The first highway in the United States is located in Illinois.

Lately, I've been on this kick to try and learn new things. Especially, about Rockford and Illinois. I think it's good to know some history of our area. Here's my latest.

What if I told you the very first highway and oldest road in America runs through Illinois. I don't think that would be too hard to imagine. We do live in the Midwest. It only makes sense when connecting east to west.

Let's pretend we're playing Jeopardy. The final Jeopardy question for all the money is name that road. I don't know about you, but I would answer "What is Route 66." Well, guess what? I lose. The correct response is "What is the Yellowstone Trail." Honestly, I've never even heard of it. Sounds like it's time to learn something new.

According to,

"The oldest road in America, Yellowstone Trail, passes right through Illinois. There’s an old road that runs through the Chicago area of Illinois, and few people know about it. Known as the Yellowstone Trail, this ancient and extensive road spans the entire country. People were using yellow stones and landmarks as well as getting directions from whoever would give them before roads like this."

Here are some more details...

  • Originally designed to be 25 miles then became 3,719.
  • Plymouth, Massachusetts to Seattle, Washington.
  • Through Northern Illinois including Chicago, Evanston, Glencoe, Waukegan, Lake Forest, and South Chicago.
  • 1st transcontinental automobile highway.
  • Started in 1912.
  • Named after Yellowstone National Park because it was the main route there.
  • Long-distance travel by car was very difficult before it was built.
  • Before this road, most cross country travel was done by train.
  • Allowed travel without the add of guidebook, landmarks, and colored rocks.
  • The highway is now marked with special signs.
  • Slogan is "A Good Road from Plymouth to Puget Sound."

Next time you're taking a road trip, this might be a fun option. The superhighways might be the fastest way to travel but I guarantee you it won't be as interesting. I remember as a kid traveling on Route 66 instead of the big road and we had a great adventure.

Guess what, you just learned something new today.

To find out more, HERE.


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