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Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!


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    Decatur, IL

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  1. Hello again, Just a quick little bit of info to share from Illinois... While out driving today in the middle of nowhere, my wife and I ended up on an interesting old road. On the map, I thought it was just a normal chipseal "grid road" like all the others. When we turned on to it, it was actually a single-slab concrete road! It was in great condiiton, and the slab was only 10-12' wide. It's labelled as N 1500 E road on the map. The only part that we drove was the 2-mile segment directly south of the pushpin on this map: https://maps.google.com/maps?q=40.631051,-87.843795&num=1&t=h&z=20 You can clearly see the slab on this street view image: https://maps.google.com/maps?q=40.631051,-87.843795&ll=40.631021,-87.844298&spn=0.006441,0.013937&sll=40.631035,-87.843793&layer=c&cbp=13,184.29,,0,9.34&cbll=40.631036,-87.843769&t=h&z=17&panoid=gyDNYZSDWvNDua4iae726A I just wanted to point it out to all of you road fans out there. I'm not positive it's pre-1920s, but it sure is made in the style of a road that would be. It would definitely be worth coming back to drive the whole thing... Wes
  2. I believe I have discovered the true original location of the sign! David Cole was kind enough to photocopy and send me the following excerpt from the Goodrich Guide Book for this area. He speculates that the sign was produced in late 1916 or early 1917, due to the manner of its construction. The book has symbols where each Guide Post was located, and the mileages for Dwight and Kankakee given on the sign, as well as the direction the arrow is pointing, align with mile 36.1 of Route 23: Looking at the map and tracing the turns and landmarks, we can see that 36.1 would have been located here: The sign would have faced north, posted at the intersection of what is now IL-17 and N 2300 E Rd. There would have been another piece (now missing) projecting from the center of the sign, pointing north with mileages to other towns on the route (maybe Streator and Ottawa). So, it turns out that my first guess as to its location was incorrect. It's pretty handy, though, that Goodrich put out a publication that accounted for the positions and configurations of their signs. I just thought I would share this updated information. Thanks to everyone for their info, input, and comments! Wes
  3. I was doing a little more looking on this topic, and discovered, on Google Books, the April 1922 issue of "Highway Engineer and Contractor." On page 61, it lists "Highway and Road Associations" and shows the following entry for the CKC&G: "Chicago, Kansas City and Gulf Highway - President, Robert N. Carson, Iowa City, Ia.; Secretary, Harry W. Graham, Chillicothe, Mo. - Chicago, Ill., to Galveston, Tex." Google Books shows an actual image of the page. It's also very interesting because it lists a large number of other named routes in the same manner. Just another piece of the puzzle. Wes
  4. Dave, Thanks for the compliments! I'm fairly optimistic that like you say, in time, I will be able to fix it's location. The article you posted is very interesting. It's the first time I've seen them referred to as "Road Markers." Perhaps that term predated "Guide Posts?" Congrats on finding a route guide! I definitely look forward to any information you might turn up regarding placement practices, routes near Dwight, or, of course, the post locations. Judging by the way the presumably older, procelain versions were constructed, I'm assuming that the two towns on the sign were to the left of where it was posted, with nothing of significance to the right. Does that seem reasonable? Incidentally, I read an article in the Traveler (LHA California Newsletter) that the mileage plates were painted black with aluminum paint in the divots that comprise the words. The photo was taken with some baby powder in the divots for contrast. I'm anxious to get the sign to my house and check for signs of the original paint. Here's a link to the Traveler issue: http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:CNqRc9Ny8nYJ:www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org/ca/traveler/2008-04/traveler-2008-04.pdf+goodrich+guideposts&hl=en&gl=us&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEEShxnjhtPl6_13CZfZyQQTCTspBJfOqQqcv69nF9omopM4jc-3GPURc1_tphkb4Vt-48bv6unUWesHk011liolJh6SDm_8UdcpPHrtGgV1E0h7_OXDAI7N-hfziphLJS--KFKqV5&sig=AHIEtbQsGFPrrVTKyMn1tRMPO-x2XpN4EQ Thanks very much for your assistance and discussion! Wes
