Visitors Guide to
Joe Page Bridge
crossing the Illinois River at Hardin,
The Great River Road (Highway 100) crosses the
Illinois River at Hardin. Linking Calhoun and Greene Counties is the vertical
lift Joe Page Bridge with a lift span of 308 feet 9 inches long. A vertical lift bridge uses a system of
counterweights and cables to raise an inner section. This section
remains horizontal as it is raised upward, allowing river traffic to pass
beneath the bridge. The lift is operated by by two 50-horsepower motors and is equipped
with a gasoline engine in case of emergency. Approximately five million pounds
of steel and 9,000 cubic yards of concrete were used in its construction. At
1,728 feet in length it is the longest bridge in Illinois.
Dedicated on July 23, 1931, the bridge is named
after Joseph M. Page (1845-1938). Page served in the
Union Army during the Civil War and settled in Jerseyville after that conflict.
He began working for a builder/architect named Embley and designed many of the
ornamental staircases and much of the fine woodwork that adorned many of the
fine homes in Jerseyville, including the Cheney Mansion. Joe Page was involved
in politics and served five times as Mayor of Jerseyville. Besides being
responsible for the construction of the bridge that is named in his honor, he
was instrumental in the creation of Pere Marquette State Park, in the
establishing the area's water and electric light plants, and in bringing
telephone service into Jerseyville. Joe Page also served as editor of the Jersey
County Democrat newspaper for 58 years. Joe Page was loved by all the children
in the area, who called him "Uncle Joe," and he used to rent out the
old Orpheum Theater in Jerseyville on his birthday and give out free passes to
the children for an afternoon of cartoons and a main feature.
more about the Hardin area.