The original straighter, smoother road from Des Moines to Council Bluffs ran along the Rock Island and Pacific Railroad line. At times in the very early 1900’s Iowa was impassable. Winter snow and muddy run off from the overdeveloped hills made travel through this central state nearly impossible. Towns along this passage knew automobile travel was the wave of the future. Reliable roads to connect townships was just good business. The promotion of the road became known in auto club circles, traveling the “Great White Way” was a travelers dream!
Eventually the road was extended east from Des Moines to Davenport. The property of the actual road was not engineered or funded by state or federal governments but privately. Farmers worked together to construct the highway at the encouragement of local businesses. It was a win-win situation. Sections were maintained by residents by “dragging” the dirt track smooth. The state and then the federal departments of roads were tasked with upgrading and maintaining the road. With the construction of Interstate 80 the glory days of Hwy 6 waned almost to extinction.
Now with the rebirth of ‘roadtripping’ traveling the White Pole Road is a destination all to itself! History has steeped this section of hard blacktop with intrigue, and innovation. The infamous couple, Bonnie and Clyde rode through the area culminating one of their shoot outs in Dexter Iowa. The first train robbery of the West happened just south of this byway. Adiar has a historic rounded viaduct, Stuart is home to Good Eggs, and Drew’s Chocolates is a must sample treat. If shopping for antiques is more your speed, you won’t want to miss Casey’s brick lined main street shops.
If you want to leave the rush of the interstate behind, even for a few hours, I recommend taking a step back in time and traveling this historic road. Getting off the beaten path refreshes your soul. Slowing down to discover little treasures can energize you. Take the time to enjoy this beautiful area.
Travel well my friends!