Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 4/11/2009 (3733 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
"WINNIPEG seems like a nice city but I now know why the nickname for it is 'Windypeg,'" Mike Conlin wrote Tuesday, in his online diary of his trek along the once-famous Jefferson Highway.
Windypeg? We love you! You can call us Windypeg. Anything but the narcolepsy- inducing "Winterpeg."
Actually, Conlin from New Orleans and Gary Augustine from Prince George, B.C., have another name for Winnipeg: Mile Zero. Winnipeg is Mile Zero, the northern terminus of the historic Jefferson Highway.
The two friends are hoping to revive interest in the route connecting Winnipeg and New Orleans and points between, which was established in 1919. They leave from the corner of Stafford Street and Pembina Highway today at 9 a.m. to retrace the 3,500-kilometre route.
"People are right into this stuff and, with the baby boomers all ready to retire, and into that age where you're more into history, I've got a feeling that that highway is going to come back," said Conlin.
In fact, Conlin had emails Tuesday from 27 different newspapers along the route wanting interviews. He was being interviewed by The Times Picayune in New Orleans for the fourth time. The
Picayune has already written three stories about his preparation for the adventure. The Picayune has indicated to him it wants to follow his progress over the next 16 days until his scheduled arrival in New Orleans.
The Jefferson Highway is not so much a trade corridor — that would be boring — as a socializing corridor. Drive along and make friends. If you spend money and someone tells you it's good for their economy, you have permission to tell them to shut up.
In fact, the very first motorcade to complete the route in 1919 was called the The Palm to Pine Sociability Run. In 1926, a motorcade of 32 cars and 132 people from Manitoba, led by Mayor Ralph Webb, returned the favour. Going south, the name is reversed to the Pine-to-Palm.
Former Winnipeg Mayor Steve Juba liked the idea, too. In 1957, he travelled the Jefferson Highway handing out lapel pins to everyone he met and inducting dignitaries — like the mayor of Davenport, Iowa, the mayor of Greenville, Miss., etc. — into the Manitoba Order of the Buffalo Hunt.
A complete list is on the Manitoba Historical Society website at mhs.ca.
The Jefferson Highway was the first north-south transcontinental road to span the North American continent. The route was named after the third president of the United States, the man who negotiated the Louisiana Purchase from Napoleon.
It runs through Minnesota, Iowa, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Texas and ends in New Orleans, La.
The completion of Highway 75 in Manitoba marked the Canadian leg of the Jefferson Highway. However, it lost its name to the standardized numbering system in the 1920s.
For more information, check the website www.jeffersonhighway.com.