Gravel Road Construction Camps

During the Great Depression era the government started to gravel the endless miles of dirt roads both to improve the country and furnish thousands of jobs to the unemployed. Both rock crushers and man power were needed. At one time, Daviess County utilized 47 men to work on a 7-mile stretch of road. A Gallatin quarry employed 50 men and crushed eight loads of stone daily. Two shifts of men were utilized to work six hours daily for a five day workweek. Other quarries were opened at Pattonsburg and Jamesport.

During the Great Depression era the government started to gravel the endless miles of dirt roads both to improve the country and furnish thousands of jobs to the unemployed. Both rock crushers and man power were needed. At one time, Daviess County utilized 47 men to work on a 7-mile stretch of road. A Gallatin quarry employed 50 men and crushed eight loads of stone daily. Two shifts of men were utilized to work six hours daily for a five day workweek. Other quarries were opened at Pattonsburg and Jamesport.

A contract was let for the grading of 6 Highway for 22.5 miles, or from Gallatin to the Cameron Junction. Camps would be established at suitable points since the project would take five to six months. The first camps to be established would be two and four miles from Gallatin. To do the project, forty dump wagons, two caterpillar trucks, two blade graders and approximately 100 mules would be utilized.

The demand for crushed rock continued to increase. The Grand River Township purchased a new crusher which was one of the most efficient models. It was claimed the new machine had a capacity of 10 to 15 yards of rock per hour.

In 1934, Daviess County started construction on a 26-mile stretch of road designated to become Highway West 65. An estimated two hundred 37 men would be utilized for five months, and unemployment would then drop to a low ebb. This highway was later given the name Highway 13.

 Local labor with dependents would get the first call on the road work. If the right-of-way could be cleared up, the road would go from Hamilton, through Gallatin, and to Bethany. Between Gallatin and the Harrison County line, the route would be constructed with traffic relief funds, and the balance of the way with farm-to-market roads funds.

The surface was to be gravel and the cost through the Daviess County area would be approximately a half a million dollars. The 1933 projects agreed upon for the county would be as follows:

(1) Construction of a concrete payment 4.4 miles long aside the present nine foot payment of Route 6 between Gallatin and Jamesport at an estimated cost of $78,000.

(2) Construct an oil mat surface, five miles long on Route 6, from Gallatin east, at an estimated cost of $5,000.

(3) Grade and surface with gravel 15.3 miles on Route 13 from Gallatin north to Harrison County line at an estimated cost of $180,000.

(4) Grade and surface with gravel 10 miles from Gallatin south to Caldwell County line at an estimated cost of $160,000.

Researched by Wilbur Bush, Gallatin (2003)