Opdyke was laid out in 1871, following contruction of the St. Louis & Southeastern Railroad. The nearby, earlier town of Lynchburg was largely abandoned, and moved to Opdyke.
A part of the railroad investment in this area was funded by a mortgage of $4,525,000 by Calhoun & Opdyke of New York. It is possible that the town is named for Opdyke, and that this is all that they got out of the investment.
The original surveys of Illinois show the Goshen Road passing through the center of Opdyke in a north/south direction. The road was about a quarter mile east of the north/south section road that now forms the western boundary of the village. Few traces of this road now remain, and it is not clear if the road was still present at the time of the founding of the village.
Opdyke formed as a village along side the railroad tracks. These are no longer a significant factor in the existence of the village, which now fronts on Illinois Route 142. Interstate 64 passes a mile north of the village, without an interchange.
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