Fort Massac Tourist Information Center
5402 Hwy 45 South
Metropolis, IL 62960
Fort Massac Tourist Information Center is named after Fort Massac State Park. Fort Massac State Park is Illinois' first State Park. In 1757, French soldiers built a wooden fort at the southern tip of Illinois bordering the Ohio River. This wooden fort would later be called Fort Massac, named after the French minister of Colonial Affairs, M. de Massiac. Fort Massac was added to the National Register of Historic Places and in 1908 the fort was dedicated as Illinois' First State Park. Fort Massac Tourist Information Center is located at the entrance of Shawnee National Forest. Fort Massac Tourist Information Center is also located on the Ohio Scenic Byway.
Cumberland Road Tourist Information Center
I-70 Rest Area-Westbound
Marshall, IL 62441
In the early 1800's, settlers moving west of the Ohio River wanted to expand the territory and expressed the need for a better road from the eastern part of the United States. Starting in 1827, the first national highway was constructed from Cumberland, Maryland to Vandalia, Illinois. Later designated as U.S. 40, this highway was also known as the National Road, National Pike, and Cumberland Road. The influence of the Cumberland name extends as far west as Cumberland County, Illinois, which is located 25 miles from U.S. 40, which runs parallel to 1-70.
Silver Lake Tourist Information Center
I-70 Rest Area-Eastbound
Highland, IL 62249
Silver Lake Tourist Information Center received its name because the facility is situated on a parcel of land that encompasses the 550 acres of land that contains Silver Lake. Silver Lake, established in 1962, is the premiere water supply for the city of Highland, IL. Silver Lake is also used as a recreational area for fishing, hiking, and picnicking.
Prairie View North
I-57 Rest Area-Northbound
North of Peotone Entrance
Monee, IL 60449
Prairie View South
I-57 Rest Area-Southbound
South of Monee Exit
Monee, IL 60449
The Prairie View Rest Areas' name was derived from the French explorers who used their word for meadow when they witnessed the massive grasslands of what is now Illinois. It is believed that over half of the entire state was covered with what they called prairie grass.
The prairie is an ecological system that mostly flourishes between March and October. The rest area is built on this rich prairie soil which allowed a vast grassland to develop and occupy the area in pre-settlement times. A portion of grassland was created on the grounds along the back border of the property. For many years each spring, the grass would be burned off to allow the regeneration of grass and an array of horticultural specimens to bloom. This process would emulate the natural grass fires that would have occurred. Visitors can "view the prairie" from the facility's back glass walk or take a walk on the west border for a closer look.
Rend Lake North
80N I-57 NORTHBOUND
Whittington, IL 62897
The Rend Lake Rest Area (located on Rend Lake property) was actually named after Rend Lake, the second largest man-made lake in Illinois. Rend Lake was named after Rend City. Rend Lake is 18,900 acres, 3 miles wide, 13 miles long, and has 162 miles of shoreline. Rend Lake features nearly 800 campsites; 2 beaches; marinas; 27 holes of championship golf; Seasons Lodge, Restaurant & Conference Center; Rend Lake Resort & Conference Center; and a full range of outdoor activities.
Salt Kettle Tourist Information Center
Oakwood, IL 61858
The Salt Kettle Tourist Information Center was named after the iron kettle, which was a monument on route 150 until the rest area was built. In the early 1800’s, iron kettles were used for the commercial production of salt at the old salt works, known as the Vermilion Salines. Salt springs were found by the Kickapoo and Piankeshaw Indians. Later, settlers dug wells 50 feet deep and the salt water was boiled in large iron kettles which produced one bushel per 100 gallons of water. In a good week between 60 and 80 bushels of salt were produced. The kettle became a symbol of progress. The official shield of Vermilion County displays a silhouette of a salt kettle and the motto “ye are the salt of the earth.” The salt works became the area’s first industry.
Homestead Tourist Information Center
I-55 Rest Area-Northbound
Hamel, IL 62046
Homestead Tourist Information Center received its name because of the early settlers that established farmsteads within the Hamel, Illinois proximity. The Homestead Tourist Information Center also has a Route 66 theme. This is due to the fact that parts of Interstate 55 are on the original Route 66.
Turtle Creek Tourist Information Center
1 I-90 Rest Area-Southbound
South Beloit, IL 61080
Turtle Creek joins the Rock River about 2.5 miles northwest of the Turtle Creek Tourist Information Center and was a major Indian use area from the time of the prehistoric Mound Builders to the 19th century Winnerbagoes. Other tribes using the area throughout history include the Sac (Sauk), Fox, Ottawa, Menominee, Pottawatomie, and Chippewa. As late as 1865, Indians returned from their relocation land west of the Mississippi River to visit their ancestral home on the Turtle Creek. The origin of the name Turtle Creek possibly came from an Indian effigy mound in the shape of a turtle that was once on the Beloit College Campus overlooking the Rock River. The mounds was 75 feet long, 30 feet wide, and less than 2 feet in height.