The village of Lyndon receives the title to the bridge. Whiteside County
maps show the bridge as “abandoned”.
2002 The Lyndon Village Board of Trustees are notified that the state of
Illinois has approved a grant request in the amount of $35,000
dedicated to bridge repairs and enhancements.

2002 Fred Steele spearheads the application to the National Register of Historic Places under Criterion C “Design and Construction”. The Lyndon Bridge is the only remaining Parker Pratt Through Truss bridge in Whiteside County, IL.Lyndon Bridge preservation is promoted through the sale of planks and plaques.

2003 The Lyndon Bridge is placed on the National Register of Historic Places on May 9, 2003.

2003 Block planters are constructed at the north entrance to the bridge. A shelter is built
on the property west of the north entrance. Park benches are installed. North
entrance is paved and landscaped.

2013 The Lyndon Bridge becomes part of the Rock River Trail Initiative. A sign is installed
at the north entrance marking the trail.

2014 The Lyndon Area Historical Society and the Village of Lyndon partner to host the 1st Annual Bridge Bash Celebration on October 5, 2014. Kids’ Games, a Cake Walk, food, 50/50 drawing, raffles, and entertainment are part of the celebration. A professional photographer provides family photo opportunities.

2015 The Village of Lyndon review and renews its bridge maintenance policy.