Daniel Overturf and Gary Mark’s ‘A River Through Illinois’

One of the oddest accessories in my home is an oblong stone a little smaller than the average bowling ball. With its pock marked surface and jagged edges, it leaves something to be desired aesthetically, but it has sentimental value and a good story: My grandma retrieved it from a debris field near the site of the recently imploded five-span through-truss bridge located in my hometown Morris, Illinois. When I heard gram was planning to be at the big implosion, I asked her to try to find a piece of the bridge’s green metal frame. Unfortunately the steel segments were massive and weighed tons, so gram improvised and made off with a piece of the concrete foundation. And I love it. A few weeks ago, I was in O’Hare Airport’s international terminal admiring gorgeous photos of bridges, part of an exhibition of photographer Daniel Overturf and writer Gary Mark’s book A River Through Illinois, and I was surprised to see photos of the Morris bridge’s 2003 implosion. I was pretty bummed about losing such a gorgeous old bridge. It had character. On the other hand, crossing the narrow, two-lane bridge was at best a harrowing experience, and the new boring one is much safer. So it’s probably best that the original’s but a fond memory. What do you think?

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