Welcome to Illinois
The marker is located 2.5 miles north of Quincy, on the northeast corner of intersection US 24 and Illinois Route 96, facing US Route 24.
Illinois Department of Transportation and The Illinois State Historical Society
In 1673 the areas of the Mississippi and Illinois Rivers were explored by Frenchmen 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 American 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.
U.S. Route 24 enters Illinois on the west at Quincy, site of the sixth debate between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas in 1858. It extends east towards the Illinois River cutting diagonally across the Military Tract, an area used as bounty land for veterans of the war of 1812. It passes near Dickson Mounds, a burial site of the Mississippian culture circa 1100 A.D.
Route 24 crosses the Illinois River at Peoria, a center of agricultural equipment manufacturing, and near the site of Fort Creve Coeur erected by the French explorer Sieur de LaSalle in 1680. It bisects Eureka, site of the college attended by Ronald Reagan the 40th President of the United States and the only one born in Illinois. The route continues due east through some of the richest farm land in the nation. In the years between 1840 and1890 huge herds of cattle were raised for sale to eastern markets. Corn and beans are the main crops today.
Route 24 exits Illinois east of Watseka near the Old Hubbard Trace a fur trade route which linked the Wabash River area with the settlement of Chicago in the north. Along its approximate 260 mile length Route 24 passes through eleven of Illinois' 102 counties and seven of its county seats.
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