What were high ways in pre-modern times?
Highways Defined and How They Morph In the 1790s the US Postal Service published standards to be met to qualify to be a postal coach stop. Among the first was a requirement that your establishment must be situated on 'an all season, all weather road.' By this, I believe they meant on a high road or high way. So what did that mean? What was a high road or a high way? In short, I believe it meant a road that passed streams high in their course where a passage was seldom if ever obstructed by flood and hewed as close as possible to ridge tops. Highways probably shifted over time as transportation modes and road technology changed. For example, as draft animals grew ever larger in the 19th century so too did payloads. The increased weight tore up dirt roads so counties imposed tire dimension minimums; the heavier the cargo the wider their iron tires needed to be. And the greater the cargo weight the more restricted will be the options for fording streams; hence a route ch