In the early 1900s, Iowa's roads were so bad, the state acquired the derisive name "Gumbo State." When it snowed or rained, the roads were essentially impassable, being dirt as they were. Farmers found it difficult to move goods and mail was often delayed.
Governor B. F. Carroll called for a Good Roads Convention in Des Moines March 8-9, 1910, and plans were drawn up for a River-to-River Road from Davenport to Council Bluffs. A records was set when some 10,000 farmers got out and built 380 miles of roadway out of existing dirt roads. No one was paid for it either.
It followed a more northerly route.
The original White Pole Road was so designated in 1910 and followed along the Chicago, Rock island and Pacific Railroad from Des Moines Council Bluffs. It was touted as being straighter, leveler and shorter with a town along it every 5-6 miles.
It was not funded by the state and up to the people to maintain their sections and "drag the road" with their King drags. The towns didn't mind because they figured the more travelers you had, the more business.
An Early Road You Probably Never Heard Of. --RoadDog