A Road by Any Other Name – Chicago Magazine


The Edens Expressway in Illinois was not named after the biblical garden, but after William G. Edens, a prominent advocate for good roads in the state in the early 20th century. Edens, also a banker and vice president of the Central Trust Company of Chicago, contributed significantly to the improvement of the state’s road infrastructure. A passionate member of the Good Roads Movement, he proposed a $60 million bond issue to pay for 4,800 miles of hard roads, a proposal that was highly supported by the rapidly growing numbers of automobile owners. Upon the dedication of the state’s first expressway in 1951, it was named after Edens, commemorating him as “the man who pulled Illinois out of the mud.”

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