Archer Avenue

Archer Avenue, sometimes known as Archer Road outside the Chicago, Illinois city limits, and also known as State Street only in Lockport, Illinois and Fairmont, Illinois city limits, is a street running northeast-to-southwest between Chicago's Chinatown and Lockport. Archer follows the original trail crossing the Chicago Portage between the Chicago River and the Des Plaines River, and parallels the path of the Illinois and Michigan Canal and the Alton Railroad. As a main traffic artery, it has largely been replaced by the modern Stevenson Expressway.

Archer Avenue (Archer Road)
Ronald J. Bragassi Memorial Road
State Street (Lockport and Fairmont only)
Archer Avenue, Chicago, Illinois (11052002023).jpg
Archer Avenue north of Midway Airport
Part of IL 83 / IL 171
Length33.6 mi (54.1 km)
Southwest endDartmouth Avenue (turns into Collins Street locally)41°35′49″N 88°03′14″W / 41.59704°N 88.053834°W / 41.59704; -88.053834
Northeast endState Street (approx. 1900 South) 41°51′23″N 87°37′38″W / 41.856514°N 87.627172°W / 41.856514; -87.627172

The street was named after the first commissioner of the Illinois and Michigan Canal, William Beatty Archer.[1] One early map of Chicago[2] (ca. 1830) listed what may have been the future Archer Road as "The Road to Widow Brown's"[nb 1].

Route descriptionEdit

The east end of Archer begins in Chicago's Chinatown, then passes through the Bridgeport, McKinley Park and Brighton Park neighborhoods on its way to Archer Heights and Garfield Ridge. Outside Chicago, Archer Avenue/Road passes through the villages of Summit, Justice, Willow Springs, and the southern edge of Lemont before terminating on the north side of Lockport. Between Summit and Lockport, Archer Avenue is designated as a part of Illinois Route 171.

Points of interestEdit

Southwest of Lemont, Archer passes Cog Hill Golf & Country Club, site of numerous Professional Golfers Association tournaments.


Historically, this section of Archer was a part of Illinois Route 4, the original 1924 highway connecting St. Louis and Chicago.[4] In 1926, Route 4 was rerouted to the north side of the Des Plaines River on an alignment that subsequently became U.S. Route 66, and its former route on Archer was redesignated as Illinois Route 4A.[5] By 1939, Route 4A had been extended along most of Archer Avenue into Downtown Chicago.[6] In 1967, Route 4A was truncated back to Summit and merged into Illinois Route 171.[7]

Historical sitesEdit

The former site of Argonne National Laboratory and its predecessor, the University of Chicago Metallurgical Laboratory in the forest preserve near Red Gate Woods, can be entered from an access road on Archer Avenue.[8] This was once a secret Manhattan Project site, and is now known as the Site A/Plot M Disposal Site. Chicago Pile-1 (CP-1), the world's first nuclear reactor, was moved from Stagg Field to this site in 1943 and renamed Chicago Pile-2 (CP-2). The remains of CP-1, CP-2, and Chicago Pile-3 (CP-3) remain buried at this site.

A defunct Playland Amusement Park opened in mid-summer of 1950 which, at the time, was located in Willow Springs, Illinois. Back then, Willow Springs used to be an unincorporated community. The amusement park was located at 9300 West 79th Street in present-day Justice, Illinois.[9]

In popular cultureEdit

The main gate of Resurrection Cemetery on Archer Avenue, reputedly the home of Resurrection Mary

Archer Avenue was made famous by Finley Peter Dunne in his books and sketches about the fictional saloonkeeper Mr. Dooley, whose tavern was on "Archey Road". The fictional Dooley "lived" in the real-life Bridgeport, Chicago neighborhood.

Archer Avenue is also famous as the purported haunting place of Resurrection Mary, a vanishing hitchhiker who is said to travel between the Willowbrook Ballroom and Resurrection Cemetery.[10][11]

Major intersectionsEdit

IL 171 south (Collins Street)
Continuation beyond Dartmouth Avenue
JolietFairmont line0.00.0Dartmouth AvenueSouthwestern terminus
Lockport2.74.3  IL 7 (9th Street)
I-355 Toll (Veterans Memorial Tollway)
CookLemont Township12.319.8 
IL 83 south (111th Street)
Southern end of IL 83 overlap
IL 83 north (Kingery Highway)
Northern end of IL 83 overlap
Willow Springs17.728.5CR W79 (Nolton Avenue)
Willow SpringsJustice line18.730.1    
US 12 / US 20 / US 45 (La Grange Road) / I-294 Toll south (Tri-State Tollway)
I-294 southbound entrance only; to mainline toll barrier
Justice19.230.979th StreetNorthbound IL 171 exit; southbound IL 171 entrance
IL 171 north (1st Avenue)
Northern end of IL 171 overlap
SummitChicago line23.237.3  IL 43 (South Harlem Avenue)
Chicago26.342.3  IL 50 (South Cicero Avenue)
33.654.1South State StreetNortheastern terminus
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


The seat of the Polish Highlanders Alliance of North America along Archer Avenue just northwest of its intersection with Pulaski.
  1. ^ "There is a dispute about the route taken from Chicago to Widow Brown's house in the woods on the north branch of Hickory Creek (east of Mokena). One historian asserts that it went southwest (on Archer Ave. to Justice Park), thence ... . Others assert that it went southward on State St. and Vincennes Ave. on the road to Blue Island, and thence southwesterly on what is now the Southwest Highway."[3]


  1. ^ Encyclopedia of Chicago Archived September 29, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  2. ^ Map of Hardscrabble Area, 1830
  3. ^ "Nature Bulletin 738 Early Cook County Roads -- Park One". Nature Bulletins. Forest Preserve District of Cook County (Illinois). 1964-01-11. Retrieved 2009-04-28.
  4. ^ Illinois Secretary of State (1924). Illinois Official Auto Trails Map (Map). [c. 1:950,000 and c. 1:1,110,000]. Springfield: Illinois Secretary of State – via Illinois Digital Archives.
  5. ^ Illinois Secretary of State; Rand McNally (1926). Illinois Official Auto Road Map (Map). [c. 1:950,000 and c. 1:1,110,000]. Springfield: Illinois Secretary of State – via Illinois Digital Archives.
  6. ^ Illinois Secretary of State; Rand McNally (1939). Illinois Road Map (Map) (1939–1940 ed.). c. 1:918,720. Springfield: Illinois Secretary of State – via Illinois Digital Archives.
  7. ^ Illinois Division of Highways; Rand McNally (1967). Illinois Official Highway Map (Map). [1:772,500]. Springfield: Illinois Division of Highways – via Illinois Digital Archives.
  8. ^ Argonne National Laboratory Archived June 16, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Playland Amusement Park Facebook Group
  10. ^ "Haunted Archer Avenue!". Archived from the original on 2007-08-14. Retrieved 2007-06-01.
  11. ^ Ursula Bielski, Chicago Haunts: Ghostlore of the Windy City, 2nd ed., Chicago: Lake Claremont Press, 1997.
  12. ^ "Archer Avenue (Chicago-Joliet) Map".

External linksEdit