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100th Anniversary Of The River To River Road


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#1 Dave Darby

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 06:50 PM

2010 marks the 100th anniversary of Iowa's oldest auto trail. Signed in one day (date unknown) in 1910, the River to River Road traversed Iowa from the Mississippi River in Davenport to the Missouri River in Council Bluffs. Later, this route later became part of the Detroit Lincoln Denver highway. In honor of this anniversary, my wife and I made two trips utilizing as much of the original alignment as possible, and took loads of photos. During this trip, we encountered all manner of roads, from paved to dirt. Without further ado, lets look at the pics!

A rarity for its time, as most markings were painted band on poles, this sign dates back to 1912...

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Huebinger produced a detailed map and guide in 1910...

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You can see the whole thing here...

Huebinger's Map and Guide for River to River Road

This is the world's oldest continously operating Ice Cream Soda Fountain, in Wilton Iowa. The Wilton Candy Kitchen. You want the real thing? This is literally kickin' it old school. 91 year old George Nopoulos still makes his own ice cream, and everything is made with natural ingredients. Do NOT miss it.

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This bridge south of Kellogg, Iowa once carried River to River Road (and US 32) travelers over the North Skunk River...

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A meeting of the Grand Army of the Republic, in Redfield, Ia...

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Not much remains of some of the towns along the River to River Road. When US 32 (immediate predecessor of US 6) came through Iowa, it turned south at Redfield, Iowa, and headed west on the competing White Pole Road auto trail... So most of what follows is from the abandoned portion of the route. Dale City was first of the towns that were bypassed...

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Another bypassed town is Monteith...

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Next up is Guthrie Center, Iowa, which features some of my favorite architecture....

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West of Guthrie Center, we found an abandoned IA 44 alignment and this equally abandoned general store...

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Apparently, they plan on restoring this old Hotel in Marne, Iowa, just NW of Atlantic...

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This great old house is on IA 83, another segment of the River to River Road...

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I'm not sure what this little building in Walnut was, but I like it...

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This is the Phoenix Theater in Neola. It's being restored to it's original 1913 appearance...

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This is the golden spike, in Council Bluffs. According to Wikipedia "In 1939, following the premiere of the Cecil B. De Mille motion picture Union Pacific in Omaha and Council Bluffs a gold-colored concrete spike 56 feet (17 m) in height was unveiled on 9th Avenue in Council Bluffs on the approximate location of milepost 0.0 of the First Transcontinental Railroad."

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There is so much more to see, but not enough room here, so until next time....

Edited by Dave Darby, 06 August 2010 - 08:32 AM.


#2 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 07:03 PM

Dave,

Those are wonderful photographs and they tell a terrific story. A really interesting road!! And a much appreciated report.

I guess the ice cream store has to be the highlight, but it is hard to choose. For example, I had no idea that any GAR posts still existed.

Thanks!

Dave

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#3 Dave Darby

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Posted 05 August 2010 - 11:49 PM

Dave,

Those are wonderful photographs and they tell a terrific story. A really interesting road!! And a much appreciated report.

I guess the ice cream store has to be the highlight, but it is hard to choose. For example, I had no idea that any GAR posts still existed.

Thanks!

Dave

Keep the Show on the Road!


Hi Dave, apparently there is a limit to how many photos you can put in a post here, so I had to leave a lot out. I also didn't put much in that was also on Route 6.

This art deco Coca Cola bottling plant in Atlantic was pretty neat, too...

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Perhaps I should do a part 2 post! BTW, I just recently discovered your historic road maps page. I plan on making great use of that! I have been doing some collecting of old maps myself. We should talk.....

#4 Keep the Show on the Road!

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 12:17 AM

Hi Dave, apparently there is a limit to how many photos you can put in a post here, so I had to leave a lot out. I also didn't put much in that was also on Route 6.

This art deco Coca Cola bottling plant in Atlantic was pretty neat, too...

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Perhaps I should do a part 2 post! BTW, I just recently discovered your historic road maps page. I plan on making great use of that! I have been doing some collecting of old maps myself. We should talk.....


