In late 1997, a wide variety of history, heritage, and tourism organizations across Illinois joined together to form a coalition for mutual development of the Lincoln Highway Corridor as a destination for travelers and as an alternative route for crossing the state.
The Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition (ILHC) developed an application that led to its designation as the Lincoln Highway National Scenic Byway in June, 2000. The Illinois Bureau of Tourism also designated the Illinois Lincoln Highway as a Heritage Tourism Demonstration Project in 2001.
The project is designed to increase and sustain heritage tourism in the communities where the Lincoln Highway had or has an impact and to maximize the opportunity of the Lincoln Highway for the educational and economic benefit of the public, starting with the residents of Illinois.
The Coalition will provide services to participating communities, sites and residents throughout Illinois to help them develop their Lincoln Highway story and experiences. The Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition will implement a strong central marketing campaign that will promote the "Every Mile is a Story" image and the ability to experience those stories through the participating sites and services and Road Trip Packages. The Lincoln Highway runs approximately 179 miles through Northern Illinois, crossing through eight (8) counties: Cook, Will, Kendall, Kane, DeKalb, Ogle, Lee and Whiteside, as well as 32 individual municipalities. During its 179-mile trek, the Lincoln Highway offers authentic Lincoln Highway sites and attractions including the first seedling mile (one of the original one-mile paved pieces of roadway) near Malta and Rochelle's Filling Station. Travelers can also stop at scores of additional attractions along the route such as the I& M Canal State Trail, Riverboat gaming, historic movie palaces, hiking and biking trails, architecturally significant homes, Ronald Reagan's boyhood home and the Victory Arch.
Today, travelers in search of "real" America who want to travel at a leisurely pace can trace the Lincoln Highway through Illinois and ponder automobile travel when the "Tin Lizzie" ruled America's roads. Take a "Road Trip" through urban cityscapes, cozy riverfront towns and rolling prairie, from its eastern portal at Lynwood to its Mississippi River crossing at Fulton, entertainment and adventure can be found around every corner. Recapture the adventure. Reconnect with the landscape. Rediscover the threads of history woven together along Illinois' Lincoln Highway.
Enjoy your Road Trip on the Illinois Lincoln Highway where Every Mile is a Story!