Good Roads and the Mayos
Shortly after the turn of the 20th century and with the advent of the automobile, travel possibilities greatly expanded. At first, the lack of well-drained gravel roads hindered all-season use of the motor car in many parts of the country. In the Upper Midwest, "good roads" became a popular theme for taxpayer groups that formed to address local conditions.
Dr. William J. Mayo, along with his brother, Dr. Charles Mayo, headed or participated in the efforts of such citizen organizations. In 1915, Dr. Will headed the Taxpayers' Good Roads Association of Olmsted County. The grassroots association helped promote grading and graveling of county roads. As association leader, Dr. Will urged the construction of weatherproof roads "fit for the farmers to use every day, rain or shine."
The activities of the Olmsted County group led to improved roads for the county. Various clinic people and other community leaders often contributed funds, while local farmers provided time and labor for road construction. Following these early efforts, the Mayo brothers also helped other concerned groups promote the paving and further upgrading of area and interstate roads.