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F. W. "Woody" Hockaday

Hockaday sign

Early advocate of uniform highway marking system. Businessman.  Born: July 29, 1884, Caldwell, Sumner County, Kansas.  Died: March 28, 1947, Macon, Missouri, buried Wichita, Sedgwick County, Kansas.

Frank Woodville "Woody" Hockaday was born in Caldwell, Sumner County, Kansas, on July 29, 1884. He became a highly successful auto supply and tire company owner in Wichita.

In 1915 he began to mark distances between towns with a big red H and arrow directing the motorist to the next town. By the time he was finished there were Hockaday signs on approximately 60,000 miles of roads from Washington D.C. to Los Angeles. "Woody" Hockaday gained fame as the first person to recognize the need for highway marking in the United States.

"Hockaday's Official Marked Road Map of Kansas"; 1918Hockaday was a great booster of Kansas and Kansas products. He traveled widely distributing miniature sacks of wheat, using the slogan "Kansas grows the best wheat in the world."

Hockaday died in 1947 and was remembered with great respect by those who recognized his contributions. One Kansas editor said of him, "Woody Hockaday deserves a respectable niche in the history of intelligent and patriotic Kansans who served their state well."

Entry: Hockaday, F. W. "Woody"

Author: Kansas Historical Society

Author information: The Kansas Historical Society is a state agency charged with actively safeguarding and sharing the state's history.

Date Created: June 2003

Date Modified: May 2016

The author of this article is solely responsible for its content.