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Dixie Highway-Wilderness Road Collection



Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Dixie Highway-Wilderness Road Collection

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Dixie Highway-Wilderness Road Collection | Berea College Special Collections and Archives Catalog

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Collection Overview

Title: Dixie Highway-Wilderness Road CollectionAdd to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1920s-1930s

Extent: 1.0 MS boxes

Subjects: Boone, Daniel -- 1734-1820., Dixie Highway -- History., United States -- Wilderness Road., Westward movement., Wilderness Road.

Languages: English


Shaped by Native American paths and old buffalo traces, the Wilderness Road was forged in 1775 by Daniel Boone for the Transylvania Company. The trail, and later the road, winded through the Cumberland Gap–a notch in the Appalachian Mountains located near the intersection of Kentucky, Virginia and Tennessee–through the interior of Kentucky and to the Ohio River.

The Wilderness Road served as an avenue of westward migration for some 300,000 settlers and led to the establishment of the first settlements in Kentucky and to Kentucky’s admission to the Union in 1792.  By the early 1790’s the trail was being widened to accommodate wagon traffic and was commonly being referred to as Wilderness Road. Private contractors, authorized to keep up sections of the road, charged tolls for its use; however, the building of the National Road and an increase in the use of water ways for travel initiated a decrease in the use of the Wilderness Road and, by the 1840’s, the Road was essentially abandoned.

Since 1926 the Wilderness Road has been linked to U.S. Route 25 (the Dixie Highway) connecting Detroit, Michigan to Miami, Florida.  Like the Wilderness Road before it (which brought settlers and supplies westward), the Dixie Highway brought travelers and tourism to rural areas.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection is comprised of photographs from the dedication of the section of the Wilderness Road being linked to the Dixie Highway that would create a straight highway south from Ohio.  The photographs show the roadway as it was before paving.  They were taken in the late 1920’s or early 1930’s by Howard Wilson—manager of the Civic Affairs Department of the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce.  Included in the collection is a miniature cast-iron model of a house—a souvenir of the time.

Subject/Index Terms

Boone, Daniel -- 1734-1820.
Dixie Highway -- History.
United States -- Wilderness Road.
Westward movement.
Wilderness Road.

Administrative Information

Repository: Berea College Special Collections and Archives Catalog

Access Restrictions: Records can be accessed through the Reading Room, Berea College Special Collections and Archives, Hutchins Library, Berea College.

Use Restrictions: There are no known restrictions on the collection other than federal copyright regulations. Please cite all references to this collection.

Preferred Citation: [Object identification], Dixie Highway/Wilderness Road Photograph Collection, Berea College Special Collections & Archives, Berea, KY.

Processing Information: The collection was arranged by Rachel Burnside, Archives Processing Assistant. The finding aid was created by Rachel Burnside and Lori Myers-Steele, Collections Archivist, in December 2014.  Postcard added March 2018.

Other Note: BCA 0177 SAA 173

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Box:

[Box 1: Dixie Highway-Wilderness Road Collection],

Box 1: Dixie Highway-Wilderness Road CollectionAdd to your cart.
Folder 1: Photographs, 1920s-1930sAdd to your cart.
Photographs of the dedication of the Wilderness Road
Item 1: Miniature cast-iron model of a coal houseAdd to your cart.
Folder 2: Postcard: "Dixie Highway from Top of 'Big Hill,' Madison County, 'In Old Kentucky", ca. 1915Add to your cart.

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