Collection provided by: Illinois State Library
The history of the Illinois state highway map was written by Ron Peddicord and published as “The Evolution of the Illinois Official Highway Map, 1917 to 1992” in Illinois GIS&MapNotes, v. 11, no. 2, Summer 1993, p. 2-12. In that article, Ron details the evolution of printing in black and white versus color and on one side versus both sides, the change in the line and point symbols showing roads and other types of information, the different cartographic companies making the map, and other facets of its history. Ron also states that the Illinois State Library owns one of the two definitive collections of the Illinois state highway map. This historic run is so valuable for so many purposes that the State Library map staff chose to scan the state highway map as one of its first web map access projects. The State Library holds the Governors/Div. of Highways/IDOT version as well as the Secretary of State’s version but only the Secretary of State’s version was scanned except for some years, such as the 1950’s and 1960’s, when only a Div. of Highways version was published.
The description of the covers of all versions can be found at http://www.roadmaps.org/omml/il.html and some of the cover images of the official map can be found at http://www.dot.state.il.us/mapcover/pastmaps.html. However, the full map, front and back, has never been available on the web before. Starting in 1917, when the roads were trails and were named instead of numbered, through the early years of Rt. 66, the beginning of the interstate highway system, to the present day, one can watch the Pontiac Trail become Rt. 66 and then fade into memory as I-55 erases Rt. 66.
The web version of the images is JPEG2000. Upon request, the State Library map staff can send a TIFF version or can make a full-scale color paper copy.