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1914 Built Convict Road, Fredonia, Iowa

In 2017 the Rural Hometown Pride Committee of Louisa County took on the task of historically remembering the 1914 Convict-built concrete road in Fredonia.  It was one of the first concrete roads built in a rural area in the nation and certainly one of the first built with convict labor. In an attempt to learn more about the significance of this road, the committee created a survey to determine interest, ideas and gather historic stories about this road that was 103 years old (and still in good shape) at the time.

The committee worked together to gather information and stories featured in the book, "Sands of Time" compiled by Tom Woodruff, PE and local historian.  The rural committee is now working on both directional signage to help people find this 1.5 mile road and interpretive signage to help visitors learn its story.  The group expects to have a design idea and better cost estimate by early July 2018.  We are waiting for a final cost opinion from the design engineer but anticipates the project will cost around $25,000.  

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Sands of Time (Book)

Compiled by: Tom Woodruff, PE

This book is a collection of stories, verse, history, romance, adventure, a little whimsy and importantly, wonderful Iowa humor.  Click the title to view.

Convict Road Brochure

View a brochure with more information about this unique roadway.  It includes a map of the Convict Road, photos and some quotes.

 A view of the Convict Road as of 2017.  The road has really held up good considering it was 103 years old at the time of the photo!

A view of the Convict Road as of 2017.  The road has really held up good considering it was 103 years old at the time of the photo!

 Convict Camp by the Iowa River, Fredonia

Convict Camp by the Iowa River, Fredonia

 The pilings from the old wagon bridge are still visible at low water levels on the Iowa River at the River Forks Boat Access, Fredonia 

The pilings from the old wagon bridge are still visible at low water levels on the Iowa River at the River Forks Boat Access, Fredonia 

 Pouring concrete - the prisioners were allowed to wear a "Respectable Grey."

Pouring concrete - the prisioners were allowed to wear a "Respectable Grey."

Visit the site

Most of the Convict Road is on public property and still part of the county roads system. People are welcome to visit the site although signage is still in the works.  The site is located on the East side of the Iowa River.  Turn North off Highway 92 onto Co Rd G40 toward Fredonia.  Then turn either right or left onto 155th Street.  Left follows the Concrete roads down to the River Forks Boat Access and right follows the Concrete Road back toward HWY 92.