The Dixie Highway map is finished!
If you desire to drive all or any part of the Dixie Highway the link to the map is shown below.
The map can be viewed from any computer by clicking on the link below, however, it is primarily designed to allow you to follow the route of the Dixie Highway as you are driving. The easiest way to do that is with a cell phone or a tablet like an iPad or Galaxy. Just click on the link from your phone/tablet and the map will come up. When it appears, click the small black bullseye in the corner of your screen. That will show your vehicle as a blue dot. Assuming you are on or near to the route, you will see the blue dot and the map route. Then just follow the route and it will take you all the way to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan or Miami, Florida, depending on your direction. Sorry, but this is just a visual aid; no turn-by-turn voice instructions.
Some basic information about the maps:
- The original Dixie Highway Association existed from 1915 – 1927 (though it technically never disbanded). For all intents and purposes, the Dixie Highway and other named routes were replaced by the U.S. Highway System which came into being in November of 1926. The focus of these maps is primarily on the Dixie Highway during that time period.
- The purpose of the maps, for the most part, is to identify the various routes so people who choose to drive them are able to do so. Since many original segments no longer exist or are no longer drivable, there are sections of my maps that aren’t actually part of the original DH. It’s simply one of the trade-offs for being able to drive the highway. In some sections I do call out old parts of the road (the red sections you see), and I’m sure there are hundreds of others that can eventually be added.
- Early highways were notorious for changing their routes, and the Dixie Highway is no exception. Sometimes the changes were along different streets within a single town, different routes between towns, or even different routes through different cities altogether. In some cases I have included multiple routes, in others I may have selected a single route. I will go back and identify additional routings as time permits and as I become aware of them. I have been trying to add source citations as I go. If you click on a segment of the road, information should pop up to indicate the source of that information. There may be sections I have missed, but I will continue to update and fix them.
- I know a lot about the DH, but there is far more that I don’t know about it. If you would like to provide me with additional information about route alternatives or correct errors I have made, I encourage you to do so. I just have two rules about offering up corrections: 1) play nice…there is no need to be rude when pointing out my mistakes, and 2) cite your sources. If your source is an article in your town’s weekly newspaper (or your uncle Bob) I am going to give it less weight than if you tell me it came from a specific map or trip guide from 1923. I have a lot of maps and tour books from that era that I have drawn from – Kelly Automobile Blue Books, Scarborough Automobile Green Books, Rand McNally and Clason atlases, AAA maps, U.S. Geological Survey map overlays, etc. – as well as access to 10 years of Dixie Highway Magazine and the minutes of the Dixie Highway Association. Even with all of that there are conflicting routes and gaps in information. Sometimes (often) I just made my best guess. If you have ever tried to create a map from a source like the Automobile Blue Book, you’ll understand why. Additional clarification or confirmation is always welcome.
The entire Michigan segment of the map is complete from Sault Ste. Marie (pronounced “sue saint marie” or just “the soo” for short) in the Upper Peninsula to Mackinaw City at the tip of the Lower Peninsula (Note that Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island and the Mackinac Bridge over the Straits of Mackinac are all pronounced exactly the same, with a “w” sound at the end. Nothing screams “tourist” more than calling it the “mack-in-ack bridge”) which represents the combined northern terminus of the Dixie Highway for both the Eastern Division and Western Division. The Western Division runs from Mackinaw City along Lake Michigan to the Indiana state line near South Bend. The Eastern Division runs from Mackinaw City along Lake Huron and through Detroit to the Ohio state line near Toledo. The scenic connector called the Thumb Loop runs from Bay City to Detroit through…you guessed it…the thumb of Michigan’s lower peninsula.
When initial plans for the Dixie Highway were announced in 1914, Chicago was intended to be the northern terminus. By 1915, two separate routes were created and Chicago became the northern terminus of the Western Division of the DH. Eventually, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan became the northern terminus for both the Eastern Division and the Western Division, and the Dixie Highway in Illinois was relegated to “connector” status. This section is included in the main map.
Indiana includes two different sections of the Dixie Highway. The continuation of the Chicago to Dayton connector runs west to east from the Illinois state line through Indianapolis and on to the Ohio state line. The Western Division of the highway travels from South Bend south to New Albany, across the Ohio River from Louisville, KY.
The entire Ohio section of the DH is complete and is part of the main map above. It includes the Eastern Division from Toledo to Cincinnati, including some alternative routes. It also includes the Ohio section of the Chicago – Dayton connector.
Kentucky is complicated. This map includes both Eastern Division routes. The pre-1918 routing goes from Cincinnati to Cumberland Gap. The post-1918 routing goes from Cincinnati to Jellico, TN, with two alternative routes between Cincinnati and Lexington, KY. I think there is at least one alternative pre-1918 route between Corbin, KY and Barbourville, KY, but I’m currently investigating it.
The Western Division of the Kentucky DH between Louisville and the Tennessee state line is also included on the map.
Tennessee is even more complicated than Kentucky. This map includes the Eastern Division, Western Division, and Carolina Division. Between 1915 – 1918 the Eastern Division passed from Chattanooga to Knoxville, then via two different routings to the Cumberland Gap. Beginning in April of 1918 the Eastern Division followed the same route between Chattanooga and Knoxville, but the new route from Knoxville to Kentucky went through Jellico. The Carolina Division remained consistent, traveling from Knoxville to the North Carolina state line east of Newport. Parts of the Carolina Division near Dandridge are difficult to follow because the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) flooded the French Broad River to create Douglas Lake, putting much of the original route between Dandridge and Newport under water. A similar thing occurred with Wats Bar Lake on the Eastern Division between Knoxville and Chattanooga.
The Western Division from the Kentucky state line through Nashville to Chattanooga has been added to the main map but there is a different, later routing that still needs to be added at some point.
The entire North Carolina route appears here including the Carolina Division and the “official detour” between Asheville and Hendersonville via Chimney Rock.
The entire South Carolina route appears here between North Carolina and Georgia. This is also a section of the Carolina Division.
Georgia probably has the most complicated mapping scheme of all of the states. It includes a Western Division, Eastern Division, Carolina Division and multiple connectors. Eventually the Carolina Division added part of the original Eastern Division to it, and the Eastern Division followed what was originally the Central Connector, with the two meeting in Jacksonville, Florida. The state of Georgia began mapping the DH, but I haven’t seen any additional progress in a while. I will modify my map to include the state of Georgia routing information to the extent I can, but the online information doesn’t seem to be systematically contained anywhere.
The Florida mapping is finally complete. This is the last section to be mapped, and is probably the most controversial as there are many roads through many towns labeled as the Dixie Highway, and it is my opinion that some of them are bogus; at least as the Dixie Highway relates to the 1915-1927 time period. Conversely, there are a couple of sections that actually belong to the DH that don’t really get recognition for that, so stay tuned. I think this will all take some time to sort out.
In the mean time, get out and drive as much of the Dixie Highway as you can!