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Sunday, October 24, 2021

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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.

West Side Grounds: Home Field of the Chicago National League Ball Club from 1893 to 1915

First Game: May 14 1893 (Cincinnati 13, Chicago 12)
Last Game: October 3, 1915 (Chicago 7, St. Louis 2)
Seating Capacity: 16,000
Career Record at West Side Grounds: 1,018 Wins, 640 Losses
World Series Championships: 1907, 1908
National League Championships: 1906, 1907, 1908, 1910

In 1891 the Chicago Ball Club purchased this site and built a ballpark for $30,000. Bordered by Polk, Lincoln (Wolcott), Taylor, and Wood Street, the ballpark had a covered grandstand of steel and wood, open-air seating along both foul lines, and an upper deck with box seats.

In 1906 the Chicago Cubs at West Side Grounds won a major league record 116 games and the ballpark hosted the first intra-city World Series game between the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. In 1907 and 1908 the Chicago Cubs became the first team to win consecutive World Series titles. The ballpark hosted its last World Series in 1910 between the Cubs and the Philadelphia Athletics.

The Chicago Cubs moved to Weeghman Park (Wrigley Field) in 1916. West Side Grounds was sold in 1919 for $40,000 to the State of Illinois for a research and educational hospital from which grew the nation's largest medical district.

The phrase "Way out in left field" originated at the West Side Grounds, due to the location of a psychiatric hospital behind the ballpark's left field fence, where players and fans could hear patients making odd and strange remarks during games.

Auntie Gogin's Store

On this block Mary Ann (Elwell) Gogin operated a general merchandise store in the late nineteenth century. One of the first women in Illinois to own and manage her own store, Mrs. Gogin was affectionately known as 'Auntie' to the residents of Palestine.

Dubois Tavern

Here stood the Dubois Tavern. Jesse K. Dubois, a close friend of Abraham Lincoln, was an official in the United States Land Office in Palestine from 1841-1842 and from 1849-1853 and later became Auditor of Public Accounts for Illinois. His son, Fred T. Dubois, became a Senator from Idaho.

Fort Foot

About 1813 the William Eaton family and other restless pioneers considered Fort LaMotte too crowded and therefore constructed a new stockade on a site several hundred yards north of here. A family trait of the Eatons, large feet, led to the name of Fort Foot.

Steamboats on the Mississippi River

In 1817 the Zebulon M. Pike reached St. Louis, the northern-most steamboat port on the Mississippi

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Governor Augustus C. French

On this site stood the home of Augustus C. French (1808-1864) when he was elected the ninth Governor of Illinois. The early settlers in Illinois came mostly from southern states so that French, a native of New Hampshire, was the first "Yankee" to be elected Governor.

Houston-Dickson Store

Two early residents of Palestine, John Houston and Francis Dickson, purchased this lot as the site for a combination dwelling and store about 1818. By 1820 their stock of merchandise provided nearby settlers with goods which they previously had to bring from Indiana.

Hutson Memorial

Hutsonville was named after the Isaac Hutson family massacred by Indians in 1813 at a spot sixty-four rods due east of this marker. Hutson was killed later in a skirmish with the Indians near Fort Harrison, Indiana.

Kitchell Grist Mill

In this area Joseph Kitchell, who settled here in 1817, erected a grist mill and distillery which eliminated the trip to Shakertown, Indiana where the farmers had previously taken their grain. Horses were used for power, grain was taken in pay, converted to whiskey and sold to settlers.

Palestine, Illinois

This area reminded Frenchman John LaMotte of the land of milk and honey, Palestine. While a member of the LaSalle exploring party, he became separated from the group, traveled down the Wabash River, and first gazed upon the region in 1678. Other French settlers came during the 18th century. Then, by 1812, the westward moving Americans began constructing Fort LaMotte. As the palisade filled with settlers, those desiring more room moved a few miles to the northwest and established Fort Foot.

The settlers in Fort LaMotte were the core of the town of Palestine. Platted in 1818 by Joseph Kitchell and Edward Cullom, the settlement served until 1843 as the Crawford County seat. The growth of the town lagged until a United States Land Office, opened in 1821, gave new importance to the community. Then, people came to buy land, to attend court, for entertainment, and to have their grain milled. Others, like Abraham Lincoln in 1830, passed through the bustling town on their way to settle in Illinois.

The land office continued to give prominence to Palestine. Robert A. Kinzie came in 1831 to purchase 102 acres for $127.68, an area which became the nucleus of Chicago. Augustus C. French (1808-1864) served as a Receiver in the Land Office from 1839 to 1843. A native of New Hampshire, he was the first 'Yankee' to be elected Governor of Illinois. Chosen in 1846, French was forced to stand for re-election under the new constitution of 1848 and won.

John Mitchell, 1870-1919

Pioneer resident of Spring Valley. Achieved national prominence in the settlement of the Pennsylvan

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Barbed Wire Manufacturing 1837-1938

This house, built in 1861, was the home of Joseph Glidden, who in 1873 invented barbed wire fencing. With Phineas W. Vaughn he perfected a machine to manufacture it. DeKalb was the home of
Isaac L. Ellwood and Jacob Haish, also manufacturers of barbed wire. Haish developed the S-barb. DeKalb became the manufacturing center for barbed wire, significant in the development of the west.

Lincoln Highway Seedling Mile

The Lincoln Highway was the first transcontinental, hard surface roadway in the United States. The Highway traversed 3,384 miles and twelve states - beginning in New York City and ending in San Francisco. Planned in 1913 by the Lincoln Highway Association, this roadway predated the Federal Highway System and later came under the jurisdiction of the State Highway Commissions along the route. The project was completed fourteen months after it began. The project began with a series of four 'seedling miles'--the first of which passed this site. Here, a one-mile section ten feet wide was paved with concrete in October 1914. The Malta 'seedling mile,' a former dirt and gravel road, became one of the first experiments in the use of concrete for the development of a better road surface. Due to the experimental nature of concrete and subsequent resistance of public highway officials at that time, completion of the Highway resulted from private enterprise and strong, local sponsorship for which the DeKalb County sponsors provided the model. The durab