PLSJC Director Alan Hall writes a weekly column discussing library and community news, history, and other interesting subjects.
In June, I wrote about a 1926 article that appeared in “Highway Topics, Ohio’s Good Roads Magazine” about our area.
I only had the general part of the piece, but thanks to our friends at Cleveland Public Library and their archives, I now have the complete 12 page article from March 1926.
The subtitle of the article is, “Where Iron meets Coal and is Changed into Gold.”
The article was assembled by the then-Steubenville Chamber of Commerce under the direction of the Secretary, Mr. C.O. Hanes, and President James T. Sarratt.
The article was the second in a series of “Know Ohio” features of the publication, second following a feature on Zanesville and Muskingum County.
In 1926, Steubenville had a population of 36,201 and is described as a “great industrial city.”
Two new buildings are featured; the new Federal Post Office and Court Building, and the new State Armory.
Three area residents are featured with photos due to their relationship to the “Good Roads Federation,” including Charles I. Waddle as a Trustee of the organization, George W. Fellows as President of the Steubenville Automobile Club, and Sam Huston as a local resident who served as the first State Highway Commissioner from 1905-1908.
Being a highway improvement publication, the article discusses highway history and improvements in the area.
The early City of Steubenville extended from North St. to South St., and as far as 5th St. away from the Ohio River.
A steep dug-out road climbed from the river bank up to High St. to access the street grid of the city according to the story.
Earliest streets were mud, supplemented with gravel and stone, and later brick and concrete.
Railroad lines and streetcar traction lines run along the river, with Inter-County Highway No. 7 recently designated as a state highway following the Ohio River from Marietta to East Liverpool.
Designated in 1921, State Route 7 had become a “good highway” except for the “Narrows” in the northern part of Jefferson County, and a portion near Powhatan Point where no highway existed at that time.
Also mentioned is the fact that rail lines were criss-crossed by the road many times.
ICH 75, today’s SR 43, was being paved with concrete from Wintersville to East Springfield in 1926 as part of the Steubenville-Canton Highway.
The Steubenville-Cambridge Highway, ICH 26, was only 10 feet wide at the time, and was scheduled to be widened to 18 ft. in the near future.
The big highway news of 1926 was the soon-construction of a “million dollar bridge” at the terminus of ICH 7 and 26, as part of the Steubenville Pike leading to Pittsburgh.
This is the Fort Steuben Bridge, which became part of the yet-to-be-name US Route 22 through our area, and was constructed in 1928.
Mention was made of the “Pikes Peak Ocean-to-Ocean Highway” (PPOO) which would also cross the new bridge on its east-west path.
The previous year found the “big” local highway project to be the paving of the Market Street hill and West Market St., a project hindered by right-of-way disputes and road width disputes.
I find it interesting to see the early history of our modern highway system as it was developing, and how highways are constructed and reconstructed for time and need.
Also note that the designation of SR 7 is nearing its 90th anniversary!