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A Century of Road Progress
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A Century of Road Progress
Contributed by edmad709008
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Newspaper Date:

September 24 1936
Newspaper Article:

The story of road building during a Century is naturally the story of the growth and progress of the township.

The first roads were merely paths through the clearing, wide enough for a team and wagon, with little provision for passing as there was an emergency not frequently to be met. Roads were chiefly needed so that the early settlers could carry their grain to the mill to be ground; to go to Church and perhaps a yearly trip to the nearest town or perhaps the County seat to purchase necessities they were unable to produce on the farm. Many families buying years supply of staples at one time.

Gradually as the community became more thickly settled it became desirable to have better roads in order that people might mingle more freely with their neighbors and enjoy together the good things of life. With the growth of Community spirit came the growth of roads. Taking them out of the purely utilitarian status and giving them a place in the social life of the times. In short, roads had become a necessity. Good roads in those times would seem pretty poor to us today. Grading was done by the good folks who lived along the highways and was far from scientifically done. Bridges, if any, were poor and drainage was apt to flow down the center of the road, but this was as could be expected because no money had been appropriated for such work. So funds must come through donations. The first taxes levied being the poll tax and property tax.

The coming of the automobile marked the first definite change in road building. These "horseless carriages" were more finicky than the old team and wagon and must have a smother surface over which to travel. Among the first automobile owners in this community were the late Doc Grose and Mr. D. S. Griffith, who purchased cars about 1908 or 1910.

After 1910, cars became fairly familiar sights on our highways, and never to be forgotten were the long linen dusters worn by the drivers and the long fluttering scarfs which secured the dashing Merry Widow hats on the heads of the ladies. However, motoring still held many adventures, not to say perils on the highways. Garages came into their own during the winter and spring months, for the car was driven into the garage, jacked up and the tires deflated until the spring thaws were over and the roads were again passable.

The first legislation in favor of roads came about in 1913 or 1914. At this time state aid roads were begun. State and Counties entered the picture under a system which designated the principal roads of the county as state aid roads. Under this system roads were improved on a 50-50 basis. This work was cut short by our entrance into the World War. However, after the war when road building was again resumed a sixty million dollar bond issue was passed and when it was seen that this amount would not be sufficient to carry out the program, an additional 100 million dollars was granted. Today, these bond issues are practically completed and we have as our share, 50 1/2 miles of township roads.

48 miles Township roads graveled.
5 1/2 miles County roads, all gravel.
10 miles of State bond issue roads paved with a total number of 66 miles in the township.

All this is a far cry from the blazed trail and path through the clearing. Its not just "a thing that happened" but a gradual, steady growth brought about by wise legislation, worked and fought for by our people who have ever been alert to the needs of changing order.

Thus through a Century we have traveled over increasingly good roads. May the coming generations carry on the work so humble and bravely started.

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