Yealey on Toll Roads
While reading the beautiful poem written by Riley Scott (a Kentucky boy) entitled “The Toll Gate” we were reminded of our early toll gates. Life is but a Gate-way On the Road of Time Carved with many a legend And with flowers of rhyme. But an ancient Toll-Gate With a keeper old Where each passing trav’ler Pays his piece of gold.” Yes we had such gates in Boone County from 1837 up to the early 1900’s. During 1837 when the ridge road was completed from Covington to Lexington, toll gates were erected at the most convenient places along the road (generally where another road intersected of close by).
What we mean by a toll gate was a long pole that extended from the residence of the keeper of the toll gate to the opposite side of the road. He was where you paid for the right to travel a toll-road in those bygone days. What is now the Dixie Highway had two of these gates between Florence and Walton, one of these being at Devon, the other one located south of Richwood on the old Road [out of Walton, go north on the old Nicholson Road, and the very last building north of the Gaines/Gault house, east side of the road, stood the toll-house]. Both are still used as residences.
The Florence and Burlington Pike had two gates. In early times the toll was collected from what is now the Price Connor house, but later moved to the residence now occupied by Stanley Aylor. The other gate was located at the junction of the Hebron and Burlington Pike. This house has been removed, and a better approach to the Hebron and Limaburg road is the result. There were two between Burlington and Belleview, and if you went through Petersburg from Burlington you would pass three. The Florence and Union Pike had two. The Price Pike had one, and the Mitchellville Dry Creek Pike had two.
Before the bond issue was carried there were about twenty-five toll gates in our county. The fare for traveling these roads varied according to the vehicle, for a horse and buggy it was generally 2 ½ cents a mile. As the auto appeared it was twenty cents per mile for a motor driven vehicle. This writer paid $2.40 for the privilege to drive his auto from Florence to Burlington and return. Roads would be less traveled today if we had toll gates. We shall close this article by quoting the last paragraph of “The Toll gate:” Does love guide your steps? Are you led by hate? Are you smiling, comrade; Passing through the gate?
From a column by Mr. A. M. Yealey, dated January 7, 1955, but our source clipping had no title of the periodical the article was from.