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Uncle Jack Fultz’s Memories of Carter County: 100 years later and the roads are still bad

By: Jeremy D. Wells
Carter County Times

They say the only things certain in life are death and taxes. In Carter County, we could add another to that list – complaining about the state of the roads. It seems that roads – taking them out of the county system, taking them into the county system, paving them, graveling them, ditching them, maintaining them, purchasing and selling equipment to maintain them – are a constant on the agenda of Carter County Fiscal Court. Hardly a meeting passes without some road issue making the agenda, and if they aren’t on the agenda someone comes in with a road issue to raise during the public comment period. 

Today it’s mostly about the establishment, care, and maintenance of roads in the county road system. But 100 years ago it was about establishing decent roads between communities and counties. So it was that Carter County experienced their “Good Road Boom” beginning in February of 1919. By the end of the month those efforts, and coordination with state and other county officials, had led to the state and federal government footing the bill for a portion of the Midland Trail – a state road that ran in part along the current route of US 60 through the county – joining Carter to Boyd and Rowan Counties and creating a thoroughfare connecting the east and west ends of the county. 

Now, if only we could get some more of those state and federal funds to improve other roads in the county that aren’t already under the maintenance of the state, though we doubt the $360,000 pledged to the Midland Trail project would go as far today. But at least we know some things are inevitable. The sun is always hot. Water is always wet. And everyone in Carter County always wants their road to be improved. 

Editor’s Note: This is the ninth in a series of articles drawn from the historical newspaper clippings in the scrapbooks of Jack Fultz. We thank Sally James of Sally’s Flowers in Olive Hill for sharing her uncle’s collected clippings with us and the community. – Jeremy D. Wells, editor, Carter County Times

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