Shattuck, S. F., et. al (ed.) / A history of Neenah
The impact of science and invention, pp. 21- PDF (1.6 MB)
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- 24
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