Welcome to Illinois
This marker is on US45 North of the town of Brookport, across the river from Paducah, KY. Prior to the I-24 bridge, US45 and its bridge over the Ohio River was the main road into this part of Illinois.
Illinois Department of Transportation and The Illinois State Historical Society
In 1673 the areas of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers were explored by Frenchman Louis Jolliet and Father Jacques Marquette. Their voyages resulted in French claims on the area until 1763 when, by the Treaty of Paris, France ceded the land to Great Britain. During the Revolution the Illinois Territory was won for the Commonwealth of Virginia by George Rogers Clark and his army. In 1784 it became part of the Northwest Territory and on December 3, 1818 Illinois entered the Union as the twenty-first state. US Route 45 enters Illinois at Brookport proceeding north past the site of Fort Massac, built by the French in 1757, rebuilt by Americans in 1794. It continues north and east through Harrisburg and through the oil fields of Wayne and Clay Counties. Near Mattoon the Wisconsin glacier stopped its southern movement. Route 45 bisects the twin cities of Champaign and Urbana, site of the University of Illinois. Kankakee lies along the route and was the site of early French-Canadian migration. North of Kankakee US 45 passes east of the Jolliet Arsenal which has supplied munitions to the military since 1941. The route skirts Chicago passing through its western suburbs. Route 45 eventually exits Illinois east of Antioch. Along its approximate 230 mile journey through Illinois, Route 45 passes through twenty of the state's 102 counties and eight county seats. Geographically the route begins on a plane roughly equal to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina and ends on a plane north of New York City.
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