Between 1850 and the mid 1920s, as a node of a rail network, Anoka held a distinct advantage over areas of the northern suburbs not ajacent to rail lines. However, that would all change upon investment in a statewide highway system. The emerging highway system established a far more egalitarian travel landscape (for those who could afford automobiles). A network of smooth traversable roads jetted out from the Twin Cities into soon-to-be suburbs and beyond. The Minnesota highway system was just one piece of an emerging transportation network that would forever change the landscape and geography of commerce and industry in the US.
In 1908, Henry Ford, among a handful manufacturers, released the first relatively low-cost automobile. Private automobile ownership was now accessible for a major segment of the population.
The resulting rise in private automobile ownership pressured the Federal Government to assume a role in road development and planning. As early as 1916, states could access federal funds for road improvements via the Federal-Aid Highway Program. The financial strain of WWI limited the use of the program. Minnesota would not begin development of a cohesive highway system until 1921