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Western Illinois' Historic National Road

Road Trip

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Wikimedia Commons/Mitchell Schultheis
121.1 miles: 3 hours, 25 minutes
The Western Illinois' Historic National Road, part of our nation’s first federally funded highway, parallels I-70 on US 40 through Vandalia, heading southwest until it ends at the state line with Missouri, just shy of St. Louis. Kiosks along the route, which provided a passageway for pioneers traveling west, provide details about the drive.
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Effingham to Vandalia
40.7 miles: 1 hours, 3 minutes
Stroll downtown Effingham and take in Sculptures on the Avenues, featuring works of art in different mediums created by Midwestern artists. A striking 198-foot steel cross marks the junction of I-57 and I-70. In Altamont, the 1889 Dr. Charles M. Wright Mansion on Main Street exudes charm with its Second Empire style.
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Wikimedia Commons/Art davis
Vandalia to Greenville
20.2 miles: 30 minutes
The 1836 brick Federal-style Vandalia Statehouse, where Abraham Lincoln served while a member of the legislature in the 1830s, appears on the route. A Madonna of the Trail statue, which honors female pioneers, is on the statehouse grounds. Stop at the Historic National Road Interpretive Center on South 5th Street to see enlightening exhibits about the road.
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Wikimedia Commons/Andrew Keith
Greenville to Collinsville
46.7 miles: 1 hours, 20 minutes
Ride through sleepy small towns founded in the early 1800s. Check out downtown Greenville’s antique shops and trompe l’oeil murals. Take a break from the concrete at Highland’s Silver Lake Park; it’s a great spot to catch some fish, hike, go boating and play disc golf. In Collinsville, a water tower that looks like a ketchup bottle will catch your eye.
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flickr/Bryce Edwards
Collinsville to Missouri state line
13.5 miles: 32 minutes
The fascinating Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, home to a Native American civilization circa A.D. 900-1400, comprises 70 mounds; the 100-foot, 14-acre Monks Mound is a must-see. At the Missouri border, peer across the Mississippi River from the Eads Bridge and gaze at the Gateway Arch to the south.