I just love to find an old brick road. This one used to be US 50 as it entered Illinois after crossing the Wabash River from Vincennes, Indiana.
Notice how the fellow who owns that house parks his cars on the old highway? A roadgeek’s dream! Here’s the road headed west into Illinois. Notice how it flows right into the modern road ahead, a sure sign that this is the old alignment.
The bridge that used to connect to this brick road has been gone since the 1930s. I found this postcard image of that bridge. One part of the bridge was a steel arch truss, and another part was a wooden covered bridge!
Since 1933, a series of grand arches has linked Vincennes to Illinois. Here’s the bridge from the Vincennes side. But even this is no longer US 50; the road bypasses town to the north and crosses the Wabash over a bridge named after Red Skelton, who grew up here.
There are lots of photos of this bridge on the Internet, but I’ve yet to see any taken from the Illinois side. I’ve corrected that problem here.
I didn’t think much about how the 1933 bridge rose so high above the river until someone commented on one of these photos on Flickr that the area looked pretty good for having been under water so many times. The most recent flood was in June of 2008. Several square miles were under water in Illinois, including the old brick road and the house of that fellow who parked his cars on the bricks. (Suddenly, parking my car there didn’t seem so attractive anymore.) But the 1933 bridge was never under water.
This monument, which stands near the end of the bridge on the Illinois side several feet above the old brick road, wasn’t under water either. When young Abraham Lincoln crossed into Illinois, he and his family did it near this spot, and this monument commemorates it. It felt very cool to walk ground Lincoln walked.
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Last updated on 25 January 2020 by Jim Grey