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Popular Highway Provides Scenic Views and History

June 25, 2019 07:04 PM

(ABC 6 News) -- A popular highway that cuts through several north Iowa towns provides more than just scenic views: It also holds historic value.

This summer, signage for the highway that stretches from Canada to New Orleans, known as the Jefferson Highway Heritage Byway, is starting to become more visible.

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"The Jefferson Highway is a historic highway that runs through Mason City, and the state has made it a priority to both identify landmarks and fix up the highway. It's part of recognizing our heritage here in Mason City and north Iowa," said Mason City Mayor Bill Schickel.

The byway runs between Northwood and Lamoni, roughly along U.S. Highways 65 and 69. Iowa will soon become the first state to get the Jefferson Highway route fully marked throughout the entire state.

Lindsey James, executive director for Visit Mason City Iowa, said, "We've been very interested in bringing their annual conference to Mason City. Obviously, the route passes through our community, so we have interest."

She hopes that highway recognition will bring even more spotlight to the city.

"Hugh Shepard was a Mason City native who was actually the international president of the Jefferson Highway Association back in 1925. The national headquarters were located in the Historic Park Inn. So we've submitted a bid to hopefully host the conference here in Mason City in 2020," James said.

City leaders have been in close contact with the Jefferson Highway Association for a few years.

"As part of that, they do a driving tour that takes conference attendees along the historic byway. Of course, there's great opportunities to explore in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota along that route," said James.

Credits

Brett Bachtle

Copyright 2019 - KAAL-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company

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