Fun Fact: The Oldest Highway In America Runs Through Illinois
Looking at the current condition of many Illinois roads and highways, it might seem like any of them could qualify as being the oldest highway in America, but giant potholes and cracks don't always mean the road is old, as all Illinois residents know.
When I asked around here if anyone knew which highway in Illinois is the nation's oldest, the two answers I got the most were wrong. If you guessed either one of these highways, you might want to guess again:
Up Until Recently, I Had Never Heard Of This Highway, And Had No Idea It Was The Oldest In The United States
It's called The Yellowstone Trail, and it covers 3,719 miles from coast to coast, starting in Massachusetts and ending in Washington state.
About 5 weeks after the sinking of the Titanic, The Yellowstone Trail was established on May 23, 1912 as the first transcontinental automobile highway through the upper tier of states in the United States. The reason it's called The Yellowstone Trail is because the road follows a path or trail that was once used by people traveling to Yellowstone National Park.
Here's a few facts and figures about America's oldest highway, and its path through Illinois, courtesy of YellowstoneTrail.org:
- The slogan is "A Good Road from Plymouth to Puget Sound."
- Originally designed to be 25 miles, but ended up being 3,719
- The Yellowstone trail snakes through Northern Illinois cities and towns including Chicago, Evanston, Glencoe, Waukegan, Lake Forest, and South Chicago
- Before the road was built, most cross-country traveling in America was done by train