  5. Hello Road Sleuths, I recently acquired an early road sign. It's a Goodrich Guide Post sign, showing mileages to Kankakee and Dwight, IL. From what I've read, it's the boiler plate version which was used from either 1916 or 1917 through 1920 when the Guide Post program was discontinued. I have a few questions that I was hoping some other members here could help me with. First, does anyone have any pictures of similar Guide Post signs, old or new? I would love to see them. Here is my sign: Given the nature of the sign, it doesn't seem like an impossible task to determine the exact location where it was once posted. Here is my first hypothesis: After some cursory research, I found a spot on the Pontiac Trail, just north of Dwight, that could fit the bill. Of course, there are many other possibilities. The PT's route, according to windycityroadwarrior.com, through Dwight was as follows: "88.2--End of Road; jog left and take first right across RR 89.0. 89.2--4 corners; turn left and take first right onto Prairie Street. 89.6--DWIGHT--RR straight ahead. Avoid RR crossing by turning right on Chippewa Street. 89.8--Washington Street, turn left and bear right just beyond along RR. Follow along tracks into ODELL 97.5" Route courtesy windycityroadwarrior.com -- 1914 ABB For clarity, I've shown the route here: Map courtesy classic.mapmyride.com The "Play" symbol is at "End of Road" in the ABB directions. I hypothesize that the sign could have been at the intersection of Scully Rd., a mile north of the play button ("end of road") shown above. That would put it 2 miles from Dwight. My 1925 ABB shows 30 miles from Dwight to Kankakee, so this point would be approx. 32 miles from Kankakee. This is only a guess - there are many other possibilities. This would pretty neat, of course, as the Pontiac Trail became Illinois SBI 4, and later US 66. So, the best way to determine the location for sure would be a Goodrich Guide Book or route card. They showed every Guide Post as a circled "G" figure on the map. I don't suppose anyone has one of these books for this area? Any assistance or input would be greatly appreciated. Thanks! Wes
  6. Dave, Thanks very much for your research and insight - that helps a lot. I tend to agree with you that the term "Gulf" is rather generic, and I too am beginning to speculate in ways that agree with what you have surmised. I really appreciate the info I've gotten from you guys, and will continue to do research too. If I learn anything further, I'll be sure to update this thread and post it here. Likewise, if anyone happens across any other information, this would be a great place to post and "preserve" it. Thanks very much, Wes
  7. Though the elevation is not so impressive, the old Lake Bistineau Dam in NW Louisiana was a neat drive. That is, until they built a 100% character-free bridge next to it and removed most of the original road from the top of the dam. At least they left a portion over the spillway gates for fishing purposes. It was an extremely long wooden deck girder bridge carrying LA-154 across the dam. The bridge was elevated 10 or so feet above the top of the dam, and the brave and daring could take their boats underneath it, provided the water wasn't over the spillway - that would be suicide. http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=pcn9v...lvl=2&sty=b I also remember the Hungry Horse Reservoir dam in the Flathead Nat'l Forest as being quite impressive when I was a kid. At the time it was driveable - I assume it still is? http://www.bing.com/maps/?v=2&cp=48.34...vl=15&sty=h Happy Trails! Wes
  8. Thanks Dave! I'm sorry to take so long to respond - was on vacation and then got rather busy with work afterward. By chance, do you remember the name of the named trail from KC to Galveston? I assume that if the trail is not in the 1916 TIB but is in the 1920, it was organized between those dates. I'm definitely interested in anything that you come up with related to the route. Thanks much! Wes
  9. Thank you Parsa9 for the detailed route information from Chicago to KC. I only wish I had some of those Rand McNally maps - I'll have to put them on my want list... I had seen the sign at a gas/oil show, and regretted not buying it. I got lucky and found it again on ebay, and got it for the same price as it was when I passed it up at the gas show. Talk about a lucky break! I'd love to see any photos showing a sign like this in the background. Also, of course, pamphlets, brochures, and strip maps would be fantastic. Hopefully someone on the site can add to what was just posted with the continuation of the route from KC to Galveston. Thanks! Wes Oh - here's the sign:
