“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Marshall in Clark County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)


Archer's Avenue

Marshall Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, July 6, 2020
1. Marshall Marker
Inscription.  Built at the intersection of Illinois' first state road and America's first federal highway, Marshall was a gateway community for immigrants traveling west. It was founded in 1835 by Illinois Gov. Joseph Duncan and Col. William B. Archer.

Duncan brought wealth and prestige to the fledging community.

Archer brought sagacity and sweat. He courted merchants, masons, and tradesmen who could improve, promote, and build stability into his prairie town. By 1838, Marshall's population had grown large enough to win the Clark County seat.

The National Road became Marshall's Main Street. Luminaries such as Abraham Lincoln, Booth Tarkington, and James Jones followed the road to Marshall's shops, hotels, restaurants, and courthouse square.

Nearly two hundred years ago, Archer saw the National Road as an avenue to growth and prosperity. You're standing one block north of the National Road now. In Marshall, it's known as Archer Avenue.

Built To Last

Established by Col. William B. Archer in 1841, the Archer House hotel accommodated travelers on State Route 1 and the National Road. As
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a stagecoach stop, the hotel was a hub of activity. Marshall residents gathered at the Archer House to greet travelers and bear news from distant cities.

Electricity: Free of Charge

Imagine driving down a darkened highway, then entering a city where every home leaves a light burning through the night. That's what National Road travelers discovered in Marshall. In 1930, Marshall's city council passed a measure to provide free power for porch lights. The ordinance was intended to promote safety and security. Marshall soon became known as the city "where the highways cross and the porch lights burn all night."

(photo captions:)

The Archer House hotel has operated under many names, including the St. James Hotel, the New Archer House, and the National Dixie Hotel. The building stands one block south of you.

Marshall's power company sold energy to homes, businesses, industries, and the neighboring community of Martinsville. Local porch lights were powered free of charge.

Most of the buildings on Archer Avenue north of the courthouse were constructed during the 1880s and 1890s.

Archer and Casteel sold farm implements, harnesses, wagons, and seeds. Located on Archer Avenue, the building is now part of the Marshall Public Library.

Built in the 1830s from local stone, the Starkey Bridge beneath
Marshall Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Jason Voigt, July 6, 2020
2. Marshall Marker
Located behind Marshall Visitors Center
Old US 40 west of Marshall still shoulders traffic. It's one of the oldest examples of National Road architecture in Illinois.


A Road of Dirt, Rock, And Dreams

In 1806, President Thomas Jefferson signed legislation to provide federal funding for a National Road. Surveyed from Cumberland, Md., to the Mississippi River, the National Road was a highway for pioneers eager to settle the West.

Today, as US 40, the National Road in Illinois spans 164 miles. From Indiana to East St. Louis, you can still see how the ambitions and accomplishments of early Illinois immigrants shaped our communities. You'll find their influence in our art and architecture, our industry and agriculture, and in our way of life. Enjoy your time on the Road.
Erected 2015 by National Road Association of Illinois.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & ViaductsIndustry & CommerceRoads & VehiclesSettlements & Settlers. In addition, it is included in the The Historic National Road series list.
Location. 39° 23.523′ N, 87° 41.638′ W. Marker is in Marshall, Illinois, in Clark County. Marker is on North 8th Street west of Michigan Avenue
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(Illinois Route 1), on the right when traveling south. Marker is behind Marshall Visitors Center, which is a restored log cabin located on Plum Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1124 N 8th St, Marshall IL 62441, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. James Jones 1921-77 (here, next to this marker); The Archer House (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Harlan Hall Opera House (approx. 0.2 miles away); Harlan Hall (approx. 0.2 miles away); You Are Not Forgotten (approx. 0.2 miles away); Battlefield Cross (approx. 0.2 miles away); Marshall, Illinois (approx. 0.2 miles away); All Gave Some, Some Gave All (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Marshall.
More about this marker. This is the first of several informational kiosks that were placed by the National Road Association of Illinois during the mid-2010s, when coming from Indiana. They are found in most of the cities and small towns located on the former National Road.
Also see . . .  Marshall (video). From the Illinois National Road's YouTube channel, this is a short video that talks about the history of Marshall, as well as recommend historical places to visit while there including the National Road Museum there. (Submitted on July 11, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on July 11, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 11, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 276 times since then and 18 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 11, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.

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Mar. 1, 2024