Old US 50 in Illinois

Abandoned US 50 in Illinois
Kodak EasyShare Z730 Zoom
2009

A long section of US 50 stands abandoned to the current US 50 alignment in central Illinois. The state planned at one time to build a four-lane US 50 here, but the plans were scuttled after the new lanes were built. So they just routed the whole road along the new lanes and left the old ones behind.

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Photography, Road Trips

Photo: Abandoned US 50 in Illinois

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9 thoughts on “

  1. Bill Bussell says:

    Illinois is a State without rudder in the water. High taxes, maybe three governors in prison recently, and no budget. Chicago is the money sink hole, and often in the news over homicide. All that being stated, I still like Illinois. It is not surprising they did not complete a road. Another great picture and story by Jim…

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    • Well, it might help to know that the coming of the Interstates is what did Illinois’ four-lane US highways in. The same happened to US 40 to the north; the westbound lanes got built, and then it became clear I-70 was coming, and so Illinois abandoned plans to tear out the old highway and build the eastbound lanes there. US 40 follows just those westbound lanes, and the old highway (brick and concrete) stands next to it, unused.

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  2. Did you know that 50 follows along portions of an old buffalo trace that ran from Big Bone Lick in what is now Kentucky across Indiana and Illinois to St. Louis.

    Native Americans used the trace as a roadway and so did the early explorers. Notably Fran├žois-Marie Bissot, Sieur de Vincennes founded the town of Vincennes at the point where the trace crossed the Wabash.

    Later George Rogers Clark who was stationed at Kaskaskia, received information that British had taken Vincennes. In February 1779 he launched an attack to reclaim Vincennes. He and his men used the trace to move from Carlyle to Vincennes. Since it was winter and the rivers were high they marched through high water and built canoes to achieve their objective.

    Later the trace was used as a stagecoach route and a route for settlers heading west to St. Louis. In the 1850s the Ohio and Mississippi Railroad built a line from Cincinnati to East St. Louis along the same route. In later years the O&M was to come under the umbrella of B&O. In the 1880s you could travel by rail from St. Louis to New York in about two days.

    Next of course came route 50.

    I had family that lived in the area and grew up hearing the lore. I am also writing a book whose story is in and around Salem. Thank you for the visual trip.

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