Mike Hesse knows the roads of Farmington, La Crosse County’s largest town at 76 square miles, like he knows his farm, which has been in his family for a century. He has to know them. Hesse is in his sixth term as Farmington town chairman, and making sure the town’s 40 miles of roadway are taken care of is a big part of his job.
Farmington’s roads include the route between West Salem and Mindoro that runs over Phillips Ridge through the historic Mindoro Cut, the second deepest such cut made by hand in the Western Hemisphere. Further east, Wanlass Road runs across Wanlass Hill, the highest point in the county (the broadcasting tower for the county’s emergency service providers sits atop that hill).
Some town roads only serve a few homes or even a single farm. Syverson Road, for example, is a steep, 12-foot-wide, quarter-mile-long thoroughfare near Wanlass Road that seems more like a driveway than a road, serving only two homes and ending in one resident’s yard, where chickens, dogs and other barnyard animals roam. The entrance to Syverson Road off Hwy. EE is at such a sharp angle that most vehicles couldn’t negotiate a right turn onto the road and can only make a right turn out.