Save The Truss Bridge in Carpentersville, Illinois

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Old Steel Train Truss of 1879

This petition was started to hopfully convince Otto Engineering to explore ways to save this Truss and to show the company the support of the people.

  • Otto Engineering owns a very historic train bridge that has fallen in disrepair. (Ownership of this bridge is being disputed, I am currently finding the documents that will confirm who owns this bridge)
  • This bridge was built in 1879 and the Steel Truss is one of only three known in existence.
  • The bridge has fallen in disrepair, but the Historic Truss may still be saved.
  • This Truss may be the oldest known Steel Train Truss of this design in the state of Illinois.


The truss is a Quadrangular Lattice Through Truss, which became popular in the 1880s. The design died out after about 1900, when American Bridge Company took over much of the production of railroad bridges in the nation. The Quadrangular design was immensely popular with the Chicago & North Western (CNW) and the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific (RI). The chief engineer for the CNW through the 1890s and 1900s, up until about 1912 swore by the design.

However, this truss is one of the earliest examples of the Quadrangular Design. The only other existing Leighton product of this design is the 1880 bridge in New Ulm, Minnesota. In terms of railroad trusses, THIS IS ONE OF THE OLDEST IN ILLINOIS AND THE MIDWEST..

Leighton Bridge and Iron Works was founded by Thomas Leighton in the 1860s. He designed iron railroad bridges as the railroads began to expand. He eventually sold the company in 1881 and it became the Rochester Bridge & Iron Works. He built about 120 bridges, although only three are still known to exist. The Redstone Bridge in New Ulm, the Northwestern High Bridge in Eau Claire (preserved) and this bridge. Two other bridges were known to have been built in Wisconsin by Leighton, but were replaced.

UPDATE: It appears that the Truss was erected at this location in 1924, using an older 1879 Truss originally located near Glen, Nebraska. The Truss may have originally been built as a crossing of the Baraboo River in Wisconsin, and relocated to NE in 1899, when the line through Wisconsin was rebuilt. This information comes from construction blueprints of the Truss a colleague of mine came across.


This bridge must be preserved and may even qualify to be added to the list of National Historic Places. If it does, then it could qualify to recieve grant federal grant funding to help with preservation.



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