Road Trips

Are there two alignments of the National Road in Effingham, Illinois?

We drove right on through Effingham on our May trek across Illinois on the National Road. We had lingered in Clark and Cumberland Counties, and I really wanted to get to the end of the National Road in Vandalia before we ran out of daylight.

But I did explore the National Road through Effingham in 2007, and am sharing photos from that visit here. The road runs alongside a railroad track as it enters town. The signed National Road alignment forks away just as you enter town. US 40 veers away from the tracks shortly thereafter on its way to downtown.

National Road exit right

The signs have you follow Jefferson St. to Third St., where you turn left and then shortly right again onto US 40. Jefferson St. runs through a residential area.

Effingham National Road

As I look at a map of Effingham, I wonder whether the National Road originally hugged the railroad tracks all the way through town. A road signed National Ave., a common name for old National Road aligmnents, parallels the tracks in several discontinuous segments. See the map below; click it to see it larger. The signed National Road alignment is highlighted green to where it merges with current US 40. The suspected alignment is highlighted in blue.

Imagery and map data © 2014 Google.

Isn’t it interesting how US 40 enters and exits Effingham along the tracks, and there are bits and pieces of National Ave. along the tracks through town? One section of National Ave. is closed to through traffic and appears to be used as an access road for an industrial area.

Quasi-abandoned National Road

I walked past the barrier for a look.

Quasi-abandoned National Road

This street sign suggests that perhaps this road was once through.

Quasi-abandoned National Road

A bit further west, where the road is open to traffic, it passes underneath US 45.

Suspected old NR alignment

I wonder if any records exist to prove or disprove my theory.

I’ve driven the National Road from its beginning in Baltimore, MD to its end in Vandaila, IL. To read everything I’ve ever written about it, click here.

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