Dixie Highway, The
The Dixie Highway was the first national road linking industrial northern states to agricultural southern states. Governors of several states met in 1915 to consider an improved road to Miami. States lobbied for inclusion, resulting in eastern and western divisions running through ten states. In Illinois, the road started in Chicago, traveled through Blue Island, Homewood, and Chicago Heights, then followed what is today Route 1 down to Danville. There it turned east to Indiana. By 1923, the Dixie Highway consisted of a network of 6,000 improved roadway miles.
The Dixie Highway Association took over the work begun by the governors. Many counties funded and built the highway in their area; poorer counties required federal aid and private subscriptions. Citizens took paintbrushes in hand to paint "DH" in red and white on poles, marking the way for travelers. Gas stations and mechanics were sparse. Motorists carried extra gas and tools. Tourists packed tents or rented rooms. Soon tourists camps, cabins, roadside diners, and service garages sprouted. The route played a significant role in both world wars as a path for carrying supplies.
The Dixie Highway follows one of the oldest and most historical trails. Native Americans and trapper-traders used a path worn by animals along the eastern Illinois border. In the 1820s, Gurdon Saltenstall Hubbard established trading posts along the route, which is identified as Hubbard's Trace and Vincennes Trail on old maps. In 1835, the Illinois General Assembly ordered a state road to be established and mile markers to be placed theron.
Eastland Disaster, The
While still partially tied to its dock at the river's edge, the excursion steamer Eastland rolled over on the morning of July 24, 1915. The result was one of the worst maritime disasters in American history. More than eight hundred people lost their lives within a few feet of the shore. The Eastland was filled to overflowing with picnic bound Western Electric Company employees and their families when the tragedy occurred. Investigations following the disaster raised questions about the ship's seaworthiness and inspection of Great Lakes steamers in general.
John H. Humphrey Home
This house was the home of Illinois State Senator John H. Humphrey (1838-1914). Born in Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England, Humphrey immigrated to America with his parents in 1848 and settled in Orland Township, Cook County, Illinois. Humphrey became active in local politics and served as Orland Township Supervisor, Village Treasurer, and later as Orland Park's first president (Mayor). Elected to the Illinois House of Representatives in 1880 and in 1884, he advanced to the Illinois Senate in 1886, serving until 1910. This house, second oldest in Orland Park, was built in 1881. Donated to the Orland Historical Society in 1987, it was placed on the National Register in 2005.Sponsored by the Orland Historical Society and the Illinois State Historical Society
Origins of Calumet City and Abraham Lincoln Funeral Train
Two blocks north of this corner the funeral train of Abraham Lincoln entered Illinois at approximately 10:15 a.m. on May 1, 1865, on the Michigan Central Railroad right-of-way.
In the autumn of 1869, the founders of the state slaughter house walked east along the railroad tracks and they searched for a suitable site to establish their business. The property they chose was north of the tracks on the east side of the Illinois-Indiana border. The company shipped its first load of dressed, refrigerated beef out of Hammond in October.
Within a few years, some of the land south of the tracks on the Illinois side, once owned by Stephen A. Douglas, an attorney for the Michigan Central and a political colleague of Lincoln, became home to many employees of the packing plant. By 1891, the plant was known as G.H. Hammond and Company and employed approximately 1,000 men and women, many of whom lived in the neighborhoods on or just off State Street, including Freitag's Subdivision, which had been created in 1879 in the vicinity of Lincoln Avenue and State Street. Freitag's Subdivision and the residential neighborhoods on Douglas, Ingraham, Forsythe, and Plummer Avenues and the commercial establishments along State Street were incorporated as the village of West Hammond, Illinois, in 1893 and became known as Calumet City in 1924.