The Jefferson Highway Association was created in 1915 and proposed an interstate route from Winnipeg, Ontario, to New Orleans, Louisiana. Because the road bisected the Louisiana Purchase, it was named in honor of President Thomas Jefferson, who had secured the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.
Delegates from seven mid-western and southern states gathered to determine where the Jefferson Highway or "Pine to Palm” road would be routed through each state. “Cardinal points," the cities that would be traversed in each state, were chosen by committees. Muskogee was chosen as the "cardinal point" in Oklahoma. From there it meandered south to Caddo and on to Denison, Texas.
Caddo’s druggist, William Frances Dodd, was an ardent supporter of the highway and worked diligently throughout the process of creating and building the road. He must have felt great pride and satisfaction when he saw its completion and watched people use it.
Hundreds passed through Bryan County on “sociability runs” and many stopped in Caddo to visit, give speeches and spend money. Mr. Dodd and his lovely wife participated in several of the excursions, joining with friends here and continuing to New Orleans. He and his wife were well-known figures at meetings and conventions. Sadly, Mr. Dodd died suddenly at his pharmacy, The Corner Drug, in 1924.
The “old highway” is still a popular way for locals to travel many areas of the county while avoiding busy U.S. Highway 69/75.
To read more about the Jefferson Highway Association, visit jeffersonhighway.org/
Bryan County History is a weekly feature contributed by members of the Bryan County Genealogy Library and Archives in Calera. The views and opinions expressed here are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect those of Texoma Marketing and Media Group. Is there a historic event or topic you want to read about? Contact the library at P.O. Box 153, Calera, OK 74730.