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Director's Column

PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.

Ohio's Good Roads Magazine

By Alan Hall, Director, PLSJ
Publish Date - Sunday, June 20, 2010

A news story in the Herald Star during the spring of 1926 highlights an article that appeared in the March issue of “Highway Topics, Ohio’s Good Roads Magazine.”


The history and description of the growth of the City of Steubenville, as well as the surrounding area is the lead item in the publication.


“An excellent reproduction of the Half-Moon farm graces the cover of the magazine” according to the news story.


Other interesting photos grace the story, as well as a reproduction of a photo by Samuel Huston, the descendant of an early pioneer family.


Mr. Huston also served as the first State Highway Commissioner for Ohio, from 1905-1908.


Other stories of area communities are included in the article.


The magazine was published from 1923 until 1939 by the Ohio Good Roads Federation, an organization based in Columbus that promoted the development of a highway system for Ohio.


Various interest groups from local governments to auto manufacturers were represented in the federation.


Their magazine would highlight different parts of the State of Ohio as auto travel became more common with highway development.


With the invention of the automobile, and the need for a better highway system, the Ohio Department of Highways was formed in 1905 with 4 employees and a budget of $ 10,000.


Its purpose was to study the system of state roads, and develop plans for improvements.


The Good Roads Federation was one of many organizations promoting the improvement of the state’s highway system, as it moved from local roadways to a state system of highways.

The Federation was active in research and publication of early highway information.


Their purpose is apparent in the title of a 1929 publication, “Report of the Survey of the Ohio state highway system, showing the improvements that should be made upon it,.”


In the 1920s, the Ohio Good Roads Federation joined with the Ohio Dept. of Highways and Public Works to publish the laws relating to highways to promote better roads for the citizens of Ohio.


They also published a small book on “road failures” around the state in 1921.


By 1930, the federal government had started numbering federal highways and the states began numbering state highways.


Funds for highway improvement and construction were provided, and the purpose of the Ohio Good Roads Federation was no longer needed.


The last mention I could find of the organization was a 1952 meeting discussing the new Ohio Turnpike.