The History of Greenup, Illinois
What do Interstate 70 exit 119, state routes 121 and 130, and U.S. Route 40, which is part of the original National Road, all have in common? Greenup Illinois! Traveling any of these routes will bring you to this wonderful small town America.
Its historic overhanging porches beckon you to walk the business district and enjoy the feeling of being in another time when life was slower paced and simpler. The business district of Greenup is on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of the businesses have been appropriately turned into antique malls and shops.
The main street has its own claim to fame as part of the original National Road. This historic trail, which is now U.S. Route 40, spans the nation from Cumberland, MD, to Vandalia, IL, and is the first and only federally funded and built interstate road officially connecting the east to westward expansion. Although some of the trail has been consumed by progress or removed, Greenup is proud that its main street, though repaved, is a part of that original trail still in use.
At the west end of Greenup’s stretch of the National Road sets a breathtaking view of the Jackson covered bridge spanning the Embarras River — just as it did in pioneer days. The bridge accommodates one lane of traffic and welcomes travelers to be able to say they have traveled across the longest single-span covered bridge not posted with restrictions in the United States.