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Dave Darby

Abandoned Us 6

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US 6 (originally US 32) in Iowa once followed a large "S" path between Tiffin, IA and Homestead, IA. Sometime between 1957 and 1963, they cut out the curves completely, in favor of one one boring straight line.

 

UpperLowerOldHwy602-vi.jpg

 

Two sections remain as traveled roads, "Lower Old HWY 6 Road, and "Lower Old HWY6 Road". Between them is this gem, now used as an easement. It is approximently a mile long, but the east portion is gated off, while a garage is built over the access to the west portion.

 

P9150085rtrt-vi.jpg

 

Still, there is this dandy few hundred feet of unmolested pavement dating back to 1926. Love those 9 ft lanes....

 

P9150086rtrt-vi.jpg

 

Isn't it striking how cozy the highways used to be with the surrounding land? Nowadays, there are deep ditchs and wide shoulders on either side of the road. Coming up, more Old US 6/US 32, and a way cool abandoned US 30 alignment.

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Oh drool. Droooooooool.

 

Seeing an old alignment behind a gate is very, very frustrating for me! It's like putting a big bowl of M&Ms on the table and telling me I can't eat any.

 

Any guess about where the old road used to lie between these two abandoned bits?

 

jim

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Hi Jim, luckily for us in Iowa, we have the Iowa Geographic Map Server.

 

Iowa Geographic Map Server (big window)1930's layer

 

Picture Google maps with 1930's 1950's and so on map layers.... 1930's

 

CopyofUpperLowerOldHwy602-vi.jpg

 

And here in the 1963 layer, you can see the scars... (yes, a bit more zoomed in...)

 

upperlowerold61960s-vi.jpg

 

BTW, these images are from my rather poorly organized Rt 6 album on Fotki. US Route 6 albums I created the key and legends with Adobe illustrator for my book on Route 6 through Iowa I am working on.

Edited by Dave Darby

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Oh rapture. Old aerial imagery and old topos -- there are no substitutes. Indiana lacks a service like Iowa's, though Indianapolis (where I am) has one for just the city/county, which I have used extensively. I also use the USGS Earth Explorer, but it's creaky and fussy, and the aerial images are simply individual photos with roads unlabeled, so it can be hard to figure out which end is up.

 

It is remarkable that there is no trace today of the missing segment of old 6 west of the abandoned easement alignment. In my travels, there is usually some evidence in the aerial imagery, even if it's just a faint trace across a farmer's field.

 

jim

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What I find most interesting, when they rebuilt sections of the old road, like this Route 6 alignment, they simply went in a straight line and cut off the original alignments. Unlike the interstates that were so big they buried so many old alignments, especially in the east (primarily New England).

 

Sure would be nice to have topo's and aerial maps for all states. :mellow:

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

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Dave,

 

That image is a splendid example of what the old road probably felt like.

 

It does appear that there may have been something of a shoulder, but the road width is unchanged. It may not be ancient pavement because it appears to have a center joint. I have come to believe that the practice of including center joints came after 1920, but I can't say for sure. Any insights on the subject?

 

In any event, fine report!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

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Dave,

 

That image is a splendid example of what the old road probably felt like.

 

It does appear that there may have been something of a shoulder, but the road width is unchanged. It may not be ancient pavement because it appears to have a center joint. I have come to believe that the practice of including center joints came after 1920, but I can't say for sure. Any insights on the subject?

 

In any event, fine report!

 

Dave

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Hi Dave, according to Iowahighways.org, that section of US 32 was paved in 1926. The practice of putting the lip curbs in started about a year or two after that, a practice that lasted about 10 years. This stretch was straightened and bypassed sometime between 1957 and 1963, and I just don't see them replacing that pavement in between. It's entirely possible, but who knows...

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Oh rapture. Old aerial imagery and old topos -- there are no substitutes. Indiana lacks a service like Iowa's, though Indianapolis (where I am) has one for just the city/county, which I have used extensively. I also use the USGS Earth Explorer, but it's creaky and fussy, and the aerial images are simply individual photos with roads unlabeled, so it can be hard to figure out which end is up.

 

It is remarkable that there is no trace today of the missing segment of old 6 west of the abandoned easement alignment. In my travels, there is usually some evidence in the aerial imagery, even if it's just a faint trace across a farmer's field.

 

jim

 

Actually, with Google Maps' full color high-resolution aerial images, it is now possible to make out many of these otherwise invisible 'old' route grades from the subtle differences in the color and texture of the ground. These have been a total GODSEND in my research of the original Yellowstone Trail routings, especially out west - it has revealed long-abandoned grades that I had given up on earlier.

 

See:

http://maps.google.com/?ll=41.738336,-91.779013&spn=0.009575,0.021973&t=k&z=16&vpsrc=6

for that obliterated section of US 6.

 

Mike

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