Toll Roads Close

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114 years ago today at 2pm, the last person passed through any tollgate in Daviess County

Prior to 1881, county roads were just mud and dust. The city started to gravel downtown roads around 1880. The county residents wanted to be included for the main roads leading to the city. Orders were made and work began in 1882. The Daviess Gravel Road Company, a private company, was formed in the mid-1880’s. It was headed by JWM Field and several directors, including MV Monarch, Allan Reid, JH Bell, and GW Williams. In 1883, the Owensboro & Oakford Gravel Road Co was formed to build west. In 1887, the Owensboro and Henderson Gravel Road Co started building a road toward Sorgho.

Some states allow private companies to build roads and charge tolls, but at the beginning, most residents were on board. A toll would be charged once two miles of gravel were laid, and a new tollgate put up for every five miles of road. There were several tollgates on main roads: Hardinsburg Rd (first tollgate, Hwy 60E near the railroad tracks), Leitchfield Rd (near Chautauqua Park), Henderson Rd (W 9th), and Berry Rd (Hwy 60W). There could have been others.

Oakford Rd was graveled in late 1883, (Old) Hartford Rd in late 1889, and Livermore Rd began in 1895.

The tolls along with some neglect caused many people to become frustrated and voice concern. Eventually, the Gravel Road Act passed in 1887, which gave Kentucky counties the right to buy gravel roads, so by 1897, there was a push for free county roads. In 1901, organization of free roads began, and the last toll was taken on Hardinsburg Rd around 2pm on April 20th, 1903. LaVega Clements helped lead this effort and the county paid $12,080 for the road.

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