Sag Bridge, Illinois

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Sag Bridge
Populated place
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Sag Bridge
Location of Sag Bridge within Illinois
Coordinates: 41°41′45″N87°56′10″W / 41.69583°N 87.93611°W / 41.69583; -87.93611 Coordinates: 41°41′45″N87°56′10″W / 41.69583°N 87.93611°W / 41.69583; -87.93611
CountryUnited States
County Cook
623 ft (190 m)
Time zone UTC-6 (CST)
  Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
Postal code
Area code(s) 708

Sag Bridge, Illinois is a populated place in southwestern Cook County, Illinois. [1] Sag Bridge is an important waterway junction between the Calumet Sag Channel and the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. It is also the junction of IL 83 (Kingery Highway) and IL 171 (Archer Avenue) which meet at Sag Bridge to cross the Calumet Sag Channel together on the eponymous bridge. The community was named for a predecessor of the present bridge. It is within the village limits and postal delivery zone of Lemont, Illinois.


Other than the bridge for which it was named and the canal that the bridge crosses, the most significant feature of the community is the historic St. James at Sag Bridge Catholic Church, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.


Lake Chicago.JPG

Sag Bridge exists at a significant geophysical point, at the confluence of the Sag Outlet and DesPlaines Outlet from historic Lake Chicago, which joined at this point to form the Chicago Outlet River and eventually flow into the Illinois River and the Mississippi River. Those two outlets isolated a portion of the Valparaiso Moraine called Mount Forest Island, much of which has been preserved in its natural state as the Palos Division [2] of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.

Later, several Native American trails passed through the area, including the ancient trail that evolved into modern Archer Avenue (Illinois Route 171).

The high bluff of Mount Forest Island overlooking this critical location has served as a lookout for centuries. The French fort on the site was visited by Father Jacques Marquette on his journeys on the Des Plaines River several times in 1673. [3]

The community was settled by workers building the Illinois and Michigan Canal, who established their historic church in 1833. Rock quarries developed there in the mid-19th century due to the combination of an abundant supply of quality stone, and convenient transportation on the nearby canal. Though the quarries themselves no longer operate, businesses selling stone products continue in the Sag Bridge area today. [4]

Nothing remains of the original bridge at Sag Bridge, except for an isolated remnant of Old Archer Avenue leading to the south bank of its former site, which today provides access for fishing and hiking in the Sag Quarries [5] area of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County.

On March 27, 1991, a tornado caused significant damage to Lemont and Sag Bridge, including the historic St. James Church and cemetery. [6]

The Bridge at Sag Bridge

The most recent bridge at Sag Bridge was built in 1934, and carries both IL 83 and IL 171 across the Calumet Sag Channel. This classic, 4-lane Pennsylvania through truss bridge is still structurally sound today, however it is rated "Functionally obsolete" due to growing traffic volumes, especially at the congested awkward 5-way signalized intersection just north of the bridge where routes 83 and 171 diverge. [7]

See also

Related Research Articles

Illinois and Michigan Canal United States historic place

The Illinois and Michigan Canal connected the Great Lakes to the Mississippi River and the Gulf of Mexico. In Illinois, it ran 96 miles (154 km) from the Chicago River in Bridgeport, Chicago to the Illinois River at LaSalle-Peru. The canal crossed the Chicago Portage, and helped establish Chicago as the transportation hub of the United States, before the railroad era. It was opened in 1848. Its function was largely replaced by the wider and shorter Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal in 1900, and it ceased transportation operations with the completion of the Illinois Waterway in 1933.

Cook County, Illinois County in Illinois

Cook County is the most populous county in the U.S. state of Illinois and the second-most-populous county in the United States after Los Angeles County, California. As of 2019, the population was 5,150,233. Its county seat is Chicago, the most populous city in Illinois and the third-most-populous city in the United States. More than 40% of all residents of Illinois live in Cook County.

Lemont, Illinois Village in Illinois, United States

Lemont is a village located in Cook, DuPage, and Will counties in the U.S. state of Illinois, and is a suburb of Chicago. The population was 16,000 as of the 2010 census. Lemont is home to Argonne National Laboratory and other heavy industrial sites, and has a substantial European immigrant population.

Calumet River

The Calumet River is a system of heavily industrialized rivers and canals in the region between the south side of Chicago, Illinois, and the city of Gary, Indiana. Historically, the Little Calumet River and the Grand Calumet River were one, the former flowing west from Indiana into Illinois, then turning back east to its mouth at Lake Michigan at Marquette Park in Gary.

Illinois Route 50 (IL 50) is a 66.49-mile-long (107.01 km) north–south state road in northeastern Illinois. It runs from the junction with U.S. Route 45 (US 45) in West Kankakee north to US 41 in Skokie. In Chicago and the suburbs it's known as Cicero Avenue. Before this, Cicero Avenue was previously known as 48th Avenue, owing to its City of Chicago address of 4800 West.

