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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Towanda in McLean County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

Dead Man's Curve

 
 
Dead Man's Curve Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 29, 2020
1. Dead Man's Curve Marker
Inscription.  Ahead of you is Dead Man's Curve, the site of many disastrous accidents from the late 1920s through the 1950s. This curve was part of the original Route 66 that was constructed around Towanda in 1927. Behind you to the east approximatley 1/4 mile, you can see the original Route 66 pavement made from Portland cement. This 2-way road was only 16 feet wide, and the sharp curve made for very treacherous driving. District 6 Illinois State Highway Police, or the "Full Grown Bears" as they were jokingly called, became a familiar sight patrolling this area.

Travelers from Chicago, unfamiliar with the road and accustomed to faster speeds, caused many of these accidents. A house once located in front of you, just beyond the apex of the curve, was removed after a semi-trailer truck ran off the road knocking the house off its foundation. Before this event the homeowners had replaced the front porch on this house numerous times due to the damage from cars and trucks crashing into it.

The amount of travel on the original Route 66 and Dead Man's Curve dropped dramatically with the construction of the 1954 alignment (site of the Towanda
Dead Man's Curve Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 29, 2020
2. Dead Man's Curve Marker
Wide view with additional signage, made to look like a series of typical old-fashioned advertisements on Route 66.
Route 66 Parkway and frontage road), approximately 1/4 mile down the road, and the building of Interstate 55 through this area in 1977. For the travellers of Route 66, Dead Man's Curve will be a significant part of this historic road's story.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: DisastersRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the U.S. Route 66 series list.
 
Location. 40° 34.044′ N, 88° 54.106′ W. Marker is in Towanda, Illinois, in McLean County. Marker is at the intersection of Jackson Street and Quincy Street, on the right when traveling west on Jackson Street. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 203 Jackson St, Towanda IL 61776, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. 1954 Route 66 Alignment (about 600 feet away, measured in a direct line); Pure Oil Truck Stop (about 600 feet away); 1926 Route 66 Alignment (approx. 0.2 miles away); Henderson's Standard (approx. 0.2 miles away); End of the Journey (approx. 0.7 miles away); Normal, Illinois (approx. 5.4 miles away); Historic Camelback Bridge (approx. 6.4 miles away); Home of Joseph W. Fifer (approx. 7.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Towanda.
 
More about this marker. There is a duplicate marker about 400 feet from this one, with some alternate text.
 
Also see . . .  Why was Route 66 also known as “Bloody 66”?. From
Dead Man's Curve Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 29, 2020
3. Dead Man's Curve Marker
A duplicate marker, found at the other end, which is located off the Route 66 Bike Trail in Towanda. Has some different text in the first and last paragraphs, but the same kind of description.
route66news.com, this is an article written by Ron Warnick (published in 2016) about a lot of old Route 66's most dangerous parts in all of the states, including this one. (Submitted on October 9, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.) 
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 9, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 9, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 43 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 9, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.
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Oct. 30, 2020