Point Douglas to Superior Military Road

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Point Douglas to Superior Military Road, also known as Point Douglas to St. Louis River Military Road and as Douglas Highway, was a road that ran between Point Douglas, located at the outlet of the Lower St. Croix Lake near Hastings, Minnesota, first to the falls of the St. Louis River near Thomson, Minnesota, and later extended to the mouth of the St. Louis River in Superior, Wisconsin. From Douglas Point immediately east of Hastings, Minnesota, the route connected Stillwater, Taylors Falls, Sunrise, Chengwatana, Fortuna, Scotts Corner, to Thomson and Superior. Several discontinuous sections of this road are still in use.

History[edit]

In 1855 the federal government began building the Point Douglas to Superior Military Road. Although intended as a highway for troop movement, this route from Hastings, Minnesota on the Mississippi River to Superior, Wisconsin on Lake Superior, was one of the first roads in Minnesota Territory and attracted a flood of civilian and commercial traffic. When Minnesota achieved statehood in 1858, responsibility for the road devolved to the state, which did not have the funds to finish the project. Although very rough and in places incomplete, the road was still the best route north until railroads were built in 1870. An alternative to the Military Road that ushered in the decline in use of the road came in 1895 when William Henry Grant built a spur of the Lake Superior and Mississippi Railroad to run to Sandstone, Minnesota. Traces of the unimproved military road can still be seen in Wild River State Park and Banning State Park.

Landmarks[edit]

The Point Douglas–St. Louis River Road Bridge in Stillwater Township, Minnesota

Existing sections[edit]

Original routing
  • County Road 4, Carlton County, Minnesota
  • County Road 1, Carlton County, Minnesota
Extended routing

Further reading[edit]

  • Payte, William. Field survey notes and abstract of proposals, Point Douglas and St. Louis River Road, 1855, 1857.
  • Rubinstein, Sarah P. (2003) Minnesota history along the highways: a guide to historic markers and sites
  • Singley, Grover (1974; reprint, 2002). "The Point Douglas-St. Louis River Road" in Tracing Minnesota's old government roads.
  • Singley, Grover. "Retracing the military road from Point Douglas to Superior" in Minnesota history, v. 40, pp. 233-247.