The area near the crossing of County Road 15 over the Illinois River in Marseilles has a long and interesting history.
In 1865, a group of early settlers Roderick Clark, O.W. Young, and Isaac Underhill constructed a bridge over the Illinois River in an area that was known as Marseilles. Construction costs were $40,000. The bridge suffered severe ice damage in 1866. Undeterred, this group rebuilt a more substantial bridge.
In 1885, a new iron bridge was built at the site. There were stone abutments. The contractor was a man named Barber. The bridge stood until 1933.
In 1933, a new bridge on County Road 15 was built. This bridge was also known as the Clark Adam Bridge. It was a lost type bridge over both the Illinois River and and the Illinois Waterway Lock Canal. There were 4 truss spans and 9 approach spans. Total length was 1,369.5 feet. Width of the bridge was 17.8 feet. This bridge was torn down in the period between 1997–1998.
The current bridge was built around 1997–1998. Like its predecessor, it crosses the river and the waterway lock canal. The bridge type is steel plate girder, concrete deck. An unusual feature is that the bridge has only one lane in each direction. This unusual for a rural area in which large farm equipment has to be moved. Its length is 1,661 feet. Width is 30 feet. There are sidewalks and guard rails.
Adjacent to the bridge are the Marseilles dam and lock–part of the Illinois Waterway. The old Nabisco box plant still stands in the area. It was powered by hydroelectric. The Marseilles Hydroelectric Plant still stands. It was originally constructed to provide power for the Illinois Valley electric trains. It now stands unused.
Please note unless otherwise noted all photos and text is copywrighted.