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Brick Road.

1918 Brick National Road

Field review by the editors.

Marshall, Illinois

The National Road was America's interstate first highway, but much of it remained a muddy track until World War I, when trucks full of military supplies had to get from Chicago to the East Coast ports. The road had to be paved, but the technology was still in its infancy, so large sections of the highway were blanketed with bricks, many of them set in place by gangs of prisoners. Despite its impressive title, the National Road was barely wide enough to allow one lane in each direction. Back then there wasn't much traffic.

Over subsequent decades most of the National Road was properly paved over by what became U.S. Highway 40, but some sections were bypassed and became rural side roads. If the traffic was light enough -- like on this section -- the original bricks survived, and you can still drive on a road that hasn't been resurfaced in over 100 years.

1918 Brick National Road

15069-14959 US-40, Marshall, IL
I-70 exit 147. Drive south on IL-1 for one mile. At the stoplight, turn right onto US-40. Drive 2.8 miles. Just before you cross a little bridge you'll see a small road entrance on the left. Turn there, and you'll see the old brick road paralleling US-40.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

World's Largest GavelWorld's Largest Gavel, Marshall, IL - 2 mi.
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In the region:
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