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The new Dixie Highway 
interpretive sign was on 
display in June during the 
Drivin’ the Dixie event.
by Eric Crump/HF Chronicle)

The Dixie Highway marks its 100th anniversary this year, and Homewood will mark the milestone with the dedication at 10:30 a.m. Saturday of a new interpretive sign in Independence Park.

The sign at the intersection of Dixie Highway and Hickory Road is one of a number installed to celebrate the centennial. Participating Dixie Highway communities and the A’s R Us Model A Ford Club, which co-sponsors the annual Drivin’ the Dixie historical tour and rolling car show, are underwriting the costs of interpretive signs to be installed in each community, according to a news release from the club.

The concept of the sign project is not only a way of promoting the 2015 centennial of the Dixie Highway, but each sign will be a permanent fixture in the community and an attraction for those driving the Dixie Highway who are interested in learning about the history of the highway and each community it passes through.  The goal of the project is to have a sign placed in each community from Chicago to Danville by October 2015.

The project was initially proposed by the club, which is coordinating the project.  Photos and text are being provided by representatives of each community.  GL Studios of Blue Island is providing the graphic design and layout work and Visu-Com Signs of Mokena is producing the signs.

The first sign was installed in Blue Island on May 7 and was dedicated on June 12. In addition to Blue Island, signs currently are in place in Steger, Crete, Beecher, Grant Park and Homewood.

Plans call for additional signs to be installed in Chicago Heights, Hazel Crest and Momence and further south in Milford, Hoopeston and Danville in September.  When the project is completed, a total of 18 to 20 signs will be installed along the highway in Illinois as a result of this grassroots effort.

Routed in 1915, the Dixie Highway was the first north-south paved “interstate” highway that stretched from Chicago to Miami. In Illinois, the highway travels about 136 miles from Chicago to Danville, where it turns east and heads into Indiana.

Today, the Dixie Highway in Illinois, alternately known by names like Western Avenue, Chicago Road or Route 1, remains the backbone of the communities it passes through.

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