COUNTY HIGHWAY SHOP
120 Bowen Circle,
Richland Center, WI 53581
RICHLAND COUNTY HIGHWAY COMMISSION …
120 Bowen Circle, Richland Center, WI 53581MAP and DIRECTIONS
RICHLAND COUNTY HIGHWAY HISTORY…
HOW RICHLAND COUNTY HIGHWAY BEGAN...
The general shape of Richland County is almost a square, except along the southern border, where the line follows the Wisconsin River, and is therefore of an irregular shape. Richland County contains sixteen townships; it covers 620 square miles or nearly 400,000 acres. The general character of the land is steep, bluffy hills and fertile valleys, and streams course down each dale. The earliest overland routes were Indian trails, which in many cases determined the route of early roads.
In the fall of 1845, Samuel Swinehart, one of the early Richland County settlers, joined a party of men and opened the first wagon road from Richmond (Now known as the town of Orion) to Rockbridge. In many areas, the "blazed" track through the woods was the early settlers only pathway or road available for them to travel the 70 miles or more to the nearest mills. The roads were frequently mud-clogged and rutted which made traveling hazardous and uncomfortable.
As settlement spread across the county, there were several petitions presented to the Richland County Board of Supervisors asking if companies might be empowered to build plank roads. The Richland County Board of Supervisors appointed a committee to look into the matter.
The newly appointed committee reported that it is in the best interest of this county that the said petitions, with restrictions, be granted; and the committee recommended that Garwood Green, Joseph C Clark and J W Coffinberry, of the town of Buena Vista; D L Downs, Charles G Rodolf and Napoleon Graham, of the town of Richmond; R M Miller, Jacob Rhodes and Reuben Powers, of the town of Richwood, be appointed commissioners to draft and compile charters, open stock or subscriptions for one, two or three plank and turnpike companies.
The committee held their first meeting at Richmond, Dec 20, 1856, and agreed that one road may commence at Richland City (Lone Rock), one at Richwood and one at Port Andrew, to run northerly in direction and end at a location as determined by the commissioners, with capital for all the highways not to exceed $20,000.
It was not known at that time, but the Richland County Board of Supervisors and this newly formed committee were making decisions that lead to the creation of the Richland County Highway Commission in the near future.
Richland County’s first recorded Highway Commissioner was G. W. Mainwaring who began his career in 1909. In his youth, he was a telegraph operator and then became a civil engineer. Mainwaring served Richland County Highway for approximately 8 years. He passed away at his home in September 1944.
Public support for permanent, safe and efficient roads spread across the state in the 1890s. A state-supported highway program was then established. The State of Wisconsin Highway Commission was created and appropriated $350,000 of state money to aid towns and counties in the construction of roads and bridges. The first work under this law was done in 1912. It was during this time that the State of Wisconsin Highway Commission required all counties to elect a County Highway Commissioner if they wanted to participate in the state funding. Richland County already had a Highway Commissioner as noted above. During the first year of this program, Richland County was awarded $2,840.85 to use on its roads and bridges. The policy for state aid for construction and maintenance was very successful, so successful, that the counties and towns petitioned for a total $823,000 of state aid for the following year of which Richland County was awarded $3,354.86.
Melvin Carter was Richland County’s second Highway Commissioner. He remained employed for Richland County for only 1 year, from 1918 to 1919. Virgil Robinson, Mainwaring’s nephew, was the third commissioner in Richland County. Robinson was commissioner for thirty-eight years. Richland County has had 8 commissioners at the helm since 1909.
Richland County Highway Commission Commissioners:
|George H. Mainwaring||1909 - 1917|
|Melvin O. Carter||1918 - 1919|
|Virgil Robinson||1920 - 1958|
|Tony Pokorny||1959 - 1963|
|Ken Rentz||1963 - 1979|
|John Huth||1979 - 2001|
|Randy Schoeneberg||2001 - 2010|
|James Chitwood||2010 - Current Commissioner|
1911 Wisconsin State Statutes, Section 1317m-6, page 846
History of Crawford and Richland Counties, Wisconsin - Union Publishing Company - Springfield, IL – 1884 http://www.usgennet.org/usa/wi/county/richland/books/history.htm
History of Richland County by Judge James H. Miner – 1906
Finances, Viola News, October 30, 1919
Former Highway Commissioner Dies, Richland Democrat, September 28, 1944, Page 1.
George Mainwaing Dies at Richland Hospital, Republican Observer, September 28, 1944, Page 1.
Wisconsin Historical Society, Hit the Road: Early Road Development,
Wisconsin Public Documents collection, http://digital.library.wisc.edu/1711.dl/WI.WIPublicDocs
Wisconsin Farmers' Institutes / Wisconsin Farmers' Institutes : a hand-book of agriculture. A report of the twenty-fifth annual closing Farmers' Institute, held at Hudson, Wisconsin, March 14, 15, 16, 1911, Bulletin No. 25 (1911) Hotchkiss, W. O. Wisconsin's new highway law, pp. 284-293
Extended History, http://www.mywisconsingenealogy.com/wi-county-richland.html
Below is a picture of Richland County Employees out in front of the Courthouse. Note our very first Highway Commissioner, George H Mainwaring, pointed out in the crowd. He served Richland County from 1909 - 1917.
Below is a picture of the old Richland County Highway Shop when it was new. This shop was located downtown where the USH 14 and STH 80 intersection is now.
Below is a picture of the old Richland County Courthouse in the year 1889.
Below is a picture of the very first concrete bridge built in Richland County. It was located on CTH JJ in Buena Vista Township.
Below is a picture of an accident on the Lone Rock Bridge. A tractor has fallen off of the bridge. The picture was dated 1905.
Below is a picture of CTH D just west of STH 80.
Below is a picture of county workers working on CTH I.
Below is a picture of county workers installing culverts on CTH O.
Below is a picture of county workers installing drain tile.
Below is a picture of Simmons Bridge in Richland County.
Below is a picture of the county workers crushing rock in Shannon Quarry in 1937.
Below is another picture of our workers crushing rock in Shannon Quarry in 1937.
Below is a picture of county forces crushing rock in a Richland County Quarry.
Below is a picture of a county worker on a Case Tractor.
Below is a picture of a county worker on a Case Tractor.
Below is a picture of a county worker with his Richland County Highway Truck.
Below is a picture of a Buckeye Dacton Ditch Digger being used on a county road.
Below is a picture of an excavator at work and Richland County Highway workers with a truck.
Below is a picture of STH 80 South of Dunn Bridge.
The "NEW" RICHLAND COUNTY SHOP...
The Richland County Highway Shop was built in 1994.
The facility consists of:
Vehicle Storage and Repair
36,700 square feet
Storage of 15 trucks
Three-bay Repair Access
Five-ton Overhead Bridge Crane
Welding Shop with Isolated Exhaust System
Below is a picture of the New Shop. Administration Offices and Shop.
Below is a picture of the truck scales.
WASTE OIL RECOVERY
Below is a picture of the waste oil facility.
SELF-CONTAINED SALT STORAGE FACILITY
Below is a picture of the Salt Shed.
ABOVE GROUND FUEL DISPENSING SYSTEM
Below is a picture of the Fuel Facility.
YARD and UNHEATED STORAGE
Master Plan for future growth
Below is a picture of the Storage Shed and Sign Shop.
Do you have a question about the Highway Shop Building & Grounds?
Click the FAQ or Email us with comments or questions.