Illinois History Minutes

June 13 Illinois History Minute


It’s June 13, and on this day in 1851, the Northwestern Plank Road was completed along Milwaukee Avenue from Chicago as far as Niles, a 14-mile distance. Plank Roads were toll roads offering wooden tracks to keep wagons out of the mud. They were at the peak of their popularity in the mid-19th century but were eventually abandoned as more durable paving methods were developed. 

Harold “Red” Grange was born in Pennsylvania on this day in 1903, but he would find fame as a football halfback at the University of Illinois. Grange led the Fighting Illini to a national championship in 1923. Then, at a time when many disapproved of college players turning pro, Red Grange signed up with the Chicago Bears, helping to bring legitimacy to the National Football League.