Pontiac has three unique swinging bridges for pedestrian traffic. All three bridges cross the Vermilion River. Although the wooden walkways on the bridges have been replaced many times, the ironwork on the bridges is original. Flooding has damaged the bridges often in the past, but the City always rebuilds them and makes them safe for pedestrians.
The oldest bridge was built in July 1898 by Joliet Bridge Company and spans the Vermilion River from Riverside Drive to Play Park. Anchored by a concrete and iron structure, 190 feet long and 4 feet wide and supported by cables swung from masonry piers, the bridge was originally constructed to allow workers who lived on the south side of Pontiac to get to the shoe factories on the north side quickly, and with minimal effort. The current bridge has a wooden walkway.
Play Park to Chautauqua Park
The second bridge spans the river and allows pedestrians to cross from Play Park to Chautauqua Park. It was built in 1926. This bridge served two very useful purposes: It was used by people to get easily to what was then called Riverside Park to attend a Chautauqua assembly. This bridge, for many years, also served thousands of young children as the quickest way to get from the south side of Pontiac to the City's Camp-Humiston swimming pool that opened in 1925.
Swinging Bridge in 1957 Flood
The third bridge was built in 1978. It was engineered by Illinois Contractors, Inc. This third bridge is located in Humiston-Riverside Park at the same site as an old Bloomington, Pontiac & Joliet Electric Railway bridge over the Vermilion River.