08
Mar
09

vacation in yr own backyard #4: dixie highway

postcard

above image borrowed from vintagepostcards.org

Dixie Highway (also known as US Highway 31) was first planned in 1914, to connect the Midwest with the Southern United States. It was part of the National Auto Trail system. The highway was constructed and expanded from 1915 to 1927.  The stretch of road south of the Watterson Expressway from Shively, through PRP, Valley Station, and beyond has been referred to as “wide, wide Dixie Highway” in everything from country songs to auto dealership advertisements.  A 1969 article in Life magazine declared the stretch of road in Jefferson County one of the nation’s most dangerous roads for both drivers and pedestians, which led to another unfortunate nickname, “Dixie Dieway.”   

Dixie highway today is at the heart of Louisville’s South End and is an interesting convergence of old and new, with plenty of kitsch and a few gems.  Bars and restuarants, auto repair shops, gas stations, liquor stores, a movie theater, strip malls, strip clubs, abandoned buildings, bowling alleys, trailer parks, bait and tackle stores, the nearby Waverly Hills Sanatorium, peddlers’ malls, carpet stores, neon, and of course—thousands of cars.

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4 Responses to “vacation in yr own backyard #4: dixie highway”


  1. March 14, 2009 at 8:57 pm

    nice photos. Thanks, I enjoyed your post immensely. It’s nice to see someone writing something worth reading.

  2. 2 Roger Mcguinn
    March 17, 2009 at 5:25 pm

    Drivin’ down the Dixie Highway
    Doin’ my best to hold the road
    All night long on the Dixie Highway
    Bring my Florida baby a heavy load

    Windin’ down the Dixie Highway
    Stars above the midnight blue
    Coming now on the Dixie Highway
    U.S. number one to get to you

    Tampa Bay, Lauderdale, ride beside the sea
    But to say, no sweeter baby anywhere for me

    Southern moon on the Dixie Highway
    Orange blossom kisses on my mouth
    Me oh my, the Dixie Highway
    On my way to heaven headin’ south
    On my way to heaven headin’ south

  3. 3 Ketti
    March 18, 2009 at 3:57 pm

    We discovered a great place off Dixie, about 9 miles south of the Gene Snyder. It is called Bridges to the Past (on the left just before Muldragh? Hill). There is a paved ~2 mile hike and then there is a more rustic hike to Tioga Falls (a pretty nice 3 tiered waterfall). The trail goes along an old wagon road (in places you can see the old rock walls supporting the road from underneath). It was slow going though climbing over all the fallen down trees from the storm.

    Speaking of old abandoned houses there is one on the right by the river about half way to to the hiking area. It is an old house, like late 1800s or older, and seems to sit on a few acres of land…makes me wonder about the history of that place. Here is a link to information about Tioga Falls http://www.radclifftourism.org/tiogafalls.shtml .


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