|1910 through 1930 was a transition period for Sherburne County|
as can be seen with both automobiles and horse drawn wagons
in this photograph. Only very gradually did pavement replace
dirt and gravel on the roads of the county.
With road construction season arriving, I wonder about the times of road construction before the big trucks and monstrous land movers. I wonder about the construction of Highway 10 through Sherburne County. Why did it happen? How did it happen? When we explore the actual construction the true impact of Highway 10 becomes apparent.
Construction of Highway 10 in Elk River used “one of the biggest and latest improved concrete mixers and pavers in the state and it has the capacity of paving 600 feet a day,” the Sherburne County Star News reported. Although small compared to modern equipment, the newspaper claimed the machines inspired crowds to gather each day and observe the work.
Credit for Highway 10 and the benefits received by Sherburne County goes to the hard work of Highway Commissioner Charles Babcock. Known as the “father of the Minnesota Highway system,” Babcock worked diligently to see that his native Sherburne County received significant benefits of the road system.
With completion of the road through Elk River, the Star News summarized the benefits from the construction. The newspaper claimed $425,000 had been spent on the project. A census taken shortly after the highway opened showed in a one week span 10,000 automobiles traveled through Elk River. The traffic numbers remain impressive in comparison to the number of automobiles, 849, in the county.
Highway 10 through Sherburne County significantly increased growth potential. The construction technology seems small. Yet, the benefits to Sherburne County were immediate and they continue to roll through the county.