Putting Cuba City on the Map

By 1917, more and more people were hitting the roads in automobiles, taking fun day trips or even longer excursions. Cuba City officials saw an opportunity to cash in on this tourism by becoming a destination along the Indian Head Trail, a multi-state affair that would hopefully attract many motoring tourists to the area. 

From The Automobile Blue Book, 1918, Volume 5, Page 163

The following newspaper article describes the trail and Cuba City's participation in the venture:

Cuba City News Herald, February 2, 1917

Indian Head Trail

No Better Auto Route in the World

Mayor Marshall and C. C. Clemens were the Cuba City representatives of the enthusiastic meeting held in Prairie du Chien, Monday, which was called to discuss the proposed route of the Indian Head Trail. There were about one hundred enterprising men present, fifty of them being from towns along the route of the proposed trail, other than Prairie du Chien.

Mr. Fitch and W. L. Miller of Galena spoke of benefits of proposed trail to Galena, Mr. Cox spoke for Hazel Green, Mayor Marshall and C. C. Clemens for Cuba City, and of the good work Cuba City is going to do on the roads during 1917 from the macadam at St. Rose to the “Corners” at the cemetery south of town. R. I. Dugdale spoke for Platteville and Lancaster and H. C. George, on the benefits to the mining companies.

There were several from McGregor present, who advocated the converting of Marquette State Park, in the northwest part of Grant Co. and the park at McGregor, Iowa, into a National park.

Speakers from Viroqua and Bloomington spoke favorably regarding help from their communities, providing the Indian Head Trail passes through their towns.

The meeting levied the following assessments for the Indian Sign Boards and advertising in the automobile routing books. This money is to be raised by public subscription:

Hazel Green------------------------$75
Cuba City---------------------------$100
Patch Grove-------------------------$50
Prairie du Chien-------------------$200

The signs have already been placed from Savanna to Galena, assessments made and paid.

The Indian Head Trail will appear in the 1917 automobile route books, showing the trail running from Savanna through Galena, and Cuba City and as far north as Prairie du Chien and perhaps to La Crosse as was stated by a representative present, of one of the largest auto routing book concerns.

A banquet was tendered to all visitors by the proprietor of the Rosencranz hotel.

Another meeting will be held in the course of a few weeks.

The Indian Head Trail is the means of putting Cuba City on the automobile map, as the trail runs through to St. Paul and Minneapolis to the north, and to Chicago by way of Galena and Savanna on the south.

A month later, it was confirmed that the Trail would extend north to Minneapolis. The following newspaper article describes the great things envisioned for the Indian Head Trail by its planners.

Cuba City News Herald, March 9, 1917

The Indian Head Trail

The Chamber of Commerce of Minneapolis informs the Indian Head Trail Association that the Highway committee has approved of the plans of Illinois and Wisconsin cities to extend the Trail into Minneapolis, and the Minneapolis Chamber of Commerce announces that it will send a delegation to the meeting to be held at La Crosse in the near future.

The Indian Head Trail is thoroughly organized from Prairie du Chien south to Peoria, and is marked from Galena south to Peoria. The Trail Association has also secured the service of Jens Jensen, of Chicago, the famous landscape architect, to become the architect of the Indian Head Trail.

The association is now at work listing the great places of historic value along the route and there is a great wealth of early history from Galena north through Cuba City to La Crosse.

The Indian Head Trail will be the means of bringing to the attention of the tourists of the world, the wonderful places of historic lore through where the cradle of civilization was rocked in the north central states.

The association is also paying much attention to the wonderful scenery to be found from Milledgeville, Ill., to La Crosse, Wis., and this, of course, includes the great state park at Prairie du Chien.

The Association plans to make the Indian Head Trail the equal of the Lincoln Highway, and that means that the Indian Head Trail becomes the great north and south route of the United States. The Gulf of Mexico and the Canadian border are the objective ends.

By April 1917, Cuba City's markers for the route had arrived. The Cuba City News Herald (April 27, 1917) reports:

The markers for the Indian Head Trail have arrived and will be placed at once. The design is of an Indian head and is very distinctive in contour and color.

A mention in the Hazel Green section of the Cuba City News Herald (August 17, 1917) further describes the Indian Head Trail markers:

The Indian Heads are attached to the telephone poles, which together with the yellow and red painted rings on the poles, mark the Indian Head trail through our village and town.


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