Help us save the 'Old Bernadotte Bridge' & Dam

Donate by Check:

Make all checks payable to:

Bernadotte Historical Society Inc.

Mail to: PO Box 314 Ipava, IL 61441

Alert! Due to Covid-19. The Spoon River Valley Scenic Drive Fall Festival 2020 may be cancelled if the state of Illinois doesn't meet step five of its five step plan to reopen the state fully.

Bernadotte is known for many other historical facilities besides the 100 year old, Iron Pratt Truss Bridge, such as the historic Grist Mill site where the Bernadotte Public Park and Dam are now located. Bernadotte has the distinction of having once been considered as the site for the capital of Illinois, prior to the capital being located at Vandalia in 1820. Vandalia was selected over Bernadotte by the difference of one vote in the state legislature. In addition, remnants of the World War II Camp Ellis Prisoner of War Camp water supply still remain next to the Bernadotte Dam. The huge concrete wall known as the Camp Ellis Firing Range still remains on the hilltop above Bernadotte on Rifle Range Road. The area is also known as part of the historic-Indian Woodlands Period. Artifacts are consistently found throughout the Spoon River Valley near Bernadotte.

The historic Spoon River Bridge is a national historic site currently being recognized, by Landmarks-Illinois, as one of the Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois. It is number six in the top ten list of endangered places in Illinois. In the past, Bernadotte Bridge has served as a pedestrian connector during the popular Spoon River Drive, which draws thousands of tourists every October and contributes greatly to the county's economy. The bridge area is also well-known for its popular and successful fishing throughout three seasons of the year.

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