Roosevelt Road (Illinois State Route 38) runs from Chicago near the shores of Lake Michigan west to the City of Geneva and to points further west. It is one of many commercial transportation routes for the suburbs.
During my research I ran across the article reprinted below in italics appearing in the Wheaton Illinoian October 8, 1920. This article covers the early history of Roosevelt Road. I loved reading this particular article. It provides the context on the state of roads and the increasing use and acceptiblity of the automobile as a mode of transportation. I found Col. McCormick’s speech during the dedication of the Wheaton stretch of Roosevelt Road to be very prophetic:
“[Roosevelt] road dedicated last Saturday would be 100 feet wide instead of the present 18 feet, and that there would be six other concrete trunk highways connecting DuPage county with Chicago, and that in time these roads would be carrying more passengers and freight than the present steam and electric railroads with which this section is wonderfully well supplied.“
This particular road would also be used by the Daleiden, Schlick and Davis relatives and family in their travels throughout the area.
The Schlicks of Mack Road, Winfield and St. James Farm would own several Ford automobiles during their lifetime. The use of automobiles is noted in this article.The “Ford” is mentioned within the article. The Ford Model T during this time was so popular Henry Ford once said: “There’s no use trying to pass a Ford, because there’s always another one just ahead.” By the early nineteen twenties more than half of the registered automobiles in the world were Fords. More than 15,000,000 Model T’s were built and sold.
ROOSEVELT ROAD DEDICATED
The grand weather of last Saturday made possible the complete access of the dedication of the section of Roosevelt Road from Wheaton to 12th Street, and although the attendance at the ceremonies was far below what was expected and planned for, the program was carried out with just as much pep and earnestness as though there had been a million people present.
Wheaton took the $100 prize for the greatest number of autos in the parade, 64 passing the reviewing stand at the dedication point Governor Lowden was unexpectedly detained, but he send Frank I Bennett as his personal representative, who with W.G. Edens, S.E. Bradt (state supt. of highways), Supervisor Wm Hammerschmidt, Alice Roosevelt Longworth [daughter of Theodore Roosevelt] and others, saw to it that the last connecting link (a spot a foot square at the foot of Baker’s Hill) was properly laid about noon.
Arriving at Wheaton the crowd assembled at the court house grounds for the balance of the program which consisted of short talks by Frank Bennett, the governor’s representative. Senator Medill McCormick and his brother Col. Robert McCormick, S.E. Bradt, Hon E.N. Hurley [Edward Nash Hurley. Hurley’s estate was once located just east of Col McCormick’s Cantigny Estate. Hurley’s property is now part of the Wheaton Park District’s Hurley Gardens Park. Both estates are located off of Roosevelt Road] and others. States Attorney C. W. Hadley presided in his usual efficient way and his prefacing remarks were equally as well received as any of them.
The Wheaton Band was about an hour late getting on the job, but were the last to leave the grounds. The city firemen act as assistants to Marshall Grange, but their services were scarcely needed, as there was no jam whatever.
Robert McCormick, during the remarks, prophecied that in no distant future the road dedicated last Saturday would be 100 feet wide instead of the present 18 feet, and that there would be six other concrete trunk highways connecting DuPage county with Chicago, and that in time these roads would be carrying more passengers and freight than the present steam and electric railroads with which this section is wonderfully well supplied. We believe he is absolutely sound in his predictions, too. The almost complete motorization of the whole country makes roads of the “Roosevelt” character imperative, and these are bound to greatly cheapen and simplify distribution and travel. Paid for totally by the motorists of the state, we will all have to admit that automobiles, the use of which was looked upon with much skepticism 20 years ago, has been a god-send to the country after all, in supplying highways of the finest type know to the science of today. True, they are few in number, and of exasperating shortness at present, but in the years to come they will be as common as Fords are today, and the questions of distance will never enter in the problems of transportation and travel.
Wheaton, in DuPage county, being the seat of the hard-roads idea in this section, should be, and is, proud of the fact, and mightly glad to be the present terminus of one of the longest strecches of hard in the big state of Illinois.
Senator McCormick took particular pleasure during this talk, in eulogizing the man in whose honor the road is named – Theodore Roosevelt – the daughter of whom, Alice Longworth, sat in the speakers’ stand. Two quarts of water taken from the well at the Roosevelt summer home at Sagamore Hill, were used in mixing the mortar which completed the 25 mile stretch, and even thoouhg it was properly and carefully placed, we missedthe spirit of the great man himself, who was ever an idol of his people.
The bridge over Salt creek, just finished, came in for special ceremonies, and was dedicated in the name of Robert S. McCormick [Col. McCormick’s father], in memory of his activities for hard roads during his later days.