Wisconsin DOT Creates Digital State Road Map Archive

The Wisconsin Department of Transportation recently activated an online archive of official state highway maps created over the past 100 years.

[Above image by Wisconsin DOT]

“We are excited to share this online archive as a time capsule of Wisconsin’s state highway maps from the past century,” noted Wisconsin DOT Secretary Craig Thompson – who also serves as the vice president of the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials – in a statement.

Craig Thompson. Photo by Wisconsin DOT.

“We hope Wisconsinites, visitors, and history enthusiasts enjoy this fun opportunity to look back through time and explore the changes to our transportation infrastructure,” he added.

The first edition of the state highway map was printed in 1918 for public distribution, with subsequent map publications issued in the 1920s selling for 10 cents a copy and serving as a guide of the state trunk network.

By the 1930s, maps were distributed for free to the public with a new emphasis on road safety while also promoting travel and tourism for residents and visitors alike, the agency said.

Current maps include highway data from the Wisconsin DOT and “creative content” jointly developed with the Wisconsin Department of Tourism.

Wisconsin’s Official State Highway Map is distributed free to the public, which is now required by state law, and is distributed by the Wisconsin Department of Tourism as well as via visitor centers, rest areas, gas stations, and other businesses and organizations statewide.

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