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Route 66 Wednesdays; Santa Monica to Pasadena

Back between 2011 and 2013 I traveled on various western parts of the former US Route 66 for work between Santa Monica, CA east to Albuquerque, NM.  That being the case I spent a ton of time tracking down old alignments and pretty much anything of interesting, at least enough to justify a stand alone day.  This week I'll be looking back at US Route 66 between Santa Monica to Cajon Pass.

Originally US 66 had a western terminus in the City of Los Angeles from when the inception of the route until 1936.  The western terminus of US 66 was on Broadway Street in downtown Los Angeles at 7th Street which carried US 101 at the time.  The very early state maintained alignment of US 66 and US 101 can be seen on the 1935 California Division of Highways map of Los Angles County.

1935 Los Angeles County Highway Map

There was some alignment shifts for pretty much every US Route in Los Angeles in the 1930s, they are covered in detail on USends.com.

USends on US Route end points in Los Angeles

By 1…

Ghost Town Tuesday; Santa Claus, AZ (Santa literally for sale)

I figured that I would start this series off with something festively Christmas themed given it is December; the ruins of Santa Claus, AZ. 


Circa 2011-2012 I often found myself traveling to Clark County Nevada for work and would often utilize US Route 93 to do so.  About 14 miles south of Kingman I often noticed a weird accumulation of festively themed buildings on the south side of US 93.  After looking into a map of Mohave County, Arizona on Ghosttowns.com I learned what I was looking was once an inhabited place called Santa Claus.






With the completion of the Hoover Dam in 1936 travel directly between Kingman and Las Vegas had become possible first with US 466 followed by US 93 likely in 1938.  Santa Claus traces it's roots back to 1937 when Santa Claus was opened by Nina Talbot.  The original vision for Santa Claus was a resort-like community surroundings the Christmas shop which was to act as a centerpiece so to speak.  Santa Claus essentially was a company town which was popul…

Old Saint Michael's Church - Elizabeth, PA

While visiting family in Elizabeth, Pennsylvania in December 2007 and again in July 2008, I finally decided to take photos of the Catholic Church attended while I was growing up, St. Michael's. While a new church was being built in the Summer of 1987, the little church on top of the hill was condemned.   The church was shuttered, and from my understanding no one was allowed to enter the building.  That's why in the photos you will see below, much of what was in the church that fateful 1987 day is still there.  I'm very fortunate that I decided to take these photos during that eight month time period.  In 2009, the church was razed.  All of the photos are at my flickr site.

Much of what is written below - is from my original entry about the old church.

On Christmas Eve 2007, I took a drive around my hometown, it started gloomy but lo and behold the sun came out later in the afternoon that day.  Started out by going into Elizabeth, specifically to the old St. Michael's…

Allegheny River Boulevard - Pittsburgh's Blunder Boulevard

Authorized for construction as part of the 1928 Allegheny County Bond Issue, Allegheny River Boulevard runs from Washington Blvd. in the Highland Park neighborhood of the City of Pittsburgh to Hulton Road in the suburb of Oakmont.  When opened in 1934, the roadway was Pittsburgh's first link between the city and the suburbs to the north and east.  However, unlike her sister highways; Ohio River Boulevard to the west, Saw Mill Run Boulevard to the south, and Moss Side Boulevard on the eastern edge of the county, Allegheny River Boulevard would be the last to open after a nearly three year struggle over what amounted to basically 1300 feet of highway.

The 1928 bond issue allocated over $3.5 million for construction of the four and one half mile roadway from Washington Boulevard in Highland Park to Wildwood Avenue in Verona. (1)  The most challenging part for engineers was designing and constructing the roadway from Washington Boulevard to Nadine Road.  This section was known for its …

Pittsburgh's Ohio River Boulevard

By the mid-1970's, Ohio River Boulevard had gone from a beautiful tree lined thoroughfare connecting neighboring communities from the north and west with Pittsburgh into a wretched eyesore and a deathtrap.  As the decade closed, one of the deadliest eras of Pittsburgh roadways would begin.  Beginning November 7, 1979 and running through March of 1981, 15 individuals would lose their lives on the boulevard.  Eight of which occurred between Manchester and the McKees Rocks Bridge. (1)  The deadliest period was the first half of 1980 when seven people lost their lives; compare the number of dead to the three that lost their lives on the Parkway West (Interstate 279) and the two on the Parkway East (Interstate 376) during the same time period. (1)

Planning for Ohio River Boulevard began in the 1920s. (see scans below) Funded by the 1928 County Bond Issue, construction began on the route that would run from the city neighborhood of Manchester to the Borough of Emsworth. (2)  The four and…

A look at Pittsburgh's Saw Mill Run Boulevard

Saw Mill Run Boulevard - Pennsylvania State Route 51 - runs through the narrow Saw Mill Run Valley.  It begins at the intersection of Clairton Road and Provost Road at the City of Pittsburgh Line with Brentwood.  It ends at the West End Circle at the entrance to the West End Bridge.  A four lane highway for its the entire length, Saw Mill Run Boulevard consists of interchanges at the South Portal of the Liberty Tubes and with the Parkway West.  It is an expressway from the Parkway to the West End Circle (West End Bypass).  One of the most well known traffic tie-ups in the Pittsburgh area occurs between Maytide Street and PA 88 (Library Road) which is simply known as 'Maytide and 88.'

History:
Saw Mill Run Boulevard was part of the 1928 Allegheny County 'City Beautiful' bond issue.  The bonds resulted in the creation of Saw Mill Run, Ohio River, Allegheny River and Mosside Boulevards. (1)   After the completion of the Liberty Tunnels in 1924, Downtown Pittsburgh was offic…

Zero Milestone of the Old Spanish Trail

Back in early March 2013, I embarked on a road trip where I visited some of the historic coastal cities of the Southeastern United States. Norfolk, Virginia, Charleston, South Carolina, Savannah, Georgia and St. Augustine, Florida were the cities that I had stopped in along my way down south. Upon arriving in the main historic district of St. Augustine, I had parked my car and started heading to the historic Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, which is the site of a historic fort that was originally constructed by the colonial era Spanish. During my walk to the fort, I had walked past an old stone sphere, just a few blocks north of the historic downtown area. Upon further investigation, I had found that it was the Zero Milestone of the Old Spanish Trail, which was a highway through the southern tier of states in the United States of America, stretching from St. Augustine all the way to San Diego, California.

The Old Spanish Trail was originally developed in 1915 as a touring ro…