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Shattuck, S. F., et. al (ed.) / A history of Neenah
(1958)

The impact of science and invention,   pp. 21-[28] PDF (1.6 MB)


Page 24


A HISTORY OF NEENAH
maps. To quote from a publication of our State Historical Society:
  Farly motorists often had to resort to bicycle maps to guide them on their
Sun-
day excusions, for no official highway map existed.
  One such bicycle map, published in 1896 by the League of American Wheelmen,
utilizes a unique road marking system. Roads were labeled "good,"
"medium" or
"bad" and "level," "hilly" or "very hilly."
The road between Milwaukee and Wau-
watosa, for instance, was indicated as being level and medium; but that between
Blue Mounds and Cross Plains as very hilly and medium. Steep grades were
as
hazardous to the motorist as they were strenuous to the Wheelman.
  Even as late as 1914 Wisconsin highway maps indicate the lack of an extensive
road system. There was no main highway leading up the Door county peninsula-
the road stopped at Sturgeon Bay. All over the early maps short black lines
indicat-
ing main routes rush off briefly toward a town, then stop short at the destination.
There were no connecting junctions and picking up a route from one town to
another
often meant considerable back-tracking.
  Influenced by the auto, the radius of industrial employment wid-
ened from the neighborhood to the adjoining cities and counties.
Every working day sees a flow of people from Oshkosh to Kaukauna
coming and going to their work and doing it with greater ease than
our forebears negotiated a mile or two. With an automobile in the
family, the housewife's shopping area widened from two or three
miles, to ten, thirty-even ioo miles. One-room country schools com-
bined into more efficient county units; the school bus, seen on all
roads, brings increasing numbers of rural students to the city high
school.
  As these lines are written, we are witnessing a phenomenon that
some have called "our exploding cities." Following World War I
there
began a trickle of city folk into the adjacent rural areas, lured by a
desire for more elbow room, country living and lower taxes. As auto
ownership became general during the '3os, and following the second
World War, the trickle became a flood. Suburbs are currently growing
faster than the parent city.
   Such population movement always brings in its wake a package of
interrelated problems between the parent city and its urban-rural
neighbors. Locally, it presented a Pandora's box of tensions and misun-
derstandings over taxes, school situations, annexations and municipal
services and privileges which the former city dweller was accustomed
to enjoy and which he is reluctant to abandon.
   Not the least of the problem of our civilization on wheels is the park-
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