Day 3: September 30, 2007
Some Illinois PP-OO
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Buffalo, IL Buffalo, IL Buffalo, IL I met Pat Bremer at his motel and the two of us were on Old Route 36 at the west edge of Springfield about 8:45. Something caught our eyes in the little town of Buffalo and we made our first stop. I had been attracted by the old station which I realized was a working cafe only after we stopped. The 15 MPH Speed Limit signs on the "frontage road" (an area that was more of a paved shoulder than a separate road) attracted Pat. We both liked the old interurban power station. I popped into the cafe for a cup of coffee and a dab of conversation. The present owners have had it for about two years and it was the previous owner who made it into a cafe which they operated for ten years or so. They showed me a 1940's photo of the station with tall pumps across the front.

Old US-36, IL This picture of the straight and level road was taken through my windshield which explains that authentic early morning blurriness.

Illiopolis, IL As planned, we met up with roadie Rick Martin ( at a park in Illiopolis and while the three of us stood by the road looking over maps and making plans, Harold stopped his 1964 390 4-speed Galaxie beside us. There was no traffic to be affected by his mid-street parking and I have the impression that this is a common occurrence in this town - at least by this driver. Harold confirmed our suspicions that a gravel road west of town had once been the main route and we all had a pleasant chat about cars, roads, etc.

Old US-36, IL Old US-36, IL Armed with a GPS embedded route that Rick had previously looked over, I took the lead as we continued east on Old 36. When we pulled over at what turned out to be a Lincoln related historic marker, both Pat & Rick were talking of some abandoned roadway we had just passed. I blame the fact that I missed it entirely on my GPS responsibilities. We headed back and were soon standing on a section of concrete road that appeared to have been left behind in a minor straightening move. That's Pat & Rick in the second picture - out standing.

Decatur, IL Decatur, IL Decatur, IL Decatur, IL I missed again in Decatur. We had planned to stop at a park near downtown and I was looking for a big patch of green. Fortunately I did see Rick pull over behind me before I left town. The dome topped Transfer Station is one of the structures in the park and Rick had a copy of an old photo that includes it. My second photo shows the two road scholars trying to match the old picture with today's setting. They eventually decided that the station must have been moved and we set off on a successful hunt for its original location. As you can tell, this was a very important intersection. Pictures similar to the one Rick had can be seen here.

near White Heath, IL near White Heath, IL Near Monticello, I reminded the guys that my route resorted to the expressway for the chopped up area between there and White Heath. Rick has some possibilities and Pat had some grass to mow. Pat took to I-72 and I followed Rick along some very pleasant side roads which may or may not have been part of the PP-OO. Included was this spur which both Garmin and DeLorme label "E Old Rte 47". Rick (the one with long pants) braved the weeds to read "STATE RO". "AD 10" was our guess at the remainder.

ADDENDUM: Nov 6, 2007 - Following the trip, a discussion in the American Road Magazine Forum concluded that the spur with the marker was indeed part of the PP-OO. The marker is most likely a right of way marker ("STATE R.O.W."). The full discussion is here with chatter about the spur starting with October 2 entries.

near Saint Joseph, IL near Saint Joseph, IL near Saint Joseph, IL After a very good lunch outside a Champaign cafe, Rick took us down this interesting road near Saint Joseph. Curiously, both Garmin & DeLorme show a Monroe Street and a rail line (interurban?) crossing the Salt Fork but clearly neither has in quite some time although the rail bridge does still exist. In the middle picture, a fisherman can be seen sitting on it. The first picture is of the road as it departs the current US-150 west of Saint Joseph and the third is facing west (and the setting sun) in the town. A fellow living on the road verified that this was once US-150.

Fithian, IL Fithian, IL Fithian, IL The interurban station in Fithian is in the midst of some major rehabilitation. There were no clues as to whether the rehab involved a civic organization, a business, or possibly an individual who was turning the place into a residence.

Danville, IL Danville, IL Danville, IL Danville, IL Danville, IL Danville, IL We ended the day by solving a mystery. It is fact that Oakwood Avenue once crossed the North Fork of the Vermillion River in Danville and that the PP-OO followed it. Some online imagery even seemed to show a bridge still in existence but the road definitely no longer goes that way. On site, the situation quickly became clear. The majority of the bridge still stands but sections near each bank have been removed. It isn't easy to get a good view of the bridge but we tried and that includes crossing the river on a foot bridge to get that fourth photo. The last two pictures are from the east side after crossing over on US-150. There a less verbose sign explains the situation quite clearly and the bridge is even less visible and accessible.

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