The General William F. Dean Suspension Bridge was originally constructed in 1859 at a cost of $40,000. The original bridge remained in operation for nearly seventy years. In 1950 the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) recognized the bridge for its architectural significance. HABS recommended preservation of the bridge. The Illinois General Assembly set aside $20,000 for bridge restoration in 1951 and in 1953 the bridge received its current nomenclature and was named after Major General Dean.