Mary's River Covered Bridge

The Covered Bridge was built in 1854 by Wilhelm Misselhorn from Germany. The bridge is built of hand-hewn native white oak on stone piers.  The style of truss used, called a Burr Truss or King Post arch, was patented in 1817 and has been preserved.

The bridge is 86 feet long and 17 feet 8 inches wide with a vertical clearance of 12 feet.

The roadway that crossed the bridge was in part a planked road made by crossing 8 foot long planks which were 3 inches thick by 8 - 12 inches wide over stringers flush with the ground.  This road was built by Mr. Hartman and was operated as a toll road between Chester and Bremen from 1854 to 1872 so farmers could bring corn, wheat, and lumber to Chester, a significant port on the Mississippi.  A two horse wagon paid 20 cents.  Additional animals were 5 cents each.  One horse with a man was 5 cents.  One hog or one sheep was 2 cents each.  One cent each for large groups of animals.

The bridge was in continuous service from 1854 to 1930.  

In 1872 the bridge was sold to Randolph County for $2000.

In 1936 it was acquired by the State of Illinois and has been restored with a park nearby.  The latest restoration included raising the bridge above the 50 year flood level and occurred in 2004.

This is the only remaining covered bridge in Southern Illinois and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.


It was in continuous service from 1854 to 1930 and renovated by the State in 2005. It has a 90-foot span and constructed as part of a toll road between Bremen and Chester; the original timber from native white oak timbers in a Burr arch design has been preserved. It is the only bridge of its kind left in Southern Illinois.

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Latitude: 37.924222 Longitude: -89.807093 Elevation: 516 ft
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Patti Carter

Hours Open

Outdoor Park

Seasons Open


Visitor Fees


Accessibility Notes

The bridge is located in a small roadside park. There is a gravel driveway and walkway to the bridge.  

Pet Friendly Notes

There is a grassy area for walking pets.

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