By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News
Posted 4/06/21 (Tue)
By 1920, there were 91,000 vehicles registered in
Infrastructure changes happened as fast in those 20 years as did the number of vehicles.
You have to give the state Department of Transportation credit because by 1920, you could get just about anywhere in the state by car. There were roads leading to and away from every community. Unfortunately, some of those roads weren’t in very good condition.
One of the roads that did have good driving conditions, even back then, was U.S. Highway 2, which at the time, was one of only two roads that could get you from the
The other was U.S. Highway 10, which crossed the state from
U.S. 2’s route is much the same as it was then. You could go from
From there it was smooth sailing to
There were only two noticeable differences across the entire state. The first was at Larimore, where you had to go north 11 miles. Now it goes straight west.
The other was that U.S. 2 took you right into the city of
U.S. 10 was a little more interesting and you can see on the 1920 map that traveling wasn’t streamlined like it is today on I-94.
The first example is having to go north from
From there it followed the same path it does now to the
There were some other items of note on this 1920 map of
You could get from
Ironically, there were three short sections of that road that were paved; a few miles west of New Leipzig, about 5 miles east of
Another example of change is in Highway 4, that took you from south of Ellendale on the South Dakota state line straight north to a junction on N.D. Highway 13, about 8 miles east of Edgeley. Now, it’s a straight shot from Ellendale northwest to Edgeley and on to
At the time, there were only six ports of entry. Today there are 18 of them.
They included Portal, Northgate, Sherwood, Westhope, Sarles and Pembina.
Of course, there was no Interstate 29, but even more primitive, there only short roads from one community to the next and didn’t connect.
The second major route into
There were no roads north of North Portal, so if you crossed the border there, you were going into the
There were a number of small communities on the 1920 map that don’t exist today. They include Tagus,
There were also communities that didn’t exist then but do now. They include Kindred, Mandaree, New Town and Riverdale.
And finally one of the stark realities of 1920 is that railroads were plastered all over the map. A railroad led to every town and city crisscrossing the state.
Today, many of the short lines have been abandoned and the two major railroads; Burlington Northern Santa Fe and Canadian Pacific roll on main routes.