It had been a delightful day filled with a plethora of Route 66 adventures, and we only had time for one last stop before winding down for the night. MaMa’s map had many interesting and fun sounding stops on it, and it was difficult to choose where to go, since we’d have to leave so many places unseen (for now).
Since we’d already had a lot of excitement that day, we decided we were ready for a quiet walk in nature, and thought the Sugar Creek covered bridge, just about a mile off the Mother Road in Glenarm, Ill. showed some promise.
The bridge is one of only five remaining covered bridges in Illinois and the oldest of them all. There is some discrepancy as to whether it was originally constructed in 1827 or 1880, but either way, it is REALLY old, and has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1978. The Illinois Department of Transportation rehabilitated the structure in 1965, and it has been closed to vehicular traffic since 1984. It is now part of a local park and open to foot traffic only. There are some trails adjacent to the bridge, so it was a perfect place for us to stop.
Once we arrived at the park and began walking towards the bridge, we knew we had made the right choice for our final stop of the day. There was nobody else there, the sun was beginning its rapid descent and giving off a gorgeous glow behind the trees, and the park had a quiet peacefulness that we were all yearning for, after such a hectic (but super fun) day.
Walking up to and through the covered bridge, you could feel the history of it palpitating from the walls, the roof and the ground beneath, as if it were a living & breathing thing. I felt as if I could smell the past and all of the people and pooches who had been through there before me. If only those walls could talk! I wouldn’t be able to understand them, but it would still be pretty cool!
Sugar Creek which is traversed by the bridge, is a tributary of the Sangamon River and eventually discharges into Lake Springfield. The area surrounding it was settled shortly after the War of 1812 because of its fertile prairie ground and for being one of the southernmost habitats for Sugar Maple trees in Illinois.
The fertility of the area is evident today, as the park and nearby trails were full of trees and offered us a beautiful place to walk around and explore. It was a perfect final stop to a near perfect day (sorry Funks Grove) on historic Route 66.