Capitol Highway

Center Point Motor Club


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Center Point road markerThe Center Point Motor Club (CPMC) first applied for route registration with the Iowa State Highway Commission (ISHC) on Aug. 8, 1914.1 The application was signed by F.D. Bryner, president, and Mark A. Newland, secretary. The application stated that the route’s logo would be a black cross, 7 inches by 7 inches, with 3-inch arms on a white background. This logo was adopted after the CPMC learned that the emblem it originally intended to use - two red balls - was deemed too similar to the Red Ball Route’s logo of a single red ball.2

Newland’s efforts to get the CPMC registered as an official highway route began with several fits and starts. The earliest dated correspondence between Newland and the ISHC is a June 9, 1914, letter in which Newland wrote: “We did not know that it was necessary to get permission to place signs along the public highway until we had our signs painted.” 3 It turned out that Newland was woefully uninformed about other things, too, such as the CPMC emblem’s similarity to that of the Red Ball Route’s. Unfortunately for the CPMC, it had already painted approximately 70 signs, which they would not be able to use.

Not only did the ISHC determine that the CPMC had to change its emblem, but Robert Carson, secretary of the Red Ball Route, wrote to Newland himself, saying, “It is not practical to adopt duplicate routes with the same marker….It is doubtless to be regretted that you did not make inquiry regarding route marking, before you had the signs made up….Surely there are enough symbols and markers left to choose from, which might be suitable for the territory you desire to cover.” 4

On June 19, 1914, Newland wrote to the ISHC asking whether the CPMC could use a red cross on a white background as their route’s emblem.5 The ISHC replied that unfortunately that marker had already been taken by another road association.6 Newland’s next proposal of a black cross on a white background was finally deemed acceptable.

From this point forward, progress toward CPMC’s route registration was fairly slow, but steady. In a letter dated Sept. 2, 1914, Newland stated that he had marked the CPMC route on the county maps provided by the ISHC. He also reported that “a committee of four from our Motor Club went over the route with automobiles and selected the best roads or what will be the best when completed. We also found that the towns along the route were very enthusiastic as to this route from St. Paul via Rochester, Cresco, Waucoma, Oelwein, Center Point, to Cedar Rapids, IA.” 7

On Sept. 4, 1914, the ISHC wrote to Newland, “We will issue a certificate of registration at the next meeting of the Commission, which will be on the ninth instant, and send same to you in a very short time.” 8 The Center Point Motor Club was successfully registered with the Iowa State Highway Commission on Sept. 9, 1914.



1 Registration of Highway Routes application form, box 1, folder HA2.019, document HA2.019.0001
2 Letter from ISHC to Mark A. Newland, June 12, 1914, box 1, folder HA2.019, document HA2.019.0003
3 Letter from Mark A. Newland to Thomas H. McDonald, box 1, folder HA2.019, document HA2.019.0002
4 Letter dated June 17, 1914, box 1, folder HA2.019, document HA2.019.0007
5 Letter from Mark A. Newland to Thomas H. McDonald, June 19, 1914, box 1, folder HA2.019, document HA2.019.0010
6 Letter from ISHC to Newland, June 23, 1914, box 1, folder HA2.019, document HA2.019.0011
7 Letter from Newland to ISHC, box 1, folder HA2.019, document HA2.019.0023
8 Letter from ISHC to Newland, box 1, folder HA2.019, document HA2.019.0024