Today Illinois Route 3 in large part retraces the route of the Kaskaskia-Cahokia Trail, one of the oldest roads in Illinois. The trail was first blazed by ancient Native Americans at the end of the last Ice Age, some 13,000 years ago. Around 1,000 years ago, native villages were established along the trail, and the trail linked the villages to the ancient native city at Cahokia Mounds. Seven hundred years later, the trail connected French Colonial forts and settlements, which were taken over by the British and were then captured by George Rogers Clark in 1788. The trail was used and improved by early American immigrants from eastern and southern states, who were followed by German immigrants, who improved the trail by constructing stone-arch bridges. Today remnants of this rich history are preserved along Route 3. A series of three lectures by researchers from the Illinois Department of Transportation and Illinois State Archaeological Survey will highlight important archaeological sites and historic buildings and bridges preserved along Route 3.
“Photo of archaeological excavations along IL Rt3 in ESTL for approach to new bridge is provided through the courtesy of the Illinois State Archaeological survey”