Illinois Corn Belt Route

The Auto Trail created a series of routes that some would question the purpose. Some of those start and end in Indiana. One starts in Indiana, but works its way due west out of the state toward the state that is in the name of the route: Illinois.

The original plan for the route was to start in Effner, Illinois, crossing the entire state to Burlington, Iowa. The Brook (Indiana) Reporter (23 February 1917) reprinted an article from the El Paso Journal (El Paso, Illinois) about the pending route. The plan was for the route to parallel the Toledo, Peoria & Western (TP&W) “and run from Effner to Burlington, Iowa.” Citizens from several towns “formally launched the Illinois Corn Belt Route to traverse the highway east of Peoria to the state line at Effner and west of Peoria through Farmington to the Mississippi River at Burlington The route is a straight bee line through the state east and west.”

Had it stayed in Illinois, then why would it be included on Indiana Transportation History. Because there was another route that was being put together at the time called the Peoria Detroit Air Line. That route was to traverse the Illinois Corn Belt to Effner, then connect across Indiana via Logansport and Fort Wayne.

In the end, the Peoria Detroit Air Line would not be built. A close look at a map would make one realize that the proposed Peoria Detroit Air Line would have basically followed what is now old US 24 across Indiana. The Illinois Corn Belt Route was moved to start in Logansport. From there, it worked it’s way across Cass, White, Jasper and Newton Counties for the Illinois State Line. It, too, followed the now US 24 corridor across the Hoosier State.

1920 Rand McNally Auto Trails map, with the Illinois Corn Belt Route marked by the number [30].

There isn’t much to write about this route. From Logansport, what will become the US 24 corridor to Toledo would be covered by the Wabash Way to Fort Wayne. With the exception of the road directly out of Logansport, most of Illinois Corn Belt Route, at least in Indiana, is part of US 24. And US 421. And US 231. And US 52.

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