Lisbon Plank Road History

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*Though not the first in the United States, the Lisbon Plank road was the first built in what was then the Territory of Wisconsin, two years later the state of. read below:

On July 18, 1846, the United States’ firstplank road opened in North Syracuse, New York, primarily for salt transportation. The road cost $23,000, was 16-1/2 miles long and planked its entire length. Thomas Alvord, State Legislator, who later became Lieutenant Governor helped secure the passage of an Act to construct, maintain and collect tolls. There were four tollgates about four miles apart that were operated by the company which was a profitable enterprise for many years. The fees were 1 cent per head of cattle, 5 cents for a single horse, and 25 cents for a horse and wagon.

There was a dirt side and planked side to the road; the East Side was dirt and the West Side planked 3″ thick by 8′ long. Loaded wagons had the right of way on the planked side, the other side being reserved for empty wagons, single horses and for passing. Bicycles used the plank side on Sunday for racing. Due to wear and tear by horses’ shoes and iron hoops on wagon wheels, a gang was constantly busy just making repairs.