The first roads along the Illinois River were dirt or gravel. The first big improvement was the construction of several plank roads, which helped the economy of the towns along their routes. Most traces of them are long gone, but there are historical records of three plank roads in the central Illinois River area. Also the Dickson Mounds Museum at Lewistown, Illinois has recently added a plank road toll house to its collection, and is restoring it to its nineteenth-century Oriental Revival-style glory. Photographs of the toll house show it before and after restoration.
County records and survey reports document the building of the roads.