As highway routes were being laid out in the early 1900s, Madison County officials worked diligently to secure a route through the county on the Dixie Highway. This was met with opposition from our neighbors in Lowndes County, who complained about the poor condition of the roads in Madison County. However, our city officials made sufficient improvements so that the highway would pass through the county as it made its way down the state.
At the time, roads were not being paved. They were graded and ditched, with clay being occasionally added at sandy spots. Also happening were steady improvements to bridges and ferries across the river that were being made. Many of the wooden structures were being replaced with steel spans. In 1912, a new steel bridge over the Withlacoochee River at Bellville was constructed at a cost of $4,297.
Madison County split the price with Hamilton County. Two months after construction was completed, heavy rains descended in our area, causing high water levels at the bridge and its subsequent collapse. After Madison and Hamilton Counties collaborated with an inspection of the bridge, it was decided that faulty construction was the cause of the collapse and steps were taken to have the company that built it to replace it.
Cars were gradually becoming more numerous, but they were still such a novelty that the local newspaper reported on each purchase of a vehicle in the community. In 1914, Model T Roadsters were selling for $550.