Historians trace Dixie Highway trail

Mary Beth Reed explains history of the Dixie Highway. / Jessica Fairley

The Georgia Department of tTansportation is conducting a survey to document the route and significance of the 'Dixie Highway'.

From 1915 to 1927 the highway was the way north for southerners and south for northerners but following the route could be confusing for travelers. Now nearly 100 years later the GDOT wants to connect the dots.

"We're looking at this time period to see what it meant in terms of the geography of Georgia, what it meant in terms of state building, what it meant to northerners coming south and what it meant to the south as it opened up to the north," says Mary Beth Reed, New South Associates Inc. President and Dixie Highway Study Project Manager.

The plan is to take a survey of towns across the state to see if officials or residents can point historians in the direction of the highway.

"A lot of people tell us where the Dixie Highway is but that's something that we need to learn through historic research," says Mary Beth Reed.

As a part of the study surveyors are planning to hit the road. They'll be on the lookout for old road markers that served as guides for travelers.

It's been discovered that although people remember the Dixie Highway as one route, there were actually several.

"In Georgia we do have the west division, east division, a central division, and a Carolina division and so these are all things we're uncovering with our research," says Paul Simo, New South Associates Inc. Historian.

GDOT plans to use the information gathered to create a model for future studies for the state of Georgia.
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