Lincoln and Dixie Highways share ties in Illinois

Dixie H bannerIn our review of Traveling the … Historic Three by John and Lenore Weiss (which follows the Lincoln and Dixie Highways and Route 66), I mentioned Elaine E. Egdorf. Not only does she manage the Drivin’ the Dixie website, but as chairman of the Village of Homewood Heritage Committee, she got a Dixie Highway marker for Homewood, south of Chicago. The committee and the Homewood Historical Society (she was founding president) paid for the marker, which was dedicated in 2003 with a large ceremony. It was re-dedicated in 2005 as part of the kick-off for Illinois State Historical Society Markers week. The Dixie Highway communities also were recognized with a Superior Achievement Award from the ISHS for the unique way they pulled together towns, historical societies, and chambers of commerce to promote Illinois history.

The Dixie Highway was another idea of Lincoln Highway founder Carl Fisher. His north-south path was said to have been created so his wealthy auto-industry pals could more easily travel south to Fisher’s Miami Beach land developments. The Dixie was not as direct as the Lincoln, but rather a braid of roads from Sou. Ste. Marie, Michigan, to Miami, Florida. The route is now identified throughout Illinois (except Chicago) with red, white, and blue metal street signs, street pole banners, and state markers. One of at least six intersections of the Lincoln and Dixie Highways is at Chicago Heights: the roads run together for almost two miles there and their meeting is commemorated by the Arche Memorial Fountain.

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Above: Redd Griffin, Oak Park; Elaine Egdorf, Homewood; Arthur Martin, Chicago, at the rededication in 2005. All are on the Board of Directors of the Illinois State Historical Society.

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Dixie H map

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This group’s Triangle Tour has actually evolved into Drivin’ the Dixie, a moving car show and tour from Blue Island to Momence. A passport listing events in towns along the route can be stamped at historic sites; each town donates two prizes, and for each stamp, participants get a free raffle ticket. Last year about 200 cars total participated, mostly vintage cars. It’s nice to see such support for a road that played such a big role in early auto history.

IL_Dixie car show

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