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Building The Illinois National Road


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#21 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 21 July 2013 - 09:41 PM

Well Jim, I now know more about Caterpillar tractors than I ever thought I would!

 

Here is the Davis Hotel in Brazil, In.

 

http://www.claycount.../davishotel.jpg

 

Dave

 

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#22 DennyG

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Posted 22 July 2013 - 05:37 PM

Sorry to show up so late but you guys are so much better at the sleuthing stuff than I am that it's probably just as well. The pictures are really cool regardless of when they were taken.



#23 mobilene

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Posted 23 July 2013 - 05:56 AM

Dave, you are a master of Google. I bebopped through the street view of Brazil but did not find these buildings. Not terribly surprising; Brazil is full of holes where buildings used to be. -Jim



#24 mobilene

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Posted 26 July 2013 - 01:50 PM

I posted about this on my blog today: http://blog.jimgrey....s-national-road

 

A fellow who grew up in Casey, IL, near the road and is now of retirement age commented on this today.  He reminded me of an alignment of the NR near Martinsville that was abandoned and is now on private property, after the road was rerouted to cross some railroad tracks at a square angle.  He said that the road in there is 9-foot-wide concrete.  He further said that west from there strips of the 9-foot concrete are visible, with narrower strips of concrete on either side of it to widen the road to 16 feet.  I have a photo of that from 2007:

 

2883014431_98c93e7d9c_z.jpg
 
The camera was zoomed out to wide angle (33mm) so it distorts the view a little bit -- it's hard to tell for sure how wide the strips of concrete are here.  Now I really want to go out and see it again, measuring tape in hand.  I am taking Monday off after a tough project wrapped up at work this week and maybe, just maybe, a trip to Illinois is in order to see this old pavement again.  (Though a drive through some of the twisty roads in southern Indiana in my new car feels like a lot more fun.)
 
Here is his comment:
 

 

One other clue to dating of this section. George Stewart says he travelled this section of the National Road in 1919 after WW1 and while Indiana’s road was paved the bottom just totally dropped out at the Illinois line. Also since the old road has continued in use from the west side of Casey( where I grew up) to a couple of miles east of Martinsville the original bridges were still in use when I started driving. The date plates had them built in 1920. It was interesting on the old 16 foot wide pavement to meet the daily Greyhound bus on that road. Just east of Martinsville old 40 makes a swing to the north and goes under the PA RR. East of this you can see where the original National road went straight west towards Martinsville and had a 9 foot wide concrete slab. East of where old 40 rejoins “new”40 you can see that they added concrete strips on either side of the 9 foot strip for several miles to widen it to probably 16 foot wide.

 

Notice that he says that the bridges had 1920 date plates on them, back when.  Those bridges are long gone for the most part now.  
 
But follow me here: If the 1920 ABB says the road would be under construction, perhaps it was to build these bridges and the 9-foot-wide concrete section.  And maaaaaaybe that construction's eastern end was just east of Martinsville, where the concrete ends and the bricks begin.  And maaaaaybe everything east of that spot remained dirt or gravel until about 1925 when the bricks were built.
 
Does this sound plausible?
 
-Jim
 


#25 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 27 July 2013 - 01:55 PM

Jim,

 

Sure, maybe.  And you are having fun, so who cares!

 

Some loose thoughts:

 

1. Does Indiana or Illinois have annual or bi-annual state road reports that might detail the work? I know Washington does.  And Google often includes them in Books.

 

2. A major road project might appear in the local newspapers

 

3.Magazines devoted to contractors and road builders in the 1920's and before often listed jobs up for bid

 

4.  I'll look in the next ABB, TIB, and maybe Mixers after 1920 that I have for Indiana or Illinois.  Any suggestions on what I should be looking for especially?

 

Dave






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