The final event to mark the 100th anniversary of the organizing of Dixie Highway, the country’s first interstate route, will be a 10 a.m. ceremony on Michigan Avenue in downtown Chicago on Thursday, Oct. 8.
The ceremony, hosted by the A’s R Us Model A Ford Club, will be at the intersection of Jackson Boulevard and Michigan Avenue, just steps from the Art Institute of Chicago’s front doors. Vintage cars will be on display from 9:30 to 11 a.m. and speakers will highlight the significance of the road that stretches from downtown Chicago to Miami.
The Dixie Highway was America’s first north-south interstate highway, according to club official and Homewood historian Jim Wright who is helping organize the Oct. 8 event. He said the program will be similar to the one Oct. 9. 1915, when a motorcade of citizens, government and highway officials set out on an inspection tour of existing roads that were identified to be improved to form the highway.
The Dixie Highway follows Chicago’s Michigan Avenue south to Garfield Boulevard (55th Street), then west to Western Avenue. The highway then travels south through suburbs, including Blue Island, Homewood, Chicago Heights, Crete and points south to Danville where the highway heads east into Indiana.
The A’s R Us Model A Ford Club and communities along the Dixie Highway route have been celebrating the centennial. In Homewood, Dixie Highway is the main thoroughfare through downtown and one of the primary links of Homewood and Flossmoor.
The club has sponsored the installation of roadside interpretive signage along the highway. Currently signs are in place in 11 communities and plans call for eight to10 more to be in place by year’s end.
The new Dixie Highway sign in Homewood’s Independence Park, Dixie and Hickory Road, was dedicated by the Model A Club on Aug. 15.