Term: Highway Marking (Historic Marker Erected 1956)
7 mi. SE of Watertown, Hwy. 16, Jefferson County
In the old days when both automobiles and roads were few in number, it was easy for those who had cars to get far enough away from home to get lost. While there were some "trails" such as the Cannon Ball Trail and the Yellowstone Trail (marked by daubs of yellow paint on the convenient object along the roadside) the long distance traveler was usually guided by such natural features as hills, boulders, creeks and rivers, or by man-made landmarks (bridges, barns, schoolhouses, etc.). In 1917 the Wisconsin Highway Commission engineers recommended and inaugurated, with the Legislature's authorization, the first statewide system of identifying highways by number. This highway was designated State Trunk Highway 19 (later U.S. 16) and was the first to be marked and signed by numerals. The now familiar number system was later adopted by all other states and many foreign countries.
[Source: Source: McBride, Sarah Davis. History Just Ahead (Madison:WHS, 1999).]