When the first organizational meeting of the Jefferson Highway Association was held in New Orleans on November 15 and 16, 1915, organizers had expected to attract about fifty delegates, but over six times that number attended! In fact, more than fifty delegates showed up from Oklahoma, many of them from Muskogee. All delegates wanted the new highway to run through their states and cities. Route selection yielded the most contentious issue of all: would the new highway run through Arkansas or, less directly but on better roads, through Texas and Oklahoma?
David N. Fink, president of the Commercial Bank of Muskogee, quickly emerged as the leader of the Oklahoma delegation, which succeeded in getting the highway routed through Texas into Durant, Oklahoma, then north through McAlester, Muskogee and Vinita to the Missouri state line. At this
meeting Fink was also elected JHA vice-president. further reflecting the great enthusiasm for the new highway coursing through the state, several months later Fink and approximately two hundred other delegates from seven Oklahoma counties met in McAlester to organize the Oklahoma Jefferson Highway Association.
|This is the original road where the Jefferson Highway |
came into Muskogee from the south side.
It is now South 24th street and only used by local traffic.
Photo taken by Glenn Smith September 2012.
Muskogee had led the way to get the Jefferson Highway built in Oklahoma, and the leadership of David N. Fink (1868-1927) was an important part of the highway's successful completion.
This article by Glenn Smith was originally published in the Jefferson Highway Declaration Newsletter of the Jefferson Highway Association Vol 2, No. 1, Winter 2013