Thompson Mill Covered Bridge
A few miles east of Cowden in Shelby County, the Thompson Mill Covered Bridge crosses the Kaskaskia River. It was completed in 1868 at the cost of $2,500, which was a ridiculous amount of money back then and caused much controversy. In 1868 you could buy a nice house and 100 acres of land for $250. This wonderfully restored piece of Illinois history is located on a once important route between Effingham and Springfield. It's named for the owner of a mill that was located near the bridge.
It's the narrowest of all the covered bridges in Illinois, with a width of 10 feet 7 inches. This 105 foot-long Howe truss span is one of only five 19th century covered bridges remaining in Illinois. Covered bridges were constructed with a roof and sidewalls to protect the roadway from weather (not to keep horses from being spooked as many believe). Some say it was designed to keep people from fishing off the bridge, which spooked the horses. This treasure of rural Illinois transportation history is on the National Register of Historic places and, though closed to automobiles, is open to pedestrian traffic.
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