This circa 1930 postcard of Husted Cabins on US 40 between Marshall and Clark Center, Illinois, captures a time during the early auto age when farmers lucky enough to be on a major trunk route reaped a windfall of auto-oriented commerce.
Prior to the automobile, few long-distance travelers plodded their way down the market road to Marshall and those speeding by on the paralleling Pennsylvania Railroad certainly didn’t stop. Then in 1912 the road was designated part of the National Old Trails route between Baltimore and Los Angeles (later New York and San Francisco), and in 1926 it became part of transcontinental US 40. Motorists needing gas, food and lodging started whizzing by, and all it took to provide that service was carving off a small piece of cornfield fronting the highway. Many farmers supplemented their incomes with roadside businesses this way, many more sold roadside lots for others to provide the service.