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

Pontiac in Livingston County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
 

A Bridge to the Past

From Route 4 to City Street

 
 
A Bridge to the Past Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 29, 2020
1. A Bridge to the Past Marker
Inscription.  This venerable old bridge enters its golden years serving slow traffic on a city street, but it started life in the fast lane of the "hard road." In 1924, Illinois Route 4 became the first paved road to connect Chicago with St. Louis. Only two years later, it was designated as part of the fabled Route 66.

In 1927, the Ideal Garage, Service Station, & Lunch Counter opened next to the bridge (where the VFW stands today).

Next door, the Ideal Cabin Court served weary travelers. This tourist camp, typical of the era before motels, featured 10 octagon-shaped cabins.

The bridge abutments are originals from 1926. The rest of the bridge was rebuilt in 2005 in its original design.

Route 66 was a testing ground for highway engineering. Concrete bridges gained popularity when steel reinforcement was perfected in the early 1900s. Concrete required less maintenance than metal which needed painting and replacement of rusty parts.

An original Route 4 marker is painted on one of the bridge abutments. This is the last of its kind in Illinois.

Pontiac
A Bridge to the Past Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 29, 2020
2. A Bridge to the Past Marker
Marker is next to the Historic Division Street marker.
Trail


In 1915, a gravel road between Chicago and St. Louis first opened as the Pontiac Trail, named for the famous chief who lived and died near its southern terminus. The above nameplate was placed on guideposts at one-mile intervals.

In 1918, the Pontiac Trail was resurfaced with pavement and renamed "Route 4." In 1926, it was designated as U.S. Route 66, making Illinois the first state in the country to have its segment entirely paved.
 
Erected by Illinois Route 66 Scenic Byway.
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Bridges & ViaductsIndustry & CommerceNative AmericansRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the U.S. Route 66 🛣️ series list.
 
Location. 40° 53.289′ N, 88° 38.005′ W. Marker is in Pontiac, Illinois, in Livingston County. Marker is on North Division Street north of West Jefferson Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1125 N Division St, Pontiac IL 61764, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Historic Division Street Bridge (here, next to this marker); Patrolling "Bloody 66" (approx. ¼ mile away); Lincoln Visits Strevell (approx. 0.4 miles away); An Underground Crossing
A Bridge to the Past Marker image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 29, 2020
3. A Bridge to the Past Marker
Wide view of the bridge, with the marker on the right
(approx. half a mile away); Lincoln Speaks at Church (approx. half a mile away); Pontiac City Hall and Fire Station (approx. half a mile away); Original Route 66 Wishing Well & Sign Countryside, Illinois 1941-2007 (approx. half a mile away); Original Washington Street Route 66 Bricks (approx. half a mile away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Pontiac.
 
Route 4 Stencilized image. Click for full size.
By Jason Voigt, September 29, 2020
4. Route 4 Stencilized
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 28, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 28, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois. This page has been viewed 43 times since then and 5 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on October 28, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.   4. submitted on September 29, 2020, by Jason Voigt of Glen Carbon, Illinois.
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Mar. 4, 2021