|The Mother Road: Route 66|
So when I find a new old highway, I am happy. I am actually living along one of the oldest auto trails in the states: Arrowhead Trail. It was the first all-weather road connecting Los Angeles to Salt Lake City through Las Vegas. It was built primarily through the 1910s and was replaced when they came up with the number highway system in the 20s. And then portions of it were named U.S. Route 91. In it's hayday until the early 70s, U.S. Route 91 went from Long Beach, CA through Montana to the Canadian border. Now the only Rte 91 connection to the original trail is in Utah. But all is not lost...many of the town and cities that were once along the original Arrowhead Trail have continued to keep the road name of Arrow Highway. Imagine my delight to find that I live along this road when in California. I think this old road will be my next major roadtrip.
Arrow Highway in parts of California are marked as such, but the confusion comes at the connection between Montclair/Pomona/La Verne and Upland. For instance, there are two Arrow Highways in the area. Looking in to this question of why there is at least one too many Arrow Highways is Joe Blackstock, who is an Inland Valley Daily Bulletin columnist. Blackstock says:
Traveling east through Los Angeles County and then into Montclair, Arrow reaches Benson Avenue and Upland and magically becomes Eighth Street.
Ah, but a half-mile north is Arrow Route, which starts at the county line and heads east through Upland. It transforms into a new Arrow Highway when it crosses Benson, then becomes Arrow Route again in Rancho Cucamonga and finally Arrow Boulevard in Fontana.
The lunacy of all this is that motorists traveling south on Central or Monte Vista avenues from Foothill Boulevard cross streets called Arrow twice within a half-mile.
So here's the scoop of what happened in this area. By 1925, San Bernardino County had already laid out and often completed an unpaved Arrow Route almost to the county line, which is Claremont Boulevard. From the west, the route was laid out to San Dimas. Getting the east and west together was originally planned to use Bonita Avenue as the connecting point. Didn't happen. Apparently Claremont objected, saying it did not want a major highway running through the middle of its expanding college campuses (Pomona College, Scripps College, Claremont McKenna College, Harvey Mudd College, and Pitzer College). The decision of the 1925 meeting was to create a committee to figure out how to connect the two parts. And, as with many committees, nothing much happened.
They tried again in 1937. Same result. And again in the late 40s. Same result every time. So confusion continues to this day.
To get to my mom's place, I take Arrow Highway and then Arrow Route to Claremont Avenue, where it turns into Sixth Street. I follow Sixth through the colleges--and may I say that those college students don't even LOOK as they cross the street. And I swear they come out of the bushes like ants from an invaded anthill, stopping traffic and ignoring the world. And all you can do it wait...wait...wait.
If I want to avoid the college, I could take Claremont Avenue south to the other Arrow Highway. But then I have to return north to Bonita Avenue. Or I can go north to Foothill (Route 66) and then south again to Bonita Avenue.
Face it, there is no quick way through Claremont.
That's the scoop. Arrow Highway and Arrow Highway are two different roads that will never meet as one. And who's to blame for this confusion? As Blackstock said, "Dunno."
Now on to my desired roadtrip. I'd start in Los Angeles and head up through to Salt Lake City. Nothing can beat Route 66, but I still think it would be fun. Anyone want to join me?