Jewell Historical Society

News articles about Iowa Highway 69

Jewell has an important and rather interesting connection to Iowa Highway 69.

The Wilson Highway

Notice that Claude Campbell of Jewell is an important part of this article.

Published in the Jewell Record January 30, 1919:
Wilson Highway to become part of Continental Route

National Highway Conference Held at Kansas City last week decided
to include "Wilson Highway" in Route

To be unrivaled Auto Route

     The Wilson Highway, which passes through Jewell, extending from Des Moines to St. Paul, is apt to become a considerably more ambitious project than its original founders ever dreamed of.   Hon. Parley Sheldon, of Ames, president of the Wilson Highway and others interested in the Wilson Highway, attended a meeting at Kansas City last week of the National Highway Coference.   The big stunt at that conference was the question of a north and south continental auto route of proportions similar to the Lincoln Highway east and west.   The discussion developed the fact that there is a well routed and already quite well built auto road from Kansas City to Des Moines, known as the "Saints Highway".   In the Wilson Highway, which is equally well routed but newer and consequently not yet so well built a road, there is a Des Moines to St. Paul auto route.   It was voted to utilize these two already marked and laid out auto routes for the Kansas City to St. Paul portion of the proposed north and south trans-continental trail, to extend the route south from Kansas City to El Paso, Texas, and north from St. Paul to Ely, Minn. and to give the name of the Des Moines to St. Paul road, "The Wilson Highway" to the entire north and south trans-continental route.

     If this ambitious project goes through as outlined at the Kansas City conference, the Wilson Highway is going to be the unrivaled north and south trans-continental auto road just as the Lincoln Highway is the unrivaled east and west route across the continent.   The people of Jewell and Blairsburg and of Ellsworth, Lyon, Libery and Blairsburg townships didn't know how good a thing they were getting on when they got on the Wilson, and the original founders of the Wilson didn't know how big a thing they were starting.   The Wilson Highway will develop into a great auto route even if it remains a Des Moines to St. Paul project only.   But it will be something really big if the Kansas City conference project materializes.

This article from The Record News was published
October 20, 1921:


     Wednesday afternoon of last week the board of supervisors of Hamilton Co. awarded the contracts for grading and draining the Wilson highway, for a distance of about six miles, starting from the Wall Lake school house corner two miles south of the Jewell depot, extending south along the lake four miles to the McClure school house corner, then one mile east and one miles south to the county line.   Wish these contracts now awarded, the improvement, without longer delay, of this highway is now an assured fact, and the Record does not know of anything in the line of road improvement that gives us as much gratification as does this.

     P. E. Shugart, of Nevada, was given the contract for grading at 26 cents a cubic yard.  He is to start the work not later than April 1st, 1922, and to have it completed not later than the first of August following.

     Shugart's bid also included $2 a cubic yard for loose rock and $3 for solid rock, should there be any.

     O C. Kalvig, of Ellsworth, got the tile labor contract.   His bid was 5.1 for 6 in. tile, 5.4 for 8in. tile, 5.6 for 10 in. tile; type A intakes for 16.85 each, type B intakes for 15.40 each.

     Kalvig is to start work at once and have it completed by April 1st.

     The National Sewer Pipe Co. got the tile material contract, 6 in. tile at 6 a foot, 8 in. tile at 10.5 a foot, and 10 in. tile at 18 a foot.

     It is estimated that tile will cost about $3.600. for the job, tile labor about $2,750, and grading for the job about $10,000.

     The board of supervisors certainly made some good bargains in awarding these contracts.   On some grading jobs in the county the board has paid as high as 54 cents a yard, almost twice as much as the Wilson highway contract went for.   Shugart is the man who got the contract for similar work on the Wilson highway in Story county and he is working on that contract now.   There were a total of 34 bidders for the Wilson highway contracts.

September 28, 1922:

     Additional improvement work has been started on the Wilson Highway thru Jewell this week.   Work was begun Monday tearing out the two bridges just north of town, one a concrete culvert and the other a 59 foot concrete bridge with steel rail.   They are to be replaced by larger bridges, a culvert of the size known as a 3x3 clearance to be put in place of the culvert that is being torn out, and a concrete and steel bridge of the 90 foot span in place of the 59 foot bridge.   The larger bridges are to better accommodate the flow of water in the ditch and will also be at a higher grade.

The Jewell Record published June 21, 1923 has an article about Highway 69 and Jewell:
(You may click to enlarge for better reading.   The article text may also be read just below this image.)
Click to enlarge.

Summer Days Bringing Considerable Through Traffice Over Our Highway


     Summer tourists are already finding out that the Wilson Highway, commonly known as Primary 16, is one of the best roads in the state.   Every day since the warm weather came a large number of cars, loaded down with traveling equipment, have passed through town.   One night last week one outfit of tourists occupied the Jewell Tourists Park.   One car from Texas and one from Oklahoma went through last week.   Many cars bear the Minnesota license tag and this shows that the travel between Des Moines and the Twin Cities is already being diverted this way.   Work on the last piece of gravel before the stretch that will include Jewell's Main street is almost completed, and when this is done the gravel trucks will commence at the end of the gravel north of town and work south through town to the end of the gravel south of town.   The gravel for this work will come from a new pit east of town.   Work of oiling all the streets of Jewell except the Main street, was completed Monday and the town has some very nice residence streets ready for the inspection of visitors to the city.   When the Main street is graveled it will be given a good coat of oil, which should make it practically as good as paving.   The highway engineer was here Saturday and Monday the road contractors took off the high spots and leveled the street again.   Every effort is being made to make the road through Jewell as near perfect as possible.