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You Almost Got Your Kicks on Route 60

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US Route 66 was one of the original US Highways , being designated in 1926 along with the rest of the original routes. But before its designation, there was a tremendous controversy over its numbering, as there were over numerous highways early on in the system's creation. Missouri Highway Map, c.1926 showing the proposed US-60 through the state. Like with any government project as vast and complex as the US Highway System, it is the product of numerous compromises and debates over numberings, routings, alignments, costs, and numerous other whims of those in Congress who ultimately approved the system. In the early 1920's, the named Auto Trails were giving way to a network of then-modern highways to connect the nation through automobiles as the railroads had done decades earlier. 1926 Illinois State Highway Map , showing US-66 as IL-4 still. By 1928 , US-66 was added to the map. The numbered system would have the longest and most important cross-country routes ending with a

Milwaukee Road's Pacific Extension: America's Longest Abandoned Railroad

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Milwaukee Road's Pacific Extension  might very well be the most famous, or infamous, abandoned right of way in the United States, and it is undoubtedly the longest, although short stretches of the railroad are still in use. Combined, it is one of the world's longest abandoned railways , and the incredible terrain that it crossed means that even long after it ended service, it is still being documented and reused as part of numerous trails. It was one of the first lines I traced , seeing it on  abandonedrails.com , and immediately being curious about it. Today we go in depth into exploring this abandoned rail line, and what it looks like today. Map of the Milwaukee Road's Electrified Pacific Extension via:  TrainWeb.org Aside from its length, the road traveled some of the most beautiful terrain in this country, and much of the disused right of way is now rail trails, such as the  Route of the Hiawatha , or the trail formerly known as the  John Wayne Pioneer Trail . I've

Griffith, Indiana's Mammoth Railroad Intersection

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Griffith, Indiana is the site of a railroad junction between several tracks of railroads today, and yet it pales in comparison to how the junction looked when two more railroad lines crossed here. The Broad Street crossing when all five railroads crossed 11 tracks forming 14 diamonds - the Michigan Central, Grand Trunk, Erie, Elgin Joliet & Eastern and the Chesapeake & Ohio. The photo is from the 1930s. ( NWI Times ) The Michigan Central Railroad would be the first railroad through the area in 1854, running between Joliet and Gary, IN, only to be followed by the Grand Trunk Railway, Erie Railroad, Elgin Joliet & Eastern Railway, Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad, Erie and Kalamazoo, Michigan Southern, Chicago and Erie, and others. Eventually, the diamonds would look like this: 1953 Highland, IN Map. ( USGS ) Today, you'll still see tons of railfans visiting the area, in addition to numerous trains running on an almost constant basis. A  small train museum exists  on the ea

Canadian National Railway's Chapais Subdivision (1957-1994)

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Once again, Alain Bernier graces us with his knowledge of northern Quebec railways, thank you! Take it away, Alain! Franquet, QC to Chapais, QC – 1957-1994  © Alain Bernier, 2020  The towns of Chapais and Chibougamau are two small and isolated towns in northern Quebec.  As of 2016, the former was home to 1,499 inhabitants and the latter to 7,504 inhabitants. Their  economy is driven by mining and lumbering. Northern Quebec is rich in valuable minerals and  the towns of Chapais and Chibougamau both sit on a rich mineralized fault. As early as 1857,  James Richardson of the Canada Geological Survey reported the presence of mineral resources  in the area around lake Opemiska, north of Chapais, and in the vicinity of the Paint Mountain,  near Chibougamau. Minor mining operations started as early as 1904 but it was only in the  1930’s that significant deposits were identified and started drawing prospectors, minors,  geologists and a whole array of colorful individuals to the area. Opemiska

Canada's Southernmost Point, Middle Island in Lake Erie

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Located at roughly 41.7 degrees north latitude, Middle Island  is the southernmost land point in all of Canada, about 164 yards from the Lake Erie Maritime border with the US State of Ohio.  1955 photo of the  Lighthouse on Middle Island . Ronnie Beatty, courtesy Bruce Beatty On a clear day, it, along with many of the other islands in the Lake Erie archipelago in both the US and Canada (especially Pelee Island ), can be seen from the top of Magnum XL-200 at Cedar Point .  It's nearly impossible to see in the POV, I suggest go visiting it yourself!  Middle Island's latitude means that it is slightly farther south than many parts of the US, and a majority of US States (27/50) have territory above 41.7 degrees north, including California, Nevada, and Utah, which end at the 42nd parallel. It's also slightly farther south than Downtown Chicago, and the entire State of Michigan. While the island is uninhabited today, archaeological study of the island indicates human habituation

Four Great Mapping Resources to Find Abandoned and Historic Places (That Are Completely Free)

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If you'd rather not have the vast majority of abandoned railroad corridors across the United States, and at some point, the World, directly at your fingertips , but would rather use maps and imagery to find your own hidden, forgotten, or abandoned places, there are four main resources I, and most others, use to accomplish that end. I've already talked about how to find and trace railroad corridors using Google My Maps , but this information will be a little more general in nature, and you can find all sorts of abandoned places, not just railroads, with the maps that are shown here. Of course, these aren't the only free resources available, and there are some places that you won't find using any four of these resources, however, these should be the start of your search for historical places, as each can probably help you find what you're looking for about 90% of the time.  All of these resources are found on our Links page as well. 1) Historic Aerials Historic Aeri