Mercer County History: Swastika Trail Ran Through Mercer County; But It Had Nothing To Do With Nazis

Here is another summer local history lesson.  Prior to the Third Reich and Adolph Hitler, the swastika symbol had a much different meaning.  And at one time, Illinois Route 17 through Mercer County—before it was a paved highway, was known as the Swastika Trail, but it had nothing to do with the Nazis, in fact this was all prior to 1920 says late Mercer County historian Stephanie Braucht, who researched the topic back in 2016.


The name was gone from the map that was published in 1925, which was when a federal numbering system was devised. In 1932, the entire length of the road had been paved and was called State Route 83 before becoming Illinois Route 17 in 1940.