Special Collections Department
403 Parks Library
Iowa State University
Ames, IA 50011-2140

MS 504
520 First Association
Records, 1973-1975, n.d.

Descriptive summary


520 First Association




1973-1975, n.d.


0.21 linear ft. (1 half-document box)

collection number:

MS 504


Special Collections Department, Iowa State University.


Administrative information


Open for research

publication rights:

Consult Head, Special Collections Department

preferred citation:

520 First Association Records, MS 504, Special Collections Department, Iowa State University Library.


Historical note

The 520 First Association, organized in 1970, had as its primary objective the immediate programming and construction of Freeway 520 (United States Highway 20), which is planned to go from Sioux City to Dubuque, Iowa. The organization's name echoes their desire that this project be given "first priority." After 1967, Iowa's Highway Commission planned on upgrading major routes through Iowa to four lanes. In the 1968 Highway Commission plan, controlled access freeways were given the 5xx designation. Freeway 520 is currently (2010) United States Highway 20 and has yet to be completed.

The association's objective (to construct a freeway to provide Iowa residents and companies with greater mobility and connection) was adopted in the belief that when accomplished, the state would have come closer to realizing then Governor Harold Hughes' goal of establishing and maintaining a growing economic base in Iowa that would allow its residents to find work opportunities. To determine whether its objective was valid, the organization hired Midwest Research, Inc. to conduct an independent economic study. The study showed that the northern third of Iowa was a leader in almost all areas of economic activity. This study, as well as other national studies, shows that economic activity is either enhanced or weakened as transportation links, such as primary highways, are improved or allowed to deteriorate. Possibly a successor to the 520 First Association, there is now (2010) a U.S. 20 Corridor Association.


Collection description

This collection (1973-1975, n.d.) includes correspondence, news articles, memorandums, meeting agendas and a slideshow script. Most of the correspondence is between members of the 520 First Association and members of the Iowa State Highway Commission, the governor (Robert D. Ray), and with each other about their campaign to commence building of Highway 520 in Iowa. A letter written to Iowa State Highway Commission by Donald B. Grau, president of the 520 First Association includes information about the association and the independent economic study contracted by the association. Also included are newspaper articles about the Association and the Highway 520 project, a list of signatures demanding that Highway 520 should be the next construction project undertaken in Iowa, as well as comic strips humorously pointing out why Iowa needs Highway 520.


Container list







Iowa Needs Highway 520 Now! – bound correspondence, articles, and agenda of 520 First Association




Why U.S. Highway 520 First in Iowa? slideshow script and memo from E.H. Schill

1975 n.d.