Indiana/Illinois National Road Revisited

The Jim Grey Page Roads


Livingston, IL

We came to Livingston to gather more evidence that, I hoped, would help me figure out the National Road route on either side of this tiny town. My July trip had left me with more questions than answers. This visit filled in a few more pieces of the puzzle. This map labels the locations of photos along the way with numbers.

Just east of Livingston at what looked like a long driveway (number 1 on the map), we saw a grassy road-width clearing. The map showed that if this road followed a straight line, it would come out in Livingston as the National Road. The map also shows a number of other traces, however, that could have been roads through here.

We could see a clearing on the other side of US 40 that could have been road. A flatbed trailer sat on it, though it's a little hard to see in the photo below. It seemed to us that the line between where I took this eastbound photo and that trailer would have let the road cross the creek squarely. Older bridge-building technology tended to favor bridges that crossed creeks perpendicularly, lending weight to my theory that this was the National Road.

We drove around to Livingston and the segment of the National Road signed as a spur there. We drove to its end (number 2 on the map) and walked down the bank of the creek there. We found no bridge ruins, but could see some on the other side.

We got back on US 40, drove to the first crossroad past the creek (number 3 on the map), and turned north. We found a stripe of asphalt road that ended in a short bit of brick, as this westbound photo shows. The creek was behind Michael as he took this photo.

We picked our way around a pile of concrete slabs (debris from the former bridge approach?) and young trees to find the creek. This eastbound photo shows how the roadbed was built up for the bridge approach.

The bank was quite steep. We stood on the bridge's cement support pillars, but there was no good place to stand to take photos of them. Here's a lousy photo showing Michael standing on one.

Stones had been used to build part of this bridge; perhaps it was originally stone and later widened with cement.

We picked our way back to the car and headed west. Where the brick road appeared to end, the parted trees told the story: The road used to go through here.

We didn't walk too far along before we came across this gem.

When Illinois formed its system of state routes, the National Road became State Road 10. Illinois posted right-of-way markers like these along all of their state routes to mark the land the state controlled for the road's sake. Rights-of-way always extend several feet beyond the edge of the road.

The parted trees may have given a strong clue, but this right-of-way marker confirmed that traffic once passed through here.

I found a few bricks like this one, all broken, some in the ground. The bricks along the road so far had all been plain-faced and in shades of red. Since the road itself was probably several inches below us, I couldn't figure out what these bricks were from.

Fallen trees blocked our path. We felt like we'd seen enough anyway, so we walked back to the car and drove US 40 the short distance to where the National Road crossed 40 on its way to Marshall. We turned right at this intersection to see the short segment of National Road there and were surprised to find that it was a gravel road. This westbound photo is from about where the gravel road ends, at the State of Illinois Salvage Yard.

We found another right-of-way marker where the gravel road met US 40. I'm pretty sure the "R-O-W" markers are newer than the "State R-O-W" markers.

Just east of this marker was another marker, but I don't know what its markings mean. The other side of the marker was marked, "FI 9."

We drove across US 40 onto Archer Ave., which is what the National Road is called in Marshall.

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Created 12 February 2008.
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