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Iowa History Daily: December 1 - Blue Grass Road

Iowa History Daily: On December 1, 1917, the Iowa Highway Commission officially approved the “Blue Grass Road.” A 300-mile route stretching from Council Bluffs to Burlington, the highway connected county seats across southern Iowa to form one of Iowa’s iconic early driving routes.

Locals banded together to set the dirt road route through southern Iowa kicked off during October of 1910. The initial organization of the Iowa Blue Grass Association took place, and soon after representatives from counties along the route started a formal inspection trip. Over the course of the 1910s, the route changed slightly as Iowa moved toward a less localized approach to auto routes.

One of Iowa’s first designated auto routes, the Iowa Blue Grass Road Association ponied up the $5 fee to kick off the consideration process immediately following the passage of the 1913 Road Law. Hoping to secure status as the first registered route in the state, the application stated: “"an organization for the purpose of maintaining a model dirt road across the state of Iowa thru the heart of the Blue Grass Belt and giving encouragement to the ‘Good Roads’ cause in general."

Incomplete paperwork doomed the organization’s hopes, and for several years the process dragged out as the group struggled to jump through one hoop after another. However, after final maps and other paperwork officially passed muster during November of 1917, the Blue Grass Road officially found official status as an approved auto route. Today, much of US Highway 34 traces the route. #IowaOTD #IowaHistoryDaily #IowaHistoryCalendar


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