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When the Good Roads Came to Wadena

Lina Belar, Interim Executive Director, Wadena County Historical Society

According to an article published in a 1927 edition of the Pioneer Journal, the first meeting to seriously consider the improvement of roads was held in Wadena in 1912. It was attended mostly by automobile owners. A year later, the auto owners met again, this time in Sebeka, and took the first steps to arrange a systematic road building program for the entire county.

In 1915, it was announced that the Jefferson Highway would pass through Wadena and in August of that year $1100 was raised by public subscription and spent in improving the road approaches to the village of Wadena.

The year 1921 was the biggest year in road building the county had ever had.  By June of that year, 38 miles of roads had been built at a cost of nearly $2000 per mile.  By 1923, 60 miles of road had been built, graded, and put in such shape that they served their territories with good arterial highways and could be maintained at a minimum of expense.  A year later, the county commissioners voted bonds in the sum of $250,000 to complete the county road system.  By the first of January, 1927 there had been expended on trunk highways in Wadena county the sum of $616,647.

Today, Wadena is a famous highway center.  Its central and strategic location is shown by the network of trunk highways centering here.

From the Wadena Pioneer Journal December 15, 1927, compiled by Robert C. Zosel.