and the grounds of the historic estate. Located 20 miles north of Springfield,
the single-arch bridge is a unique visual feature along a scenic stretch
of roadway. Over the years, family members and local residents have made
efforts to maintain the bridge, which shows only minimal signs of wear.
Despite its historic association, the 90-year-old bridge is not protected
by local landmark designation.
After its inclusion on
Landmarks Illinois’ Ten Most list, the bridge and the adjacent
cemetery and chapel were determined eligible by the Illinois Historic
Preservation Agency (IHPA) for listing in the National Register of
Historic Places. Meetings between IHPA, the county roads division,
Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT) and Representative Rich
Brauer (R-100) resulted in an understanding that the county can not
demolish the bridge without permission from IDOT or IHPA, and both
agencies are committed to its preservation. IDOT agreed to seek a variance
relative to current codes on road width and IHPA will continue to work
with locals toward finalizing National Register listing for the bridge,
which will make it eligible in the future for federal preservation funds.
For more information on the Gillette Memorial Arch, contact Gillette Ransom,
Elkhart Historical Society, P.O. Box 255, Elkhart, IL 62634 (217)