The conference in Chattanooga, Tenn., attended by the Governors of Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Georgia, Ohio, and Tennessee, or their specially chosen representatives, has for its object the building of a highway from Chicago to Miami, Fla. This long road should be a monument to celebrate the half century of peace within the Union, for it will surpass in potential value and fitness any work which might he designed for that noble purpose by sculptor or architect. The Dixie Highway will be veritably a Highway of Peace uniting the North and South as they have never been united before. Extending from Chicago southward through fertile Indiana and the blue-grass regions of Kentucky, over Tennessee's mountains into Georgia, and thence to Miami, on the ocean coast of Southern Florida, this broad concrete road will serve as a new bond of sympathy between the States and a new means to industrial development. It should be built to endure, like the old Roman roads still traveled in Central Europe, and symbolic of the united strength of a great nation.
The road is the first necessity of industrial civilization and its latest reliance. This highway, which is to extend from the extreme north of the national domain to the far south, appeals powerfully to the imagination. Its length will exceed a thousand miles, and where else in the whole world could road builders survey a thousand miles so fertile, so rich, and varied in natural resources, so famous for scenic charm and historic associations? The road will run through great cities, through forests, farms, and orchards of incalculable value, through manufacturing districts of rapidly growing importance, upon which the whole world must depend in the future. In Southeastern Tennessee it will reach Chattanooga over the Cumberland tablelands, from the southern extremity of which, at Signal Point on Walden's Ridge, there now exists the first link in the highway, a perfect road of eight miles built by an enterprising citizen of Chattanooga, C. E. JAMES, the originator and chief promoter of this Dixie National Highway.
As a memorial this project of a national highway running north and south must be first regarded. It has other claims, of course. It has a sound practical significance apart from its sentimental and patriotic aspect. The self-moving vehicle has enlarged the public comprehension of the value of good roads. People travel now who never traveled under the old conditions. The popular motor car of the hour is cheaper than the horse and carriage of the last generation, and it will carry its owner with railroad speed wherever he wants to go. A road from Chicago to Southern Florida will be in use all the year. Not alone for pleasure, but, with the rapidly developing utility of the self-moving wagon, it will serve as a powerful influence in the advancement of interstate commerce. Good roads beget roads. This national enterprise is bound to give an impetus to roadmaking in every State through which the highway runs, and it will create an interest in permanent highways in every direction. Along the whole line roads already existing will be linked with the new highway, stimulating industrial and social development.
Still, it is as a memorial of enduring quality, fitly symbolical of the accord between brethren which shall never again be broken, bisecting the country from north to south, that this Dixie Highway appeals most strongly to the national imagination. In Georgia, for instance. it will run to Atlanta along the very line of SHERMAN’S historic march to the sea, through Chickamauga and Ringgold, Dalton, Resaca, and alongside of Kennesaw Mountain and where, fifty years ago, the tramping army, with its followers and its dread caravan of engines of destruction and ambulances, laid a fair country waste, a new army of sturdy workers bearing the implements of peace will be employed to make a reborn country more vigorous and prosperous and its beauties more accessible to the world.
In the North the Dixie Highway, the great Peaceway, will cross the Lincoln Highway, which is to extend across the continent, and we may hope that in time another Southern highway, running from the Eastern States through Virginia southwestward through East Tennessee, one of the fairest spots on earth, may intersect the Dixie Highway at Chattanooga and run thence through Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana to Texas. Thus the monumental significance of this work is easily comprehended, and upon that aspect of the Dixie road emphasis may justly be laid by its projectors. The Peaceway we have called it, and as a symbol of lasting peace in this land it appeals best to the generous support of patriotic people of all sections of the country. The Dixie Peaceway is a project of national importance.