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Goodrich Guide Post - Where Was It Posted?

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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.




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Wow and double wow!! That is a great sign. I have never seen one "in the flesh."


You obviously already know a good deal about the context of the sign. Goodrich must have been the only organization that did as you say, that is put the location of their signs on their now expensive maps.


I have a few of their maps and if I can find them, I'll take a look. All my things are boxed up right now.


I want to compliment you on the quality of your research. What a kick it will be to fix the location, which you will certainly do in time.


My memory sort of vaguely places Goodrich's mapping efforts in the 1911-1916 era. Later on, I think they used the Rand McNally auto trail maps. I make that point (and I may well be wrong anyway) because it suggests the dates of secondary references that might be useful.


I copied the ad below from Google Books (thanks Google!!) copy of the September 1, 1911 Country Life.




Keep the Show on the Road!




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Your sign prompted me to purchase a Goodrich Route Book this afternoon, but unfortunately not one of Illinois. I may still have one in the "stacks," but I thought perhaps the Indiana and Ohio edition would provide some clues as to their placement practices. BTW, the maps are said to be dated 1911-1914. I'll let you know if I get any useful insights when it arrives.




Keep the Show on the Road!

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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:



Thanks very much for your assistance and discussion!



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  • 2 weeks later...



I've never seen one of those signs, so your pic is appreciated, as is your research.


From the looks of it, I would say your first hypothesis is probably correct. It certainly appears to be that way.


Course, I just love seeing how routes intertwine...and have been fascinated by that subject for a number of years now. Looking at that map, it is clear how closely-related the Pontiac Trail, Route 66 and IL RT 47 are. I've traveled Route 47 so many times, from trips to Champaign/Decatur IL to see family/friends, to trips with farther south destinations like Nashville TN. Yet, in my "younger days", I never made the connection that IL RT 47 and US RT 66 had there in the very north section of Dwight. Now, of course, I do!




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MCs.CC + CHD.models.HO.legos.RadioShows + RoadTrips.us66 = http://www.chevyasylum.com/cort

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  • 1 year later...

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!



Edited by thermactor
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It was fun to return to this thread, and impressive that David Cole came to your aid. I consider him to be the premier collector and authority on vintage maps, guides, and rare related early travel ephemera in America. He would put my "aggregation" to shame. I'm pleased he stepped in.






Keep the Show on the Road!

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