Horace Stansel

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Horace Stansel (died 1936) was an American civil engineer and politician, remembered chiefly as the original architect of Mississippi's highway system.

Horace Stansel was born in Ruleville, Sunflower County, in the Mississippi Delta. While working as a laborer to help construct Mississippi A&M (now Mississippi State University), he overheard from a co-worker that labor could be used to earn a man's way through college. According to his later statements, he immediately presented himself to the office of the university president for admission. Stansel earned a degree in civil engineering several years later.

In 1928, Stansel was appointed by then-Governor Theodore G. Bilbo as the head of a committee to investigate the state's highway needs. The committee's conclusions resulted in Stansel authoring the Stansel Act of 1930, which established Mississippi's system of paved highways. Stansel placed his own touch on the system: the intersection of the state highways in Ruleville is at the site of his family home.

Stansel's success in Jackson led him to run, and win, election in the Mississippi House of Representatives. He progressed rapidly in prestige during the Great Depression and was elected Speaker of the House in 1936, shortly before his death from a heart attack. His widow, Pearl Stansel, took his seat and was later elected in her own right.