Dave,

I really like the Coca Cola sign. Your photographs are excellent, and so is the subject matter.

My map site has languished. I got tired of scanning and uploading. I have a large "aggregation" of maps, guides, and books I hesitate to call a collection. I suppose they number more than a thousand, perhaps two. Most go back to the 20's or earlier.

I have never really collected. That would have meant some coherence, like all the Shell Oil maps of California....or something. I bought with the intension to follow the old roads, which I have managed to do a bit. Most are of the west, because I live there. But last month I traveled to Chicago from Olympia (Washington) and followed old strip maps and guides from the collection. Lots of fun!

I try to share when time permits, and I always like to know what others are interested in.

Keep your excellent posts coming!


Dave

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#5 Steve_Colby

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 11:42 AM

Dave,
I thoroughly enjoyed the pictorial journey!

~ Steve

#6 mobilene

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 12:11 PM

Dave, this is crackling good stuff. I dug the old bridge and the old homes the most in your photographs. Oh, and the one abandoned alignment. I hope you'll keep sharing this excellent stuff! jim

#7 Dave Darby

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 02:12 PM

Dave, this is crackling good stuff. I dug the old bridge and the old homes the most in your photographs. Oh, and the one abandoned alignment. I hope you'll keep sharing this excellent stuff! jim


Thank you, Jim, I also really enjoy your website, with the tour of the old National Road. I've seen some of those Right Of Way markers not to far from my neck of the woods in Illinois. Speaking of old bridges, and abandoned alignments, here is 288th trail, east of Adel, the only unpaved section of US 6 (bypassed when the paving commenced) and the bridge this path crossed the Raccoon River on. It serviced the River to River Road, IA Primary Road 7 (early state highway), Detroit Lincoln Denver, Whiteway 7, US32, and finally, briefly, US6.

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And from the east end...

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#8 Steve_Colby

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 03:50 PM

Great photos, Dave. Did you, perchance, get a close-up of the builder's plate at the top of the bridge?

~ Steve

#9 Alex Burr - hester_nec

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 05:13 PM

Great write-up and even better pictures. You could put others in the Gallery section in an album.

I'm wondering about that little building you didn't know what it was. For some reason "post office" comes to my mind.

That's my guess and I'm sticking to it. :rolleyes:


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#10 Dave Darby

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 07:29 PM

Great photos, Dave. Did you, perchance, get a close-up of the builder's plate at the top of the bridge?

~ Steve


Sure did, it's a King Iron Bridge, Cleveland, Ohio, built in 1882.

#11 mobilene

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Posted 06 August 2010 - 08:19 PM

It's too bad that the bridge is marked No Trespassing; I'd love to walk it. These photos of this old alignment photos make me happy -- the brick bits especially -- and make me want to quit my job and spend the rest of my days old-alignment hunting! I even looked up this alignment on Google Maps -- and found that it shows the road as through. I sent them a correction!

BTW, kudos for uploading some of these photos to Bridgehunter.com.

jim

#12 DennyG

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Posted 09 August 2010 - 08:14 AM

Wonderful pictures, great report, and nice (extra) work putting the guide online. The Wilton Candy Kitchen has gone onto my "to visit" list.

#13 Dave Darby

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Posted 07 February 2011 - 02:05 PM

Through my research, I was able pin down the exact date and time(!) the River to River Road was conceived. At 9:00 AM Saturday, July 2nd, 1910, 10,000 farmers and volunteers started work, and one hour later, completed the construction of Iowa's River to River Road - grandfather of Highway 6 in Iowa.

#14 DennyG

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Posted 08 February 2011 - 06:20 AM

Good info. Of course they saved time by not putting out orange barrels.

#15 knightfan26917

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Posted 26 February 2011 - 05:16 PM

Dave,

Great pics and write up.

Not sure which pic is my favorite, though the abandoned buildings and the Coca Cola sign are equally cool, in their own ways.

Hmmm...Wilton Candy Kitchen is about 3.5 hours from where I am. Might have to make that a Saturday trip one of these days this year.....



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