The Curious Case of the Illinois 22 Loop (And the Etymology of Half-Day)

Illinois Route 22 is a state route in far northeast Illinois, running between US 14 in Fox River Grove and US 41 in Highland Park, about 20 miles in length. Outside of about half a mile of the road west of Primrose Ln in McHenry County, the road is almost entirely in Lake County.

East of US 45, the road is known as "Half Day Road", named for the local settlement that once existed that is now part of the villages of Vernon Hills and Lincolnshire, IL. Contrary to popular belief, Half-Day wasn't named such because it was a half day's trip via horse to Chicago. Instead, it owes its existence to a poor translation of a Potawatomi chief known as "Aptakisic". According to WBEZ, Aptakisic "was said to have lived with his tribe along the Fox River. Aptakisic’s name roughly translated to “center of the sky” or “half day.” Other accounts suggest the name meant “He who could do a whole day’s work in half a day.” "

Photo postcard of iron bridge over Indian Creek, Half Day (today's Lincolnshire), circa 1910. BBDM 92.27.82. (This bridge was either part of present-day US-45 or IL-22)

Two nearby roads are named in his honor, Aptakisic Road in Lake County and Aptakisic Road in Cook County. Since both roads run through the village of Buffalo Grove, they're sometimes referred to as Aptakisic Long Road (Lake) and Aptakisic Short Road (Cook).

Back on track now, what most people don't know is that this route got its start as a much longer "belt" around the Chicago area, known early on as the "22 Loop". It got its start with the original State Bond Issue Routes, or "SBI"s in 1918, which corresponded to its posted number, thus it was SBI 22.

In an awkward alignment, it began near its current location, but continued north along US-41 until Old Elm Road, where, along with IL-59A (present-day IL-60), it headed east and ended at IL-42, now the unnumbered Sheridan Road at Fort Sheridan.

From Fox River Grove, it then continued northwest along present day US 14, then ran south along US 430 (present day IL-31) to Aurora, and then southeast to Joliet and eventually the Illinois/Indiana State Line along present day US Highway 30

From the 1931 Illinois Highway Map. Start at Fort Sheridan in the north, and you can trace the entirely of the IL-22 Loop on this map. Interestingly, the present-day alignment is entirely in black. Also noteworthy, US Highway 430 is incorrectly labeled as an Illinois State Highway.

Throughout much of its alignment, it was part of a multiplex with US highways or other Illinois routes, with the exception of its present alignment in Lake and McHenry Counties, although it is important to note that this route predated the US Highway system by eight years, and thus when it was first created, much of it was not multiplexed with any routes, but would largely be replaced by US-30 and 430 when the system was created in 1926. Nonetheless, this Loop alignment would until 1937, eleven years after US Highways.

Thanks as always for reading!


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