Few know of the charms and attractions of I-55. One who does has written a book. LuAnn Cadden is co-author, with Ted Cable, of Traveling Through Illinois: Stories of I-55 Landmarks and Landscapes between St. Louis and Chicago, published by the History Press. The book makes note of the sights and history, milepost by milepost, including the never-built Kerner’s Curve, named for Gov. Otto Kerner, who wanted to route the road through Peoria when it was being planned in the 1960s.
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“And we wonder what the differences would be today if it didn’t go through some of those other towns, like Bloomington. It wouldn’t have gone through Bloomington or any of those little towns over there. But that was the big fight. He wanted it to go through Peoria,” she said. Instead, I-155 was built a quarter-century later – opening in 1992 – to connect Lincoln to Morton at I-74, near Peoria.
The book draws its information on the attractions along I-55 from research, interviews and the personal observations of the authors. Many books have been written about Route 66, and I-55 is the road that put Route 66 out of business in Illinois, running along the same alignment between East St. Louis and Joliet.