“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Castle Rock in Arapahoe County, Colorado — The American Mountains (Southwest)

Good Roads in Colorado

Good Roads in Colorado Marker image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, July 3, 2011
1. Good Roads in Colorado Marker
Inscription. Even before people began driving automobiles in Colorado, they clamored for good roads. In the late 1880s men, women, and children of all backgrounds jumped on breezy bicycles known as “velocipedes” or “Wheels” but cursed the roads-rutted, unmarked, and riddled with potholes. Bicyclists started the Good Roads movement to demand that elected officials make improved roads a priority. The first car clattered into Colorado in the 1890s. As the costs of automobiles decreased, more Coloradoans bought them, and readily adapted to the independence, freedom, and flexibility that cars promised. If only the roads could hold up the promise. In 1910 the Colorado Highway Commission began the daunting task of creating a coordinated, statewide road network. In 1912, the governor of Colorado declared the second Friday of May “Good Roads Day” to teach children that “Good roads make good communities, and good communities make great states.” The Great North-South Highway
Good roads meant good business, and in the early 1910s residents of Douglas County eagerly anticipated the completion of a new primary road, paid for the most part by state funds. Engineers from the State Highway Department designed a trunk highway, which they called the “Great North-South Highway,” to connect all
Bicycles image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, July 3, 2011
2. Bicycles
of the cities along the Front Range from Wyoming to New Mexico. Following a centuries-old transportation corridor (in this vicinity, U.S. Highway 85), the North-South Highway was the state’s most important route until the construction of Interstate 25 in the late 1950s. Most of the east-west roads connected to it, and the route between Denver and Colorado Springs, passing through Castle Rock, had the state’s highest amount of daily traffic. Designated State Highway No. 1, the road received numerous upgrades and improvements. In 1928, the State Highway Department claimed that the 73-mile section between Denver and Colorado Springs was the fourth longest stretch of unbroken cement pavement in the world.

Bicycle clubs throughout Colorado lobbied for road improvements, organized social rides, and developed bicycle routes. These bicyclists on the Denver-Palmer Lake Bicycle Path might have ridden a century, or one hundred miles, if they made the round trip between the two towns. The path consisted of a ten-foot-wide corridor that followed the cottonwood-lined City Ditch between Denver and Littleton and traversed pastoral farms and ranches in Douglas County. But the path infuriated some property owners. One farmer, angry with day-trippers who “molested his melon patch and orchard,” strung barbed wire across his section to snare unsuspecting riders. Photo

Early Colorado Automobiles image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, July 3, 2011
3. Early Colorado Automobiles
courtesy Colorado Historical Society.

On August 9, 1928, 2,999 spectators cheered at the dedication of the new cement-paved highway between Denver and Colorado Springs. The celebration included floats, a parade of 1,200 automobiles, and speeches from local dignitaries. In Palmer Lake, festivities included burning the effigy of “Dusty Roads,” while six airplanes soared overhead to mark the occasion.
Photo courtesy Colorado Historical Society.

Motorists stop near Franktown, 1900-1910.
Photo courtesy Denver Public Library.

“The road to Greenland and Larkspur is a disgrace to the county...It is boggy and poor, and (too) close to the railroad. Let up rise up and fight for our rights.” Douglas county Record, 1904.
Colorado Historical Society
Erected by Colorado Historical Society.
Location. 39° 22.347′ N, 104° 51.61′ W. Marker is in Castle Rock, Colorado, in Arapahoe County. Marker is on Wilcox Street, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 308 Wilcox Street, Castle Rock CO 80104, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 12 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. The Rock (here, next to this marker); Castle Rock (about 300 feet

1928 Celebration image. Click for full size.
By Charles T. Harrell, July 3, 2011
4. 1928 Celebration
away, measured in a direct line); Douglas (about 300 feet away); Franktown (approx. 5.9 miles away); Russellville - History of Franktown / Franktown Country - Timber Industry (approx. 5.9 miles away); Southwest Rises The Summit of Pikes Peak (approx. 9.9 miles away); Ave Maria Chapel (approx. 11.3 miles away); Newcomb House (approx. 11.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Castle Rock.
Categories. Roads & Vehicles
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 14, 2011, by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. This page has been viewed 658 times since then and 54 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 14, 2011, by Charles T. Harrell of Woodford, Virginia. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.
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