Monday, July 27, 2015

Highway 91 North, Ollie James and Davy Crockett Highway

The road running North-West  from Marion to the Ohio River was  first named the Ollie M. James Highway, in honor of Ollie M. James, Crittenden County's United States Senator. (1913-1918) 

In July 1955, Highway North 91, or the Ollie James Highway was in for a change.  The highway from Nashville, Tennessee to Chicago, including the Ollie James highway was to be designated as "The Davy Crockett Route."  

The TV show the "Legend of Davy Crockett" and the sequel, Mike Fink and the River Pirates had become so popular that someone suggested a highway be named for him. 

At the time Walt Disney movies was filming a movie about Davy Crockett and the river pirates at the Ohio River with the ferry boat and on the Cave-In-Rock side with the big cave a major part of the movie. 

Ceremonies for the formal dedication to the new Davy Crockett Route was held at the Cave-In-Rock Landing on July 10, 1955.

Fess Parker, who was the star in the TV series and in the Davy Crockett movies, would be there to christen the ferry boat, the same day the road was official dedicated.

This is the picture that appeared in the Crittenden Press on July 10, 1955.   

Fads of the time move on and things once popular fade away and no longer seem important.

In May 1956 the citizens of Crittenden County had decided that the Davy Crockett Highway should be re-named as the Ollie M. James Highway.  Ollie James was a native Crittenden Countain who was U. S. Senator and prominent in Democratic circles in Washington for many years.

The Highway Department and officials in Frankfort granted the request that the highway be renamed as the Ollie M. James Highway, that it was proper and fitting in memory of the great statesman from Crittenden County.

Oddly, after all that trouble, the Ollie M. James Highway is today simply known as Highway 91 North.  

But as we travel down this scenic road we will know it is a road with a history, once carrying the name of the great pioneer, Davy Crockett, and then back to our famous native son, Senator Ollie M. James.

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