The Old Highway

Lillian Sundquist was familiar with automobiles. She had sampled driving at the age of nine when her father owned what must have been one of the few cars in Cushing. But what she experienced at age 13 was most certainly an awesome sight. A caravan of horseless carriages was descending the hill not more than 200 feet from the Sundquist house. It was the Palm to Pine Sociability Run on the Jefferson Highway.

The Jefferson Highway followed parallel to the Northern Pacific Railway, both of which bisected the Sundquist farm. From the south the highway crossed the railroad at “the old Fred Anderson place”, passed the Sundquist place, went through the town of Cushing, and passed “the old Lundwall place”. It crossed over the railroad again, heading through Philbrook. Now, I’m sure most readers have no idea where those “places” were. But isn’t that the way all of the old timers gave directions? Axel Sundquist had gathered a good amount of pocket change from pulling those new-fangled cars out of the mud holes with his trusty team of horses. Some sections of the road were corduroy, a method of laying poles across swampy areas then covering them with dirt for better passability. A large grove of pine, a hillside covered with maple trees, a lowland area where jack-in-the-pulpits grew and wild roses scattered on the gravel shoulders were among the beauties enjoyed along the Jefferson Highway. In 1926 Highway 10 was built on the opposite side of the railway. By the time I was growing up the Jefferson was simply referred to as “the old highway”.

In the 1980’s the Cushing Women’s Club erected a sign at the intersection of the Jefferson Highway and Lake Alexander Road. It is one of the few intact stretches of the Jefferson Highway which remains in its original state. It is a piece of national history remaining right here in Morrison County.

by Jan Warner
Copyright 2002, Morrison County Historical Society

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