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|State Bond Issue Highways|
The first highways in Illinois to receive state funding were known as State Bond Issue (SBI) highways. Two phases of the program were launched in 1918 and 1924. Under this program, new highways were built and old highways were improved, and they all received SBI route numbers.
SBI Route 19
SBI Route 19 followed the path of current Route 14. It was laid out as part of the first phase of state funding in 1918. When the route was first planned, it incorporated already-existing roads and streets whenever possible. According to a 1908 plat book, a dirt road already linked the towns of Crystal Lake, Woodstock and Harvard, and a short road also linked Cary and Fox River Grove.
Plans got underway in 1922. At this point, there were still two questions to resolve regarding the path of the new highway. First, should it travel from Barrington to Crystal Lake via Fox River Grove and Cary, as originally planned? Or should it go through Algonquin and travel north on Virginia Street, as proposed by Algonquin and Elgin road boosters? The road commissioners decided in favor of the Fox River Grove/Cary route in 1923.
The second question involved the location of a crucial railroad crossing. At some point, SBI Route 19 would need to cross from the north side of the Chicago & Northwestern tracks to the south side. The original plans placed this crossing north of Crystal Lake. When it was announced in 1923 that SBI Route 22 (now Route 31) would travel north through Algonquin to meet up with Route 19, the decision was made to locate the railroad crossing south of town in order to allow the two highways to meet with only one rail crossing. All that remained was to decide where to cross the tracks, at the Four Oaks crossing (Three Oaks Road) or a bit farther north at Steerville? Officials chose Steerville, and this is where the railroad viaduct is located today.
Actual construction took place between 1923 and 1925. When the road was officially dedicated, everything was complete, except for a stretch of highway near Harvard (paved in 1944) and the railroad viaduct at Steerville, which would not be finished until 1930. During this time, Route 19 made a detour, which I believe followed the path of Smitana Road to Sands Road, where it traveled south over the tracks to meet up with the Route 19 pavement.
This highway was dubbed the Northwest Highway, and was known by its SBI route number until at least 1934. Some portions of the highway were also incorporated into other routes. For a time in 1928 and 1929, the stretch of highway between Wisconsin and Crystal Lake was known as Temporary US Route 12. The portion of the highway between Crystal Lake and Fox River Grove was part of SBI Route 22.
|SBI Route 22|
Route 22 was also included in the first phase of state funding in 1918, although it wasn't added to the list of proposed highways until a few years later. This highway went through several changes before the final route was chosen.
At first, Route 22 was intended to be a cement highway traveling from Aurora to Algonquin along the Fox River Trail (now Route 31). The plans were then revised to extend the highway north along Virginia Street to meet up with SBI Route 19 in Crystal Lake. From here, it would head north on McHenry Avenue and then travel to McHenry on Walkup Road.
In 1925, these plans were scrapped in favor of the final route, which was actually a combination of three highways. In Crystal Lake, SBI Route 19 would be the meeting place of Route 22 coming north from Aurora and Route 22 coming west from Waukegan. In the south, Route 22 would travel east from Aurora to Lynwood on the Lincoln Highway (now Route 30). This created a loop around the entire Chicagoland area, and the highway was soon referred to as the 22 Loop.
When the federal highway program was launched in 1925, portions of SBI Route 22 were incorporated into new US highways. In 1928, the portion between Fox River Grove and Crystal Lake became part of US Route 12, and in 1933 the portion between Crystal Lake and Dundee became part of US Route 14. During this time, these roads were known by both state and federal numbers.
The SBI number was dropped in the mid 1930s. Today, the stretch of highway between Waukegan and Highland Park is known as Route 41, and the highway between Crystal Lake and Aurora is now US Route 31. The only portion of the original highway to retain the number 22 is the stretch from Highland Park to Fox River Grove.
SBI Route 61
Route 61 was laid out as part of the second phase of state funding in 1924. This highway followed the path of current Route 31 from Richmond to Crystal Lake. Construction took place in 1927 and 1928, with the exception of the southernmost section. This section, stretching from the Chicago & Northwestern railroad tracks to SBI Route 19 (now Route 14) was completed in 1930 after the bridge over the railroad tracks was finished. Before this, a detour took motorists from the end of the pavement over to Sands Road, where they could cross the tracks and meet up with Route 19.
When the southern section was finished, it created a four-way intersection at the point where SBI Route 22 met up with SBI Route 19. This intersection became known as the wye.
The completion of SBI Route 61 coincided with the creation of US Route 12, and the SBI highway was incorporated into the US highway. The road was known by both numbers until the mid 1930s.
US highways in Crystal Lake before 1938
12 = 1928-1938
14 = 1933-1938
The Federal Highway Program began in 1925. Under this program, designated highways received funding from the federal government. A countrywide numbering system and a series of official road signs were also devised.
Many US routes followed the paths of already-existing SBI routes. In these instances, the highways went by both numbers, until the SBI numbering system was dropped in the mid 1930s.
US Route 12
In 1928, the original path of this highway followed current Routes 12 and 31 from Wisconsin to Crystal Lake, and then turned east and headed into Chicago on current Route 14. In McHenry County, the route was assembled from SBI Route 61 and the portion of SBI Route 19 east of Crystal Lake. As with most state roads, Route 12 was also referred to by its SBI route numbers until well into the 1930s.
US Routes 12 and 14 intersected in Crystal Lake, where present-day Routes 14 and 31 intersect. This crossing (the wye) was very dangerous, and in 1938 the number of traffic fatalities prompted officials to reroute the highway completely. Route 12 now took an easterly turn just south of Richmond and headed into Lake County, where it followed the path of Rand Road through Wauconda, Lake Zurich and Des Plaines. In 1939, the wye was completely rebuilt and an overpass was constructed to make the intersection safer. You can read about it at my Crystal Lake Roads page.
US Route 14
Route 14 was established in 1933. At first, the path of this highway was assembled from portions of SBI Routes 19 and 22. It started out in Wisconsin and came through Harvard and Woodstock, just like it does now. But in Crystal Lake, it turned south and followed the path of current Route 31 to Dundee, then turned east to follow the path of current Route 72 into Chicago. It would remain on this path until 1938, when it was rerouted to the current Route 14.
US Route 31
By 1935, SBI Route 22 came to an end in Fox River Grove. By 1938, Routes 12 and 14 had been moved to their current paths. This left a large portion of the north-south highway without a number. In 1938, this road was given the number 31.
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