The Remarkable Clamor for Good Roads and Highways with Names
The highways systems in Illinois are only 100 years old and were born as the result of fierce debates and an incessant clamor for “Good Roads.” From the 1890s until World War I, there is a fascinating combination of stories about road-building, named highways, and the “Good Roads” movement.
Before interstates and federal highways were distinguished by numbers—Route 30 or I-55, for instance—these roads were christened with colorful names. The Lincoln, Dixie, and Mississippi Valley Highways, and the Alton Way, Swastika Trail, and Corn Belt Route were all memorable roads that carried people across the state. From 1913 on, these were among the 51 named highways developed in Illinois. Hear about the creation of these named highways and the eventual numbering systems for our roads.
Come hear more about it this Tuesday, March 28th beginning at 7:00pm at the DeKalb County Community Foundation’s Freight Room. This program will be presented by Larry McClellan. He has had a distinguished career. Most recently, he was selected by the Illinois Humanities Council for 2013-14 as an Illinois “Roads Scholar” lecturer on the history of Illinois highways. In retirement, his consulting, research and writing focus on historic highways, the Underground Railroad in Illinois, and on regional history south of Chicago. Each year he helps lead a two-week motorcycle tour on Route 66 across America. He came to Sycamore last year and presented his program on Freedom Seekers in Northern Illinois.
This program is made possible by the Mary E. Steven Concert and Lecture Fund. The DeKalb County Community Foundation is located at 475 DeKalb Ave. in Sycamore. Cost for the event is $5 per person, payable at the door.
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