Richmond’s Historic Wooden Bridge: 2023 Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois

“Benign neglect is an insidious and all-too-common way that communities lose their heritage. Through lack of attention and basic maintenance, irreplaceable history can be lost forever. Richmond’s Historic Wooden Bridge is quietly suffering this fate. Once a popular and beloved landmark, this bridge—and its now-gone twin—formed a practical connection in a frontier community that had been previously divided by a railway. With dedicated attention and upkeep, our hope is that Richmond’s Historic Wooden Bridge will live on for future generations and serve as a gateway project, opening doors and minds to the value and importance of the many historic structures all over the Richmond, Illinois area.”

– Allison Kessel Clark, W.A. McConnell Foundation


George Street, between Main and Charles Streets in Richmond, McHenry County


Around 1850


Richmond Village

(Photo credit:Alex Wiezbicki (IG) ajw_outdoor_photography)


Richmond, also known as the Village of Yesteryear, is a historic town settled in 1837 by pioneer William McConnell. The old wooden bridge is the last survivor of two bridges from Richmond’s frontier past, which connected the halves of Richmond bisected by the railway. The remaining bridge, a longstanding fixture in the community, is integral to Richmond’s identity. It, along with its twin lost in the 1980s, remains part of the town’s logo. Today, Richmond has a rich historic presence with unique shops, numerous original Victorian houses, churches and a thriving Main Street. Restoring the bridge would enhance the village’s historic charm.


(Photo: Richmond Bridges 1982. Credit McHenry County Historical Society)


Richmond’s wooden bridge was closed to traffic in the early 1990s due to poor conditions. This historic landmark has not received proper attention and continues to deteriorate due to lack of maintenance. The bridge needs basic protection and a preservation plan. Without appropriate attention, an official landmark designation and more widespread education on this structure, Richmond’s wooden bridge is a candidate for demolition by neglect.

(Photo credit:Alex Wiezbicki (IG) ajw_outdoor_photography)


This landmark can be revitalized as a designated meeting spot for townspeople and tourists by being repurposed as a safe and attractive pedestrian bridge — as a walking gateway to enjoy a coffee, to rest from the bicycle path below, to take photographs or to meet friends for a walk. The City of Richmond should work with the W.A. McConnell Foundation and provide the necessary resources to address the deferred maintenance to ensure the bridge’s longevity.

(Photo credit:Alex Wiezbicki (IG) ajw_outdoor_photography)


To support the renovation of Richmond’s Wooden Bridge, contact:


(Photo credit:Alex Wiezbicki (IG) ajw_outdoor_photography).

Support our advocacy

Be a voice for the future of our communities by supporting Landmarks Illinois. Our work enhances communities, empowers citizens, promotes local economic development and offers environmentally sound solutions.

Become A Member