Hirst, Arthur Roscoe 1881 - 1932 | Wisconsin Historical Society

Historical Essay

Hirst, Arthur Roscoe 1881 - 1932

Hirst, Arthur Roscoe 1881 - 1932 | Wisconsin Historical Society

civil engineer, pioneer in the "good roads" movement, b. Elmont, N.Y. He graduated from the Univ. of Maryland (B.S., 1902) and worked as a highway engineer in the East. In 1907 he moved to Wisconsin to work in the Wisconsin geological and natural history survey at Madison. In 1911 the state highway commission was created and Hirst was appointed the first state highway engineer, an office that he held until 1924. While holding this position, he was instrumental in promoting the present state highway system and the system of numbering Wisconsin highways, which culminated in the State Trunk Highway Act of 1917. A Republican, Hirst resigned as highway engineer in 1924 because of a controversy with Governor J. J. Blaine (q.v.) over the highway program, and during the same year was an unsuccessful candidate against Blaine for the Republican gubernatorial nomination. In 1925 he moved to the East, but returned to Wisconsin in 1928 to work as a consulting engineer; and as engineer for the national bureau of public roads (1930-1932). Madison Wis. State journal, Aug. 21, 1932; M. M. Quaife, Wis. (4 vols., Chicago, 1924).

The Wisconsin Historical Society has manuscripts related to this topic. See the catalog description of the Arthur R. Hirst Papers for details.

Learn More

Explore more than 1,600 people, places and events in Wisconsin history.

[Source: Dictionary of Wisconsin biography]