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Dixie Highway

Dixie Highway. The paving of Dixie Highway -- a road system reaching from Michigan's Upper Peninsula to southern Florida -- started south of Hamilton in Fairfield Township. July 10, 1917, near the present intersection of Winton Road and Dixie Highway (Ohio 4). In some sections, there were two or three parallel north-south legs of the highway, plus east-west connections.

By June 1917, a network of about 5,100 miles had been planned. The eastern division of the highway -- which passed through Middletown and Hamilton -- stretched 1,536 miles from Detroit to Miami. Hamilton City Council voted in May 1916 to change the name of a portion of Central Avenue south of Grand Boulevard to Dixie Highway. A western division -- which included Indianapolis and Louisville -- was 1,802 miles in length from Chicago to Miami.

Geography and the advanced state of the road made the Dixie Highway a favorite route for bootleggers and rum runners during Prohibition (1919-33). In Butler County, the Stockton Club on Dixie Highway in Fairfield Twp. was a major attraction. The classy roadhouse featured top-grade whisky, high-stakes gambling and quality entertainment. Some believed that for much of the Prohibition era, the Stockton Club was controlled by the Purple Gang, a strong Detroit mob. (See separate entry on Stockton Club.) In southeast Michigan during Prohibition, the Dixie Highway was known as "Avenue de Booze" and "Rummers' Runway" because of the number of roadhouses between Detroit & Toledo.

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