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Farm-to-Market Roads

by Robert E. Ireland, 2006

See also: Good Roads Campaign"Prior to paved roads, pleasure excursions in the family car could end in disaster in North Carolina. Luckily for this mud-bound convertible and family, the approaching team of horses would pull them free from their prison." Image from the State Archives of North Carolina, N62.8.42.

One of the key arguments of early "good roads" advocates was the need for improved farm-to-market roads. Their position was well stated by men such as Daniel A. Tompkins, a Charlotte cotton mill builder who maintained that building better roadways would not only save farmers on crop and fertilizer delivery costs but also increase church and school attendance and reduce the desire for farm youth to leave their rural homes. Tompkins wrote several pamphlets supporting this position between 1894 and 1909. Other North Carolina spokesmen for this position included state geologist Joseph A. Holmes and Governor Charles B. Aycock. As the Good Roads campaign spread, it began to focus more on long-distance motor highways built between major cities, and the farm-to-market advocates gradually gave way to their urban counterparts.

References:

Robert E. Ireland, Entering the Auto Age: The Early Automobile in North Carolina, 1900-1930 (1990).

G. T. Winston, A Builder of the New South: Being the Story of the Life of Daniel Augustus Tompkins (1920).

Additional Resources:

Crow, Jeffrey T. "North Carolina's Mother of Good Roads." North Carolina Museum of History. http://web.archive.org/web/20130103123555/http://www.ncmuseumofhistory.org/workshops/womenshistory/berry.html (accessed September 26, 2012).

Image Credit:

"Prior to paved roads, pleasure excursions in the family car could end in disaster in North Carolina. Luckily for this mud-bound convertible and family, the approaching team of horses would pull them free from their prison."   Photograph. Image from the State Archives of North Carolina, N62.8.42. http://ncmuseumofhistory.org/workshops/womenshistory/berry.html (accessed September 26, 2012).

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Copyright notice

This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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