Wisconsin Highways

STH-32: Red Arrow Highway

STH-32 throughout Wisconsin is also designated the "32nd Division Memorial Highway," commemorating the 32nd Division for obvious 'numerical' reasons. The 32nd Division, formed on July 18, 1917 of National Guard troops from Wisconsin and Michigan, fought and won many difficult battles, especially in World War I. In an excellent historical essay, The Detroit News reports "the unit won fame under three names: Officially it was the 32nd Division; to the people of Michigan and Wisconsin it was the Red Arrow Division, and to the French who fought alongside these mid-western Americans, they were known as 'Les Terribles." Additionally, the essay touts the following statistics:

"From May to November of 1918—nearly seven months—the division was under constant fire, with only 10 days rest. The Red Arrow fought on five fronts and took a leading role in three great offensives which met and vanquished 23 German divisions. The division suffered more than 14,000 casualties, captured more than 2,000 prisoners, never yielded a foot of ground to the enemy, and was the first American division to set foot on German soil." — source: The Detroit News.

STH-32 Route MarkerIn order to honor those men who fought as a part of the 32nd Division, thousands of whom never returned to Wisconsin, STH-32 was designated in honor of them, and the division's logo, the 'red arrow,' is placed on each and every STH-32 sign in the state, from Illinois to Michigan. (Michael Koerner notes, though, that WisDOT does not place the red arrows on freeway guide signs. They only appear on standalone route markers.)

The specific Wisconsin Statute designating the "32nd Division Memorial Highway" is as follows:

84.104 32nd Division Memorial Highway. In order to commemorate the 32nd Infantry Division, also known as The Red Arrow Division, which, while composed mainly of men from Wisconsin, Illinois and Michigan, brought fame and glory to these states during World Wars I and II by their sacrifice, devotion and bravery and which is now established as a Wisconsin national guard division, the department is directed to establish a highway memorial designated route 32 by renumbering certain existing highways linking Illinois and Michigan through Wisconsin. Beginning at the Illinois-Wisconsin state line renumber state trunk highway 42 to a point where it joins the present Wisconsin state trunk highway 32 at Sheboygan; continuing over the present Wisconsin state trunk highway 32 north to the junction with U.S. highway 8 at Laona; continuing over the present Wisconsin state trunk highway 32 north to junction with U.S. highway 45 at Three Lakes; thence north on U.S. highway 45 to Michigan-Wisconsin state line at Land O'Lakes. The department is further directed that in addition to the numeral 32, the highway markers on this highway carry a red arrow, and that historical markers be erected and maintained along the highway in honor of the 32nd Division and its members.

 

Additional Information

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