Visitors Guide to
Mary's River Covered Bridge

On IL-150 between Chester and Bremen
Randolph County, Illinois

Accessible Parking Accessible Picnic Facilities Accessible Illinois Historic Site Accessible Restrooms

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In the mid-19th century the town of Chester was an important trading post on the Mississippi River. Marketable products such as corn, wheat, and lumber were transported to Chester by wagons and ox carts to be loaded into boats for shipment up and down the river. In order to facilitate this trade a toll road was built by a Mr. Hartman between Chester and Bremen, a village six miles to the northeast of Chester. Hartman charged a fee to users of the road who were traveling west. The type of road Hartman built was a plank road, where all the low and swampy places along the route were floored with heavy planks to make them easily crossable. The biggest natural obstacle on the route between Chester and Bremen was the Mary’s River and Hartman had a bridge constructed to enable travelers to cross this river.

Completed in 1854, the bridge is 86 feet long, 17 feet 8 inches wide, and has a vertical clearance of 12 feet. The bridge was constructed using native white oak timber, hand hewn throughout, and used the Burr Arch design with double arches on either side of King posts. The structure rests on its original stone abutments and with the exception of the floor, floor joists, roof, and siding, all of the original timber remains.

The bridge was in continuous service from 1854 to 1930. In 1936 the bridge was acquired by the State of Illinois for purposes of preservation and a picnic area. Currently undergoing preservation work, The Mary’s River Covered Bridge is the only remaining covered bridge in Southern Illinois and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Visiting the Mary's River Covered Bridge
There is no charge to visit the Mary's River Covered Bridge.


Directions: Mary’s River Covered Bridge is located northeast of Chester on IL-150 (4.2 miles from junction with IL-3 in Chester) The bridge is located in a small roadside park on the south side of the road.

GPS Coordinates
N  37°  56.885'
W 89°  45.974'

Learn more about the Randolph County area.

 
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