Faerie Traces – Paris, Illinois - Atlas Obscura

Faerie Traces

In a grove of fast growing walnut trees outside Paris, Illinois, a marker shares part of the largely forgotten history of the fictional Kcymaerxthaere's road building culture. 


Created by Geographer-at-Large Eames Demetrios, Kcymaerxthaere is a “parallel universe that intersects with much of our linear Earth, but with different stories, creatures, peoples, even laws of physics and qualities of existence.”  It has been likened to a novel with every page in a different place. What makes the Kcymaerxthaere project particularly interesting is that Demetrios installs informative markers and historical sites at the locations in our world that connect to his world, creating real world intersections with his imagined universe. For the months of August and September, 2014, Demetrios is acting as our Geographer-in-Residence and his Kcymaerxthaere locations will be featured all over the Atlas. To learn more see our introductory article here

Along a dusty grey gravel road, this marker tells the story of an intersection between two very different narratives of Kcymaerxthaere: the story of the Tehachapi, the great road-building culture of Kcymaerxthaere and that of Amory Frontage, founder of all the Parisses in what we call North America. The particular story concerns an early Tehachapic Road. Specifically it is a rare example of the non-asphaltic roads the Tehachapi sometimes made, usually to “bind” the land with their intuitive assessment of its potential.  Such roads were called Faerie Traces. It is also not too far from Embassy Row–which makes perfect sense, since this where Amory Frontage paused before travelling a bit further to found the Paris of Aedguerre–which would become known as the jewel in the crown of the Parisian Diaspora.

Because it was unusual for a Lede Engineer to ignore a Faerie Trace in laying the final sphaltway, speculation has been rife as to why that happened in this case. The historical record is thin, but we have the story from Amory Frontage that as he brought his caravan of Parisians down the road from the Wabash crossing, that he saw the Lede Engineer with a kind of frozen, mystical look on his face. Anyone familiar with the Tehachapi, as Frontage surely was, would have been stunned. The Tehachapi had reputation as purely analytical people whose intuition and creativity were expressed solely through their roadwork. Frontage also claimed that if he didn’t know any better, he would have said the Lede was in love. You’ll have to form your own opinion–and maybe it will evolve when you make it to Embassy Row.



Know Before You Go

Just off Route 150, a few miles east of Paris.

Obviously, it is actually on a road called Durkee's Ferry Trace. Park carefully and you will see it in a linear walnut orchard.

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