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National Old Trails Ocean-to-Ocean Highway

The National Old Trails Ocean-to-Ocean Highway (more often refered to as the National Old Trails Highway) began in 1912. The highway was a pet project of Judge Joseph M. Lowe of Kansas City.

The highway's route underwent much fine tuning at the start, however, laid the groundwork for many numbered highways including Route 40 and Route 66. It ran from New York to Washington (Route 1), to Frederick (Route 240), to Franklin, Missouri (Route 40), to Kansas City (Route 24), to Council Grove, to Dodge City (Route 56), to La Junta, Colorado (Route 50), to Trinidad (Route 350), to Santa Fe (Routes 84 & 85), to Los Angeles (Route 66).

The Daughters of the American Revolution erected Madonna of the Trail statues in each of the states in which the highway ran.

In the early 1920s wWhen it became clear that the federal numbered highway system would be the end of the named highways, the leaders of the National Old Trails Ocean-to-Ocean Highway petitioned to have their highway designated as U.S. Route 1. This would have violated the numbering convention and was quickly dropped.

View user comments below.

Map of the National Old Trails Highway
Map of the National Old Trails Highway. Click here to display a larger version.

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User Comments · Add a Comment

Posted by: Panfly2wendy on Wednesday, August 17, 2016 at 10:19:58 AM

Hi! My name is Dennis! I live outside of Columbus, Ohio and have been a long-term fan of Route 40. Not much popular mention of it, though here in town! It is commonly referred to as the Old Trail. Motels attach reference to it in their names. There is also an Old Trail printing company. There is sort of an "underlying" consciousness of it but I believe Columbus could stand to benefit by tying into the rich heritage of the entire length and breadth of Route 40! Also I was under the impression that Route 40 began in Maryland as the Cumberland Road being built with timbers or "pikes" lying side-by-side!

Feedback: Do you have corrections or contributions for this page? Want to make a suggestion? Click here to send me an e-mail. I am espcially interested in memories, stories, postcards and photographs. Thanks!


Last updated: 2010-11-26 10:32:46

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