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Drivin’ the Dixie preserving route’s storied history

Craig from Oak Lawn sports his 1971 Dodge Charger during Southland's 'Driving Dixie' event Saturday June 21 2014. | Evan

Craig, from Oak Lawn, sports his 1971 Dodge Charger during the Southland's 'Driving the Dixie' event on Saturday, June 21, 2014. | Evan F. Moore/For Sun-Times Media.

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Updated: July 24, 2014 6:23AM



Vintage vehicles were in abundance on the Dixie Highway this weekend.

Onlookers may have seen a 1971 Dodge Charger, a 1996 Chevy Impala or a 1964 Corvair Spider.

Participants in the 13th annual “Drivin’ the Dixie,” which took place Saturday afternoon in the Southland, followed the scavenger-hunt-like instructions that lead them through the towns of Blue Island, Markham, Homewood, Flossmoor, Chicago Heights and Momence.

The participants registered at the Thornton Quarry. They were given a passport that they validated throughout the drive.

Jim Wright, of Homewood, is the author of “The Dixie Highway in Illinois,” along with being a retired Homewood firefighter. He has participated in the drive since its inception. He drove a 1966 Ford Homewood Fire Department vehicle.

“We started the (Homewood) Heritage Committee. One of the charges of that committee was by the mayor to promote the Dixie Highway,” Wright said. “The committee approached communities up and down the Dixie Highway in Illinois to get involved in the promotional effort in what we know as ‘Drivin’ the Dixie.’”

Elaine Egdorf, founding president and current director of the Homewood Historical Society along with being the president of the South Suburban Heritage Association, says the drive is all about preserving the Dixie’s history.

“The reason we went to the quarry today was because years ago, the Dixie Highway was Hubbard’s trail and Vincent’s trail,” she said. “Gordon Hubbard owned the first stone quarry here. In the 1880s, my great-grandfather (Rollin Flanagin) also owned a stone quarry.”

She also said that the drive not only showcases vintage cars; it is also a way to educate young people.

“The Drivin’ the Dixie is a fun way to learn about history of the area,” she said.

Egdorf says plans are being formulated for next year’s drive. That will take place during the Dixie’s 100-year anniversary.

“We intend to install 4x6 signs in each town next spring highlighting history of the road, a national map, a local map, photos of the town and a brief history of each town.”



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