Illinois Route 171 (IL 171) is a 38.61-mile-long (62.14 km) north–south state road in northeastern Illinois. It runs from U.S. Route 6 (US 6) in Joliet north to Illinois Route 72 at the Chicago–Park Ridge border. The section of IL 171 on Archer Avenue from Joliet to Summit is historically significant, originating as a Native American trail, and later serving for a time as part of the first numbered highway between St. Louis and Chicago.

Chicago Portage

The Chicago Portage was an ancient portage that connected the Great Lakes waterway system with the Mississippi River waterway system. Connecting these two great water trails meant easy access from the mouth of the St Lawrence River on the Atlantic Ocean to the Rocky Mountains, and the Gulf of Mexico. It had been used by Native Americans for thousands of years during the Pre-Columbian era for travel and trade.

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Northwest Indiana

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Lake Chicago

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Forest Preserve District of Cook County

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Red Gate Woods is a forest preserve section within the Palos Division of the Forest Preserve District of Cook County, Illinois. It is located near where the Cal-Sag Channel meets the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal. In the woods is the original site of Argonne National Laboratory and the Site A/Plot M Disposal Site, which contains the buried remains of Chicago Pile-1, the world's first artificial nuclear reactor.

Lemont Township, Cook County, Illinois Township in Illinois, United States

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The Chicago and Joliet Electric Railway, or C&JE, was an electric interurban railway linking the cities of Chicago and Joliet, Illinois. It was the only interurban between those cities and provided a link between the streetcar network of Chicago and the cities along the Des Plaines River Valley in north central Illinois, which were served by the Illinois Valley Division of the Illinois Traction System.

Valparaiso Moraine

The Valparaiso Moraine is a recessional moraine that forms an immense U around the Lake Michigan basin in North America. It is a band of high, hilly terrain made up of glacial till and sand. It begins near the border of Wisconsin and Illinois and extends south through Lake, McHenry, Cook, DuPage and Will counties in Illinois, and then turns southeast, entering Indiana. From this point, the moraine curves northeast through Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties of Indiana into Michigan. It continues into Michigan as far as Montcalm County.

Thorn Creek is a 20.8-mile-long (33.5 km) tributary of the Little Calumet River that travels through Will and Cook counties in northeastern Illinois just south of Chicago. It starts in the high land of the Valparaiso Moraine before dropping 200 feet (60 m) to the lower elevations of the Little Calumet River valley. Along its path it has cut many deep ravines and valleys. It is usually quite narrow, though the width of the river varies. Under 26th Street in Chicago Heights, a dam built in 1928 forms Sauk Lake, but just north of the street it is just a few feet across. This dam creates an accumulation of several feet of silt in Sauk Lake and is being considered for Notching in 2016 by the Corps of Engineers. The intent is to 'improve stream habitat'. The impact upon Ground Water Recharge, mitigation of Thorn Creek's 'flashiness' and future recreational activities are also concerns of Water-Shed Stakeholders.

Calumet Shoreline

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St. James Catholic Church and Cemetery (Lemont, Illinois) United States historic place

St. James Catholic Church and Cemetery, also known as St. James at Sag Bridge Church is a historic church and cemetery in the Sag Bridge area of the village of Lemont, Illinois. It is situated on a high bluff at the western tip of the glacier-carved Mount Forest Island, overlooking the Calumet Sag Channel and the community of Sag Bridge.

Horace Meach Singer was an American businessman and politician from New York. Coming with his father to Lockport, Illinois work on the Illinois & Michigan Canal, Singer rose to become superintendent of repairs. In the course of his work, he came across a large quarry near Lemont, Illinois and established a company to mine it. Singer & Talcott was in operation until 1889. In 1866, Singer served a term in the Illinois House of Representatives, then was elected to the Cook County Board of Commissioners in the 1870s.


  1. USGS description of Sag Bridge, Illinois, retrieved 2012-09-02
  2. Region 6 Map of Natural Areas & Activities (PDF) (Map). Forest Preserve District of Cook County. Archived from the original (PDF) on October 21, 2012. Retrieved May 26, 2012.
  3. Staff. "Parish History". Historic St. James at Sag Bridge. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
  4. "Chicago Brick and Stone Company" . Retrieved 2012-09-16.
  5. Region 7 Map of Natural Areas & Activities (PDF) (Map). Forest Preserve District of Cook County . Retrieved 2012-09-16.
  6. "March 27, 1991 TORNADO". Lemont Area Historical Society and Museum. Retrieved 2012-09-16.
  7. Illinois Department of Transportation. "Bridge Information: Structure Number 160427". Archived from the original on 2014-01-16. Retrieved 2012-09-02.