Road Trips

Refreshed: Posts about my 2009 road trip along US 50 in Illinois

Old US 50 in Illinois

On May 25, 2009, my longtime friend Michael and I drove to Vincennes, Indiana, crossed over into Illinois over the Lincoln Memorial Bridge, and explored US 50 and its old alignments until we ran out of energy for the day.

I wrote a full report on my old HTML site here. But I wrote about it in parallel on this blog, the first road trip to get that treatment. The HTML site had more information on it, so I’ve updated the posts here with that info and enlarged the photos. Here are the posts:

  • Where Lincoln first entered Illinois — Abe Lincoln’s family moved to Illinois from Indiana, crossing over the Wabash River at Vincennes at about the place where US 50 would eventually go.
  • Three abandoned bridges in a row — An old alignment of US 50 runs right alongside the current alignment for several miles in eastern Illinois. Three steel-truss bridges still stood on the old road when we made our trip.
  • The General Dean Bridge — A suspension bridge serves pedestrians today in Carlyle, Illinois. It is the original alignment of the road that was made into US 50.
  • What if they built a bridge and nobody ever drove on it? — US 50 was to be widened to four lanes, divided. The project was cancelled, but after several bridges were built that then were never used to carry traffic.
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Abandoned, never used US 50 bridge

Abandoned, never used US 50 bridge in Illinois
Kodak EasyShare Z730
2009

As you drive US 50 across Illinois, west of Carlyle you’ll cross four bridges that have unused twins right beside them. I told the whole story here, but in short they’re left over after a project to widen US 50 to four lanes was abandoned.

That’s my friend Michael there, balancing on the railing to make his photograph while I made mine of him.

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Photography, Road Trips

single frame: Abandoned, never used US 50 bridge in Illinois

An abandoned, never used bridge.

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Road Trips
Addison Toll House

My sons and I continued our 2009 National Road/US 40 tour from Maryland into Pennsylvania and West Virginia. I’ve just freshened up those posts, adding a little detail and improving the photographs. Here are all of those posts:

We intended to continue our trip across Ohio, but just as we entered the state we had an automobile accident that totaled my car. Fortunately, we were physically unharmed. Read about it here.

Updated: Posts about the National Road and US 40 in Pennsylvania and West Virginia

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Casselman River bridge

National Road bridge over Maryland’s Casselman River
Kodak EasyShare Z730
2009

The trip my sons and I made to Washington, DC, and then back along the National Road is the vacation we all remember most fondly. It was a great trip until we entered Ohio, when we had an automobile accident that totaled our car. We were unharmed, but it was a sad end to a great trip.

Maryland became more gorgeous the farther west we went into it. We were especially excited to reach Garrett County, as that is one of my sons’ names. We stopped by the roadside to photograph my son under a sign proclaiming our entrance into his county.

Then shortly we came upon this bridge, which was built in 1814 to carry the National Road across the Casselman River. It served until 1933, seven years after this road was named US 40, when a steel-truss bridge was built downriver and the road realigned to it. Later, I-68 was built a little farther downriver and US 40 was routed onto it. So three bridges stand in a row here. I wrote about them all here.

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Photography, Road Trips

single frame: National Road bridge over Maryland’s Casselman River

The great stone arch bridge over the Casselman River in Garrett County, MD.

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Road Trips
Ellicott City, MD

In 2009, my sons and I explored the National Road and US 40 across Maryland. The National Road was the nation’s first federally funded highway, and it connected Maryland, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. In the 20th century, the National Road became US 40, more or less.

I’ve updated my posts from this trip with refreshed photographs and some new details. Here are links to all of them.

Updated: Posts about the National Road and US 40 in Maryland

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On the bridge

Standing on the Shepard Bridge
Minolta Autopak 470
Lomography Color Tiger
2018

This 1913 stone-arch bridge carries the Michigan Road over Big Creek in Ripley County, Indiana. I’ve written about this bridge a bunch of times: here, here, here, here. It’s one of my favorite bridges.

In 2018 my wife and I followed the Michigan Road north from Madison and paused here to explore. She’s out on the deck with her camera. I made this image on 110 film using a Minolta Autopak 470 camera.

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Film Photography, Road Trips

single frame: Standing on the Shepard Bridge

A photo (on 110 film!) of my wife on a 1913 stone bridge in Ripley County, Indiana.

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