Peoria Bridge Company
The Illinois General Assembly incorporated the Peoria Bridge Company in February 1835, to build a bridge across the Illinois River at or near the outlet of Peoria Lake. Capitalized at $50,000, the company had four years to erect the bridge. Sales of company stock lagged, and in July 1837, the General Assembly extended the corporate powers of the town of Peoria to allow the board of trustees to borrow up to $50,ooo to be vested in company stock. The General Assembly also extended the deadline for completion by two years. The company had sold at least half of its stock by 1838 and was near ready to begin construction. The financial crisis resulting from the Panic of 1837 scuttled the company's plans, and the bridge envisioned was not erected. In March 1845, the General Assembly authorized William L. May and his associates to complete the bridge. Two years later, Peoria civic leaders established the Peoria Bridge Association for the purpose of building the bridge. Construction began in May 1848. Ice carried away part of the bridge in the spring of 1849, but the association rebuilt, and the bridge was completed in November 1849 at a cost of $33,000.
An Act to Incorporate the Peoria Bridge Company; An Act to Amend an Act, entitled "An Act to Extend the Corporate Powers of the Town of Peoria," Approved February 21, 1837; “An Act to Authorize the Construction of a Toll Bridge Across the Illinois River,” 3 March 1845, Laws of Illinois (1845), 237-38; Newton Bateman and Paul Selby eds., Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Peoria County, ed. by David McCulloch (Chicago and Peoria: Munsell, 1902), 2:265; The History of Peoria County Illinois (Chicago: Johnson, 1880), 571-72.