Photo of the Day: Sept. 18, 2016 – A Brief History of The Hogsback

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You can generally tell how long someone’s been on the Old Mission Peninsula by whether they know where “The Hogsback” is or not. It’s the strip of road on Center Road about a mile north of Mapleton, where the road drops down on both sides. On the right, you’ll see Danny Fouch’s farm, and on the left is my brother Dean Johnson’s farm (and Danny owns land on the left, as well).

I’m not sure when people started calling it The Hogsback, but my husband thinks it dates back to at least the turn of the (last) century, around 1900 or earlier. He says the road got its name because before it was shaped into the gentle slope you see there now, it had a couple of knolls, giving it the look of a “hog’s back.”

There are a lot of roads like that on the Peninsula. If you look at the shape of the land next to the roads, that’s likely what the road looked like to begin with. Seven Hills Road is another one – it originally had “seven hills” before it was smoothed into the road we have now.

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  1. The intersection of Old Mission Road/Mission Road/Smokey Hollow Road was way different back in the day also. There used to be a “triangle” there, and a huge cut was made to lessen the slope heading out toward Center Road to the west. I am thinking that the triangle was still there when I started driving in 1977, but I could be wrong on that. Does anyone know when that work was done?

    • Trying to remember when they changed that intersection around. I got stuck there with my VW in the Blizzard of ’78, and I’m thinking it might have still been a curve at that time, rather than the straight intersection we have now. So if you were heading east on Mission Road from Center Road, you’d curve around as you headed toward the Old Mission Store, rather than pull up straight there and turn left. Everyone always used to end up in Miss Bagley’s woods there, as they were trying to navigate that curve towards Old Mission. And as you mentioned, it was hillier before they did the road work. That piece by Weatherholt’s on Mission Road – there was a hill there that got smoothed out at some point, but I can’t remember if that was done at the same time as the intersection. I’m thinking yes. – jb


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