Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bygone Roadways

As we zip along our modern highways and travel along our chip-and-sealed rural country roads today it's hard to image that a mere 60-70 years ago these roads were dirt and the main fairways were only gravel.

The picture at the right was taken during the winter of 1926.  A team hauling fluorspar to Marion pulls a car out of the mud on U.S. 60 west of town near the Crittenden Springs Road.

Winter travel is still not without its hazards, but even in the worst of weather conditions on today's most rural roads, they are better than in those days.  Road surfaces were dirt, which turned to mud during wet, winter weather, and travel virtually ceased.

The Crittenden Press in the late 1920's recorded incidents such as these:  a farmer from the Shady Grove area was able to arrive in Marion after an eight-hour trip in an empty wagon pulled by four mules.  A county farmer was reported seen on a road, only a few miles from town, with three of the four horses hitched to his wagon down in the road mire.

The road (Hwy. 60 West) wasn't graveled until the mid-1927 when a contract was awarded to Ben E. Clement and the Holly Fluorspar Co.  Clement and his crew were to prepare the roadbed and gravel it from Marion to Salem.

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