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The day 500 vehicles an hour passed through Bluffton

On Labor Day 1927 - thanks to the Dixie Highway

Imagine 500 vehicles in one hour traveling down Main Street Bluffton.

That’s eight per minute.

One every seven seconds.

And, it happened on Labor Day, 1927.

Yes, 95 Labor Days ago traffic on Bluffton’s Main Street averaged one vehicle every seven seconds.

The following account from the Sept. 8, 1927, Bluffton News tells the story.

Residents today forget that Main Street Bluffton in 1927 was part of the Dixie Highway, carrying travelers from upper Michigan to the tip of Florida.

There was no bypass around town and it was all two-lane traffic.

Sept. 8, 1927 Bluffton News headline: Everybody was joy riding Labor Day

The story:

Monday’s Labor Day traffic was one of the heaviest ever seen on the Dixie Highway.

Actual count during the rush hours in the afternoon showed a total of 500 cars an hour passing over the highway, an average of over eight a minute or one every seven seconds.

More to this story: • This can only mean that someone was counting vehicles.

Who was it?

• The 1927 story states “one of the heaviest ever.” Does that mean people counted traffic each Labor Day in the 1920s?

Could be.

• Try attempting to cross a street averaging one vehicle every seven seconds without a stop light. IN 1927 MAIN STREET DID NOT HAVE STOPLIGHTS!!!

We understand some residents thought stoplights were unnecessary in 1927.

Stoplights on Bluffton's Main Street were eventually installed in 1928.

• Main Street Bluffton continued to be an interstate 2-lane highway for the next 30 years.

No way!

• In the late 1950s, the state constructed a Dixie Highway bypass around Bluffton.

When the bypass opened Main Street businesses believed that would dry up local business.

• Later U.S. 25 (a.k.a. Dixie Highway) became Interstate 75, the four-lane bypass of Bluffton.

Today, much of I-75 in Ohio is six lanes.

Main Street Bluffton in the 1920s

Sept. 8, 1927, front page Bluffton News

Map of the Dixie Highway



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