Travel this historic route through town and country. See sites and shop along the way.
The Dixie Highway, a predecessor to the modern interstate highway system, was an early twentieth century marked trail traversing the south along two major routes; beginning in Lake Michigan and Chicago and terminating in Miami, Florida; with minor routes along the way. The path included almost 6,000 miles between 1915 and 1926.
Today, the route features opportunity for an alternative travel experience. The path is dotted with small towns between larger cities with a fine variety of local shops and restaurants, historic sites, and lovely views.
Especially with the decline of railroad travel and transport in favor of the rise of automobiles for commercial purposes; tourism, and business, the importance of good roads, specifically with regard to condition and linkages between cities, became apparent during the early twentieth century. Farmers and bicyclists were among the first groups to take notice of the concern.
Early twentieth century lobbying for state and federal highway support for road construction occurred within the context of the Good Roads Movement, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Good_Roads_Movement). Participants in Good Roads Movement related efforts started with the League of American Wheelman, http://www.bikeleague.org/, and included such organizations as the National Association of Auto Manufacturers (NAAM); American Motor Car Association (AMCMA); Association of Licensed Automobile Manufacturers (ALAM); and American Automobile Association (AAA), http://autoclubsouth.aaa.com/.
The Dixie Highway was proffered by Carl Graham Fisher, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carl_G._Fisher. Fisher had previously worked on the Lincoln Highway, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Highway, a marked trail from New York to San Francisico. Instrumental in the development of the Dixie Highway, Fisher's interest in a north-south interstate route was surely related to another endeavor, his real estate development of Miami Beach (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miami_Beach,_Florida).
Fisher's early career included the opening of a small bicycle repair shop in Indianapolis at the age of 16. His interest moved from bicycles to automobiles through auto racing and manufacturing of the Prest-o-Lite headlight. A well known endeavor of Fisher was the development of the Indiana Motor Speedway, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indianapolis_Motor_Speedway.
The Dixie Highway Association was formed by Carl Fisher and a group of businessmen from Dixie Highway states on April 3, 1915. The date was the eve of a largely publicly attended governors conference, held in Chattanooga, Tennessee to facilitate routing decisions with the local officials from Dixie Highway states. The Dixie Highway Association became headquartered in Chattanooga, Tennessee.