On This Date In Twin Cities History - October 29, 1947

On this date in 1947, Charles M. Babcock, the “Father of Minnesota’s Highways”, is honored with a monument dedicated to his memory in Elk River. In 1910, Babcock was appointed to the three-member board of the Minnesota Roads Commission and served on it until 1917 when it was disbanded and replaced by the Department of Transportation. He served as the DOT’s first commissioner from 1917 to 1933. During his tenure, Babcock’s primary achievement was an amendment to the state constitution that allowed for the use of tax dollars to fund the building and improvement of state roads. The “Babcock Amendment” levied taxes initially on automobile registration and later on gasoline sales to fund roads. Under his direction, Minnesota became a national leader in the development of roads and highways. He passed away in November of 1936.

Charles M Babcock Memorial - Elk River circa 1951

Charles M. Babcock Memorial in Elk River circa 1951