The Edens Superhighway sign over Cicero Avenue in 1952


When the Edens expressway opened during a blizzard on December 20,1951 it was called the Edens Superhighway.  This 1952 picture is the only known photographic of the terminology, on the bridge over Cicero Avenue just north of Foster Avenue.  Although the term superhighway was widely used in the 1940's and early 50's it, like parkway, lost favor in the lexicon of the builders and users in favor of the term expressway.  In other parts of the country freeway became the term of choice.  The Kingery and Calumet Expressways (which opened in 1950) and the Edens reflected Cook County Highway Department Superintendent George Quinlan’s decision to build his superhighways in the suburbs.  He made that decision in 1941 when the Illinois Supreme Court turned down the legislative approved bonding for the City, County and State to construction the Cook County expressway system.  With his partners unable to help he decided to build in the suburbs where he could afford to construct usable sections.  (Art Kistler Collection/Illinois State Archives)