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200 North Main St | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428

Collection Description

The Camelback Bridge is located in the northeast quarter of Section 33, Township 24 North, Range 2 East, Third Principal Meridian. It is also known as the Virginia Avenue Bridge, and is over the Town of Normal Constitution Trail (formerly the Illinois Central Gulf Railroad) between Broadway and Linden Street, in McLean County, Illinois. Virginia Avenue was originally called Sill Street.

A bridge appears on this site in the 1895 McLean County Atlas. A September 13, 1904 Pantagraph article claims that a bridge has been at this location since the railroad was first built through the area in 1856, but this is unlikely.

The current bridge is a King Post pony truss with timber stringer approach spans built in 1906. It is supported with Phoenix columns which are assemblies of four rolled quarter-round shapes of wrought iron patented in 1862 by the Phoenix Bridge Company of Phoenixville, Pennsylvania. It is an eight span structure with the center two spans supported by a timber floor beam connected to the two timber trusses, and six simply supported spans, three on each side of the truss spans. The timber deck was replaced in 1991 and closed for renovation in 1999. It reopened September 17, 2001. The only original features to remain are the Phoenix columns and the Kingpost trusses. It entered the list of National Register of Historic Places in June 1997. The renovated bridge is about six inches shorter than its predecessor and is more curved. It is also wider; twenty-four feet as opposed to the former sixteen feet with a four foot sidewalk on the north side.

The Camelback Bridge Collection contains mostly photocopied materials from 1902 to 2001. Items in the collection include the National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, newspaper clippings, book chapters, deed of ownership, color photos, black and white photos, line drawings, meeting minutes, and correspondence.


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