LGHS PRESS RELEASE
July 13, 2020
Community Raises $53,496.98 to Help Restore Long Grove Covered Bridge
LONG GROVE – July 13, 2020 – With restoration of Long Grove’s Iconic Covered Bridge nearing
completion, the Long Grove Historical Society will present a check to the Village of Long Grove on
Wednesday, July 15th. The check represents the proceeds of efforts by Long Grove area residents and
businesses to see the National Historic Register Bridge restored. The Historical Society
established the Covered Bridge Fund with a gift of $1000 in March of 2017, as a response to
community desires to advocate for restoration.
The Historical Society, together with the Historic Downtown Long Grove Business Association, had
advocated for preserving the 1906 structure and was successful in getting it listed on the National
Register of Historic Places in June 2018. While restoration discussions were underway, only days
after being placed on the National Register, the bridge was severely damaged by a large truck.
Concerned with losing something so integral to the town’s historic charm, local residents rallied
to raise awareness and money. Grass roots efforts from local businesses and individual residents
included cash contributions, lemonade stands, art and craft sales, donation jars, and online
donation drives. A Long Grove artist donated an original water color of the bridge for a raffle.
Downtown merchants donated proceeds from one of their festivals towards the effort. A local trust
donated a portion of their annual endowment to the fund.
Long Grove Historical Society President Angie Underwood observed, “This donation is an example of
the good we can accomplish when we all work together. The Historical Society provided the spark,
but it took many caring individuals and groups to collaborate to raise these funds. The community
support behind our newly restored covered bridge represents the best kind of small town passion.’’
Society President Underwood will present the check for $53,496.98 to Long Grove Village President,
Bill Jacob, at the Long Grove Historical Society Farmhouse at 5:30pm on July 15. The Farmhouse is
located on Historical Lane in the Stempel Parking Lot.
The Long Grove Historical Society is a 501C3 charitable organization dedicated to the preservation
and dissemination of Long Grove area history.
Campaign brings in nearly $53,500 for Long Grove bridge renovation (by Bob Susnjara)
Private fundraising through lemonade stands, donation jars, large contributions and other means resulted in a hefty check for Long Grove to help pay for restoration of a 114-year-old bridge that’s on the National Register of Historic Places.
Long Grove Historical Society President Angie Underwood presented Village President Bill Jacob with a check for $53,496.98 at a gathering under a tent Wednesday adjacent to Buffalo Creek Brewing. The nonprofit historical society started a covered bridge fundraising campaign with a $1,000 donation in March 2017,
“Our downtown looks fantastic and I can’t wait for that bridge to open up,” Jacob said in thanking the historical society for the donation.
The Robert Parker Coffin Road bridge in the village’s downtown was lowered back into place over Buffalo Creek after part of the renovations were completed last month. It awaits its signature wooden cover before making a full comeback — possibly by Aug. 14 — from damage caused by a truck crash two years ago.
Crews removed the historic bridge in March and placed it on a flatbed truck parked off Coffin Road to accommodate concrete abutment replacement and a painting of the span. A steel skeleton has been installed on the bridge and is supporting the start of the wooden cover
Two weeks after becoming a national landmark, the one-lane covered bridge was hit by a box truck on June 27, 2018. It was closed to vehicular and pedestrian traffic for more than two months as a result.
Long Grove officials were considering a bridge renovation well before the crash, but officials voiced financial concerns. That led to the historical society’s fundraising drive involving Long Grove-area businesses, residents and others who were passionate about saving the 114-year-old bridge.
Underwood, a former Long Grove village president, said the largest donation came from a former Barrington resident’s family foundation. Underwood said the woman, now living on the East Coast, donated to the bridge fund to honor many great childhood memories of visiting Long Grove with her grandmother.
“We had kids have lemonade stands,” she said. “We had merchants have lemonade stands. Merchants put ‘Pennies for the Bridge’ jars out at their stores. We had Scout troops make donations. Kids in middle school sold cookie dough to do a fundraiser for the bridge. We had an artist, Tony Stencel, paint an original watercolor of the bridge and we sold hundreds and hundreds of raffle tickets and that resulted in quite a bit of donations for us, too.”
Jacob said the village’s out-of-pocket cost should be $589,000 for the bridge work. However, a $250,000 state grant, about $195,000 from an insurance claim related to the crash and the roughly $53,500 historical society donation will be pooled to cover the rest of the tab.
Constructed in 1906 by the Joliet Bridge and Iron Co., the span is a rare surviving example of a pin-connected pony truss bridge built for an urban setting, according to documents submitted for the national landmark process.
The cover was added in 1972 to help preserve the bridge and limit traffic from trucks and other heavy vehicles.
Reconstruction of Long Grove’s historic covered bridge, damaged by a truck in 2018, is almost complete
(By Emily K. Coleman)
Two years after a delivery truck severely damaged Long Grove’s iconic covered bridge, a steel-reinforced reconstruction is nearing completion.
The project, which carries a total price tag of about $1 million between engineering and the actual construction, is on track to be completely wrapped up by Aug. 14, Village President Bill Jacob said. Crews are installing the roof rafters this week.
The work is in the “homestretch,” Jacob said, adding that he will be excited to see the completed bridge along with all the other work that has been done in the village’s historic downtown.
The Long Grove Historical Society donated about $53,000 to the village Wednesday to help cover the restoration, said Angie Underwood, the historical society’s president. The money, donated by Long Grove-area residents and businesses, was collected starting in March 2017, an effort designed to show the community’s desire to see the bridge restored.
The fundraising drive included lemonade stands, art and craft sales, donation jars and online donation drives, along with a Long Grove artist providing an original water color of the bridge for a raffle, downtown merchants dedicating the proceeds from one of their festivals toward the effort and a local trust allocating a portion of its annual endowment, according to a news release.
“This donation is an example of the good we can accomplish when we all work together,” Underwood said. “The Historical Society provided the spark, but it took many caring individuals and groups to collaborate to raise these funds. The community support behind our newly restored covered bridge represents the best kind of small town passion.”
The village also received a $250,000 state grant to help cover the project’s cost, and about $190,000 in insurance reimbursement, Jacob said.
The cost to the village likely wouldn’t have been as high had the village pursued federal dollars and replaced it with a two-lane bridge, but that would have meant losing the iconic one-lane, covered bridge for which the village is known.
“It is our logo,” Jacob said. “It’s part of our town. The fact that we were able to save this is really good for the town, and the community and our future. It’s keeping the history of our downtown.”
The bridge, which dates back to 1906, had been listed on the National Register of Historic Places in June 2018, just 16 days before a box truck plowed into it, severely damaging the structure.
The situation ended up working out, Jacob said. Repairs would have been necessary at some point — perhaps about 10 years down the road — but with the covering needing to be replaced anyways, the village made the decision to renovate the entire bridge.
“Everything aligned,” Jacob said. “A bad situation turned out to be a good situation.”