I received this challenging question several times while discussing post World War Two Sherburne County. Answering the question is important because Highway 10 provides perspective on events around the county. The Highway also remains an emotional scar on the psyche of Sherburne County.
The direct answer about construction of Highway 10: the project began in 1929 and expanded in 1952. At first glance the road seemed a great gift, connecting two major cities with small Sherburne County towns. Yet, expansion in 1950 caused major upset.
Charles Babcock promoted Highway 10 during his tenure as Highway Commissioner. The two lane highway through Sherburne County opened in 1929. Some of the road was paved, other sections were dirt or gravel. It stretched from Anoka through Sherburne County to North Dakota.
The greatest impact to Sherburne County and the road came in 1950. The Highway Department announced the widening of Highway 10 to a four lane, divided highway. Buildings that blocked the road, such as those in Becker and Clear Lake, would be moved or demolished.
The construction continued through 1952. The destruction of so many homes and businesses proved traumatic to Sherburne County residents. The events left indelible memories for long term residents. In two years, 1950 and 51, 42 structures were destroyed in West Sherburne County. Buildings in Becker, Clear Lake, and Cable were moved or torn down. Moving businesses, relocating the Catholic Church, and tearing down homes still resides like a bitter pill in the minds of West Sherburne residents.
Highway 10 to this day remains an important geographic feature in Sherburne County. The trauma of the creation and expansion of Highway 10 also remains an important character consideration for Sherburne County.