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Corduroy Road

Corduroy Road The aligned, partially buried logs in this photo are remnants of a historic corduroy road. Corduroy roads were built to traverse wet or swampy ground that would otherwise make travel impractical. Logs for the road usually were laid down perpendicular to the direction of the road, sometimes on strings of logs running parallel to the road. Corduroy roads also could consist of multiple layers of logs with alternating orientations perpendicular and parallel to the road or logs, possibly in layers, mixed with stones, soil, and other materials (McQuinn 2018:151-153, Figure 9). This example with perpendicular logs and at least one string of parallel logs from Rusk County, Wisconsin, connects to a logging road corridor and likely was used as a logging road. By 1867, loggers in the area were working in the summer as well as the winter, and such roads created firmer pathways for wagons prior to railroad construction (RCHS 1983:6-7).

McQuinn, Corey D.
2018    Corduroy-Road Archaeology in Cultural and Historical Context: A Case Study from the New York Frontier. Historical Archaeology 52(1):140-163.

Rusk County Historical Society (RCHS) (compiler)
1983    History of Rusk County, Wisconsin. Rusk County Historical Society, Ladysmith, Wisconsin.