Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Jefferson Highway: North-South (1916-1926)

"We can talk good roads," he continued, "until we are blue in the face if there is not that great highway running between the hearts of the people of the country which binds them together in one common cause. The people hunger after comradeship these days, and, after all, the real test is that after this sacrifice that we are great enough to be conscious of one thing — to act as brothers. We must get away from that which tends to draw away one community from another. A road ought to be a binding tie between the communities through which it passes, and only when men pull apart is it that their problems cannot be solved." 
- Said at State Meeting in Little Falls, MN on October 9, 1917; Delegates and Commissioners from all the Counties along the Jefferson Highway participated in the Great Little Falls Convention
According to the Jefferson Highway Declaration, much of the Jefferson Highway north of Wadena all the way to the Canadian border, was paved only with gravel. This was due mainly to the rural nature of that geographical portion of the road together with the financing available thereof.

From the Warren Sheaf (September 5, 1917):

The Hallock newspapers are belaboring their constituencies and the County Commission for a favorable sentiment toward the appropriation of public money for the building and maintenance of the Jefferson Highway through almost inaccessible swamps and sand dunes in the southeastern part of Kittson county. Marshall county authorities saw the foolishness of routing the Jefferson road.in that part of their county, and have refused to do anything with it. Kittson and Pennington counties are asked to do this work for Marshall county.

The "Soo Line" Jefferson road boosters are determined to "work" Kittson county for a big appropriation to strew along this so called highway, which is only laid out and fit for travel in SPOTS. When next spring the KING'S HIGHWAY is completed from Galveston, Texas, to Winnipeg, Manitoba, the traveling public will forget the Jefferson road to absorb the appropriation of public money. Kittson county people will certainly not stand for any appropriations to be thrown away on the Jefferson road along the 'Soo'.

The above article taken from the Kennedy Star is indeed, misleading to the reader, who is not acquainted with the conditions as they really are. To think that a newspaper editor would try to make his readers believe, that there are sections in this county and in Marshall county, in which there are only sand dunes and swamps! What a poor advertisement this article would be for prospective settlers or tourists to read. The other day we drove over the highway in this county and along the road we found well stocked and equipped farms. Surely this does not bear out the Star's statement.

Sometime ago the Sheaf criticized the highway association because of the route chosen but that was because of the fact that it did not enter or benefit even one town in the county. Had the highway chosen a route passing through the towns in eastern Marshall county or through the towns of western Marshall county, it would have been better off, as far as securing the support of this county is concerned. Now that the route is chosen, we do not believe, the territory through which it passes should be advertised as sandy and swampy country, Just because of petty selfish reasons.

That the Jefferson Highway through Marshall and Kittson counties will ultimately be changed to follow the identical route of the scenic King-of-Trails, is possible, and desirable of course, on account of economy in construction and other advantages, but there is no need to speak slightingly of any portion of the two great counties. After all, Brother Estlund, we believe you will agree with us, when we say that the best form of criticism is that of a constructive nature, rather than a destructive method.

Commissioners of Kittson Report Progress
On "Pine to Palm" Projects

The following letter was received by the state convention from the County Commissioners of Kittson County:

"The members of this board find that their individual affairs will prevent their attendance at the Little Falls meeting on the 9th instant. Notice of the meeting came to our notice too late to permit the necessary arrangements being made.

"This county has about fifty-five miles of Jefferson Highway. Of this nineteen miles have been so constructed as to provide a very reliable all-weather summer road. Thirteen miles more, now under construction, will be completed this fall. The remainder of the Jefferson Highway is all graded up, according to state specifications, and is an excellent road, except in wet weather. It should be hard surfaced.

"We are now contemplating improvement next spring of sixteen miles — Federal aid specifications. We believe the Jefferson Highway Association has been, and is highly instrumental in arousing popular interest in permanent road work, and we sincerely regret our inability to be present at the Little Falls meeting."

County Board, Kittson County, Minn.

The excerpt below, from the October 1917 issue of the Jefferson Highway Declaration, goes into further detail on the rivalry-laced insults in the Karlstad and Kennedy newspapers concerning the new Jefferson Highway routing in Kittson County...