Saturday, December 06, 2008

The Old Road

Jeremy Lance of Arkansas Highways sent me a link a couple weeks ago to a collection of Historic Arkansas highway maps. I have, almost literally, been unable to tear myself away from it. While I have traced most of US 71's alignments through the state, I have discovered former & abandoned alignments for many other highways throughout the state.

There are far too many to mention, so I shall touch on just a few. Everything listed here dates back to between 1925 and 1935:

* US 62 west of Fayetteville was originally AR 45 through Farmington & Prairie Grove to near Lincoln, then shifted south through Moffett and Ft Smith before ending at the Oklahoma State Line along what is now AR 96. Between Farmington & Prairie Grove, 45's original alignment followed what is now AR 170.

*AR 99 (now part of AR 59) originally intersected AR 80 (another section of US 62) at a 4-way intersection at Summers. Currently 59 intersects US 62 1 1/2 miles east of Summers then splits off north at Summers.

*In Polk County, US 71 followed what is now County Rd 76 from south of Y City to Mena.

*In Marion County, US 62 used to pass through Pyatt instead of around as it does now.

As I said, there are far too many old alignments to mention. I can only spend about an hour at a time looking at the maps before I have to take a break. It's not enough for me to simply look at a map and say "cool, an old alignment". I actually analyze the information and try to place these roads along what I know exists today, which is no easy task given some of these old roads no longer exist in any form (including as a county road). Some have been obliterated by Interstate highways, some have been swallowed by modern lakes and dams.

But it's fascinating stuff... if you like maps ;)

1 comment:

k said...

OK -- I finally have something to jones on while feeding the kiddo. That site is ADDICTIVE.