Dixie Highway: Road Building and the Making of the Modern South, 1900-1930

Overview

At the turn of the twentieth century, good highways eluded most Americans and nearly all southerners. In their place, a jumble of dirt roads covered the region like a bed of briars. Introduced in 1915, the Dixie Highway changed all that by merging hundreds of short roads into dual interstate routes that looped from Michigan to Miami and back. In connecting the North and the South, the Dixie Highway helped end regional isolation and served as a model for future interstates. In this book, Tammy Ingram offers the ...
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Dixie Highway: Road Building and the Making of the Modern South, 1900-1930

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Overview

At the turn of the twentieth century, good highways eluded most Americans and nearly all southerners. In their place, a jumble of dirt roads covered the region like a bed of briars. Introduced in 1915, the Dixie Highway changed all that by merging hundreds of short roads into dual interstate routes that looped from Michigan to Miami and back. In connecting the North and the South, the Dixie Highway helped end regional isolation and served as a model for future interstates. In this book, Tammy Ingram offers the first comprehensive study of the nation's earliest attempt to build a highway network, revealing how the modern U.S. transportation system evolved out of the hard-fought political, economic, and cultural contests that surrounded the Dixie's creation.

The most visible success of the Progressive Era Good Roads Movement, the Dixie Highway also became its biggest casualty. It sparked a national dialogue about the power of federal and state agencies, the role of local government, and the influence of ordinary citizens. In the South, it caused a backlash against highway bureaucracy that stymied road building for decades. Yet Ingram shows that after the Dixie Highway, the region was never the same.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Its examples are telling and illustrate effectively the complicated history of federally funded and managed Southern highway construction, raising issues that remain relevant in current debates on funding highway repair. Recommended for all readers interested in American politics and transportation."--Library Journal
Library Journal
06/01/2014
Ingram (history, Coll. of Charleston) examines the history and impact of road building in the southern United States by looking specifically at the construction of the Dixie Highway, a connected series of roads between Chicago and Miami, and focusing in particular on the section in Georgia. The author traces the origins of the highway, the heated debates over its route, and the difficulties of road building in the South, where each county coordinated local efforts and relied almost exclusively on chain gangs composed primarily of ill-treated African American prisoners for the construction. With formation spanning from 1914 through the 1920s, the highway was one of the earliest attempts at coordinated road building supported by the federal government. The project typified the challenge of these efforts in the South, where there was a strong clash between the need for internal improvements and a deep resistance to increased taxation and federal control of local institutions. VERDICT Although this book focuses on specific aspects of the construction of one highway, its examples are telling and illustrate effectively the complicated history of federally funded and managed Southern highway construction, raising issues that remain relevant in current debates on funding highway repair. Recommended for all readers interested in American politics and transportation.—Nicholas Graham, Univ. of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781469612980
  • Publisher: The University of North Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 3/3/2014
  • Edition description: 1
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 696,389
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Tammy Ingram is assistant professor of history at the College of Charleston.
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Table of Contents


At the turn of the twentieth century, good highways eluded most Americans and nearly all southerners. Introduced in 1915, the Dixie Highway changed all that by merging hundreds of short roads into dual interstate routes that looped from Michigan to Miami and back. In connecting the North and the South, the Dixie Highway helped end regional isolation and served as a model for future interstates. In this book, Tammy Ingram offers the first comprehensive study of the nation's earliest attempt to build a highway network, revealing how the modern U.S. transportation system evolved out of the hard-fought political, economic, and cultural contests that surrounded the Dixie's creation.
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