Putting Roads on the Map

Each day, KHC features the hot topics and great speakers in the Speakers Bureau catalog. Today’s featured presentation is “Converting Pasture Paths to Public Roads” by Joan Nothern.

road building

Road construction in Beloit, 1914.
Image via kansasmemory.org, Kansas Historical Society, copy and reuse restrictions apply.

The transition from local and county roads to state and interstate highways required vision, energy, and collaboration. In her Speakers Bureau talk, Joan Nothern discusses the early years of the state’s roadway system when Kansas farmers cleaned and maintained the roads that crossed their properties and early travelers had a unique culture of collaboration and adventure.

Nothern is president of the Solomon Valley–Highway 24–Heritage Alliance and has coordinated historical research projects, organized symposiums, and assisted in the creation of 24 interpretive community kiosks. Her interest in sustaining rural Kansas communities has earned her awards from the Kansas Sampler Foundation and the UFM Community Learning Center.

Joan Nothern

Joan Nothern

Her topic details the work and planning by farmers, bankers, and town boosters, which made Kansas public road construction a dramatic story. “Roads played a defining role in a town’s future,” she said. “Location was critical. How these decisions were made is a fascinating part of Kansas history.”

Bring Joan Nothern’s “Converting Pasture Paths to Public Roads” or one of the other presentations in the Speakers Bureau catalog to your community for FREE with a Resource Center Support Grant. It’s quick and easy! Visit the Speakers Bureau page to get started or contact Leslie Von Holten, KHC program officer, at leslie(at)kansashumanities.org for more information.