100 Year Old Turkey Tracks Still Visible on this Forgotten Section of Route 66 Near Springfield, Illinois
It was the early 1920s when the US Highway system was being blazed across the nation. The most legendary and storied road, was of course, Route 66. There's a long-forgotten and bypassed section of the highway that still bears tracks of turkeys who crossed the wet pavement in the 1920s, 100 years ago.
The tracks are in southern Illinois on the old road between Springfield and St. Louis. You can find them near the town of Nilwood where Donaldson Road turns off of State Road 4. Donaldson Road is the old alignment for US 66.
A website dedicated to Route 66 shares the story of the making of the Turkey Tracks:
These tracks predate Route 66 (created in 1926) because they were made when Illinois Route 4 was paved in concrete in the early 1920s between Chicago and St. Louis something that took place between 1921 and 1926....There were no wild turkeys in Nilwood Illinois in the 1920s because they had been eliminated by human activities a decade earlier.
The culprit then must have been domestic turkeys from a nearby farm.
Here's a look at the turkey tracks:
Recent photos of the Turkey Tracks and the roads leading to it were shared on the Abandoned and Historic Roads of the US Facebook group.
It's another nearly-forgotten piece of Americana that reminds us that the most interesting experiences happen when you get off the interstate and discover the backroads.
Old Route 66 is well marked and fairly easily traveled through Illinois, but there's one section you can't drive one. In the town of McCook near Chicago, the roadway under the old Route 66/Joliet Road is unstable due to a nearby quarry so the road, while is still exists, is barricaded and undrivable. The area is patrolled by local police, so any visits are strongly advised against.
Driving the old Route 66 end to end, from Chicago to Santa Monica is a dream for many, but it's hardly the old road trip worth making across America. Here are some must-drive roads from all over the US.