Map of the Dixie Highway


The National Highways Association (NHA) was established in 1911 to promote the development of an improved national road network in the United States. Under the slogan “Good roads for everyone!” the NHA advocated the building and permanent maintenance by the federal government of a system of 50,000 miles (some 80,500 kilometers) of highways. This map, issued by the NHA in 1915, shows the Dixie Highway, proposed by the Dixie Highway Association and endorsed by the NHA. The projected route runs from Mackinaw City, Michigan, to Miami, Florida. In order to traverse major cities of the Midwest, and especially Chicago and Detroit, part of the route is divided into eastern and western divisions. The notes and tables in the lower left indicate the numbers of states, counties, and cities of different sizes traversed by the route and the population expected to be served. Besides issuing brochures and circulars aimed at convincing citizens of the need for a national road system, the NHA was a prolific producer of maps. Cartographic work was done at an office in South Yarmouth, Massachusetts, where approximately 40 people were employed on the property of Charles Henry Davis (1865–1951), president and cofounder of the NHA. Davis believed that these maps would be helpful to a national highways commission that he hoped would be established and that they would assist the states in integrating their roads into a national system. Congress never embraced the plan put forward by the NHA, but the organization and its maps helped to promote the cause of a national road network.

Last updated: March 21, 2016