Homewood in Cook County, Illinois — The American Midwest (Great Lakes)
Dixie Highway connected Chicago to Miami in the early days of automobile travel
Homewood: a bustling town grows along a former Indian trail
Settlements developed along the route with the first residents arriving in this area in the 1830s and 1840s to farm the fertile soil. James Hart platted Hartford as the first subdivision in 1853 the same year the first Illinois Central Railroad train came through. The railroad designated the stop as Thornton Station. Thornton Flour Mill Company (1856), general stores and taverns
By 1915 automobile travel became increasingly popular for business, agricultural, and recreational uses. Citizens demanded that the government provide better roads, which at this time consisted primarily of dirt and were passible in fair weather, yet quickly became muddy and impassible after a few hours of rain. Governors from several states met to consider an improved road from Indianapolis to Florida. States lobbied for inclusion, so instead of a single route, two major divisions were designated. Carl Fisher, a civic booster, an auto enthusiast instrumental in developing the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, a Florida land developer, and called the “Father of the Lincoln Highway,” convinced the governors that Chicago should be the northern terminus. The great Dixie Highway was born.
By the turn of the century, golf courses sprouted in Homewood’s countryside, and wealthy Chicago golfers developed two golf courses in Homewood: Ravisloe Country Club in 1901, and Calumet Country Club relocated here from Chicago in 1917. In the 1920s, Amalfi Gardens, a restaurant at 175th and Dixie Highway, drew visitors from as far away as Chicago. After several different owners, it became Surma’s Restaurant
Dixie Highway became Homewood’s main thoroughfare. A white frame two-room school built in 1880 now houses businesses and apartments just north of this sign. Next to the building is a Dixie Highway mileage sign post. On this site known as Independence Park, a four-room, two-story brick building named Standard School was built in 1904. An underpass was constructed under Dixie Highway so students could cross the highway safely. The Homewood village Hall, at Dixie Highway and Chestnut Road, was built with the aid of PWA funds and was dedicated in September 1939. It is considered an architectural gem.
In 1998 the Village of Homewood Heritage Committee sought the cooperation of the Illinois Dixie Communities to promote the heritage of the highway. The result was Dixie Highway signs, street pole banners, an Illinois State Historical Society marker and starting in 2002 the “Drivin’ the Dixie,” a vintage and collector car tour, supported by A’s R US Model A Ford Car Club and Tri-Town Radio Amateur Club. For more information visit, homesweethomewood.com.
Erected 2015 by A's R US Model A Ford Car Club.
Location. 41° 33.608′ N, 87° 39.932′ W. Marker is in Homewood, Illinois, in Touch for map. Marker is located at the entrance to Independence Park. Marker is at or near this postal address: 18120 Dixie Hwy, Homewood IL 60430, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 6 other markers are within 11 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Dixie Highway (here, next to this marker); Washington Park Racetrack (approx. 1½ miles away); Camp Thornton #2605 and the Civil Conservation Corps (approx. 3½ miles away); Site of Absolem Wells Cabin (approx. 3.8 miles away); The Lincoln Highway / The "Ideal Section" (approx. 9.3 miles away in Indiana); St. John Township School District #2 (approx. 10.4 miles away in Indiana).
Categories. • Roads & Vehicles •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 12, 2015, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. This page has been viewed 211 times since then and 51 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. submitted on August 12, 2015, by Paul Fehrenbach of Germantown, Wisconsin. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.