  10. Hello, I recently bought a tin tacker sign for the Chicago Kansas City Gulf Highway. After a rather futile attempt at doing web research to find the route, I've decided to turn to you guys for some help. The basic route is apparent from Chicago to Kansas City, based on this info: http://www.museum.state.il.us/exhibits/ath...0/maps/n-il.jpg http://academic.marion.ohio-state.edu/schu...ional/ckcg.html But, that doesn't explain the "Gulf" part, does it? This does... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto_trail Galveston, TX... Interesting... Nowhere so far except for this site mentions that it may have gone to Galveston. It would definitely make sense, though. Does anyone have any brochures, literature, or other printings from the CKCG? If anyone has any route info, pictures, or anything to share I would be very interested. I'd also like to know what dates the route existed / was maintained between. I've seen references to the year 1918, but I'd like to find a range. Thanks! Wes
  11. On another forum I visit, someone posted this Valentine diner for sale. It's incredibly neat, and very small and portable-looking. I have no connection to the seller or anything - just passing it along. http://www.oldgas.com/forum/ubbthreads.php...amp;#Post129264 Wes
  12. Hello Friends, I was out looking at old iron bridges last weekend, and ran across not one but two separate locations in the area East of Decatur that had road names involving "Star Route." First, coming right out of Decatur and paralleling the Sangamon River is "Star Rte Rd." (incidentally right next to "Stare Rd." http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&...131149&z=13 Then, down on 121 near Bethany (ESE of Decatur) I saw (and couldn't resist turning on) a road called "Blue Star Route." It merely went east, then south and ran back into 121. But, a short distance later, another road with the same name turned off to the north or east. The roads on the map are not labeled, but I think the one I drove was the eastbound continuation of Main St., all the way east to the T, then south to 121. The next "Blue Star Route" road was likely the road that turns north in Dunn, or the next one SE of Dunn. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&...131149&z=13 Has anyone seen or heard anything about a "Blue Star Route?" Does anyone know if the Blue Star Route and the Star Route are related? Just sheer curiousity... Thanks, Wes
  13. I just wanted to say that my wife and I had a great experience at Breities Again, which was featured in American Road magazine this fall. The article didn't lie, that's for sure. We took a day trip on the National Road, planning to culminate our day of antiqueing and exploring with a meal at Breities Again. The atmosphere was very cozy, the decor was really neat, and the food and service were excellent. Everything on the menu looked so good that I had to stuff myself to try a few different things. Crab bisque soup, fried green tomatoes, and fried walleye all caught my eye, so I was pretty much ill and bloated by the time we left -- but in a good way! It's only a couple miles from the interstate in Greenville, IL, so whether you're just passing through on I-70, or you're out for a cruise on old 40, it's well worth stopping. Thanks very much to John Goldsmith for publicizing this great little diner! Take care, Wes
  14. Did you know you could drive through a covered bridge on the old National Road in Illinois? While out driving the National Road from Greenup to Greenville on Friday, my wife and I saw a sight to behold. On the old alignment coming out of Greenup to the west, we came upon an operational covered bridge! Concrete curbs constricted the road down to one lane, and across the bridge we rumbled. I noticed that the bridge was in excellent shape, and there was a parking lot and kiosk to the west of it. We pulled off and read the signage -- this bridge was built 8 years ago! Pretty incredible that the people of Cumberland County care enough about their history and the National Road to build something like this in this day and age. The timbers are quite impressive, and the construction style is correct for a 100+ year-old covered bridge. The arch timbers are huge - I can't help but wonder where they got them. The bridge sits on the old alignment of 40, left very lightly travelled by the new 40 bypass to the south. This covered bridge replaced a 1920 concrete bridge (which, in a way, is a shame too...). The signs in the kiosk have a ton of pictures detailing the contruction of the bridge, as well as the poor condition of the old concrete bridge. There are sidewalks in the bridge, too, so feel free to walk through and look out the windows! A hiking trailhead begins at the kiosk and observation deck area - I'll have to come back and check that out in nicer weather. On another note... We ate dinner at Breite's Again in Greenville, taking advice from Diner Days in the magazine. Let me tell you - it was worth the trip entirely! The place is really neat, and the food is top notch and very reasonable. We loved the fried green tomatoes! Wes
  15. Wow! Yep, you got it! Right down here below the observation platform in the shaky little town of New Madrid, MO. http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&...mp;t=h&z=18 Good job!! Wes
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