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Old California State Route 198 Tulare County

Back in March I looked into the original alignments of California State Route 198 and Legislative Route 10 in Tulare County traveling eastbound.


CA 198 in present configuration is a 141 mile east/west State Highway from US Route 101 in San Lucas of Monterey County east to the Generals Highway or Sequoia National Park in Tulare County.


CA 198 was one of the original Signed State Highways which was announced in a 1934 Department of Public Works Guide on Page 32.  CA 198 was aligned entirely over Legislative Route 10.  Originally CA 198 was the highest number assigned to any Signed State Highway.



Legislative Route 10 ("LRN 10") was first added to the State Highway System in 1909 during the First State Highway Bond act as a route between Goshen and Hanford.  LRN 10 was extended west to San Lucas by the State Legislature in 1915 and east to Sequoia National Park during the 1919 Third State Highway Bond Act.  More details can be found on CAhighway.org on the LRN 10 Page. 

The original route of LRN 10 in Tulare County split from LRN 4 at Main Street and Mooney Boulevard in Visalia.  It appears that LRN 10 east of downtown Visalia traversed southeast to Visalia Road through Farmersville and Exeter before swinging back north on Kaweah Avenue (current CA 65) to the current surface alignment of CA 198 east of CA 245.  This early alignment of LRN 10 can be seen on the 1920 State Highway Map.  The southeast jog of LRN 10 from downtown Visalia to Visalia Road doesn't align to any current existing roadways and likely was on rail frontage facilities.


The 1926 State Highway Map shows LRN 10 east of downtown Visalia straightened on what is now Mineral King Avenue.  LRN 10 likely used Court Street to bridge the highway from Main Street in downtown Visalia to Mineral King Avenue.






Interestingly it appears that LRN 10 may have been briefly signed as part of US 99 along Main Street.  The 1927 Rand McNally State Highway Map of California shows US 99 splitting east from LRN 4 in Goshen into downtown Visalia via Main Street.  From Main Street US 99 is shown splitting south onto future CA 63 via Mooney Boulevard.



East of current CA 245 the alignment of LRN 10 to the site of the Terminus Dam was very different than modern CA 198.  LRN 10 turned north off the modern CA 198 alignment in Yokohl on Road 220 north, Avenue 312 east, Road 228 north, 7th Avenue/Moffet Drive/Road 236 northeast, and Avenue 324 back to the modern alignment in Lemon Cove.  LRN 10 appears to have zig-zagged through Lemon Cove on Road 244, Pogue Avenue, modern CA 198, Lemon Road, Avenue 330, and modern CA 198 to make it through the town.

East of Lemon Cove LRN 10 would have passed modern CA 216 and used Road 248 north, Avenue 338 east, Road 249 north, and Avenue 340 east to reach the site of the modern Terminus Dam.  At some point LRN 10 was moved onto what is now Long Drive (which was probably when the 1922 Pumpkin Hollow Bridge was built) approaching the Terminus Dam site.  At least by 1935 the route CA 198/LRN 10 would have been aligned onto Long Drive east of Lemon Cove as evidenced by the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Tulare County.


By 1936 the route of CA 198 between modern CA 245 and modern CA 216 was eased to the modern alignment used today which can be seen on the 1936-37 State Highway Map.


On the 1935 Division of Highways Map above CA 198/LRN 10 can be seen making a jog in downtown Visalia via Main Street and Court Street to Mineral King Avenue.  According to a June 1942 Department of Public Works Guide the route of CA 198 was moved onto a connecting alignment from Main Street and Coyner Street to reach Mineral King Avenue which bypassed downtown Visalia.


At some point in 1957 a undivided expressway alignment of CA 198 was completed from US 99 in Goshen east past downtown Visalia.  This 1957 expressway first appears on the 1958 State Highway Map and was gradually upgraded to the modern freeway used by CA 198 today.


East of Lemon Cove CA 198 was realigned uphill to the south of Long Drive at some point in 1961 or 1962 due to the construction of the Terminus Dam and opening of the Lake Kaweah Reservoir. The new highway alignment south of the Terminus Dam site can be seen on the 1962 State Highway Map.


As noted above the initial 1934 route of CA 198 in the City of Visalia ran on Main Street east/west into downtown before cutting south on Court Street.




CA 198 was routed south via Court Street to Mineral King Avenue where it resume heading in an east/west direction.  Mineral King Avenue was originally known as Bridge Street.


East of Visalia the original route of CA 198/LRN 10 turned onto Road 220.



Early CA 198/LRN 10 turned east onto Avenue 312.



Early CA 198/LRN 10 turned onto Road 228 north.



Early CA 198/LRN 10 took an eastern turn on 7th Avenue which curved to the modern CA 198 grade.






Downtown Lemon Cove and a derelict Richfield gas station which remains as evidence that it was an important locale on early LRN 10.


East of Lemon Cove early LRN 10 turned off modern CA 198 past the junction of CA 216 onto Road 248 north.




LRN 10 took an eastern turn on Avenue 338.


LRN 10 next took northward jog on Road 249.


LRN 10 took an eastern turn towards the Terminus Dam site via Avenue 340.


CA 198 and early LRN 10 would have come into what is now the Lake Kaweah Reservoir on south side of the Terminus Dam.


The modern alignment of CA 198 is above Lake Kaweah to the south.


During periods of drought the original alignment of early CA 198/LRN 10 can be seen at the Terminus Dam.



East of the Terminus Dam CA 198 follows the Kaweah River to the boundary of Sequoia National Park.  The only community of note along the way is Three Rivers which essentially is the confluence point of the branches of the Kaweah River.  The roadway along the south side of the Lake Kaweah Reservoir has some awesome views of the high Sierras.


CA 198 wraps around Lake Kaweah before entering Three Rivers.


The Colony Mill Road (modern North Fork Road) used to take traffic into Sequoia National Park from Three Rivers before the Generals Highway was built.   The Salt Creek Bridge is an of the early State Highway bridge which was constructed in the early 1920s.  Truck traffic is directed to stop at the Salt Creek Bridge.

 
CA 198 intersects Mineral King Road which is a approximately 25 mile road that gains about 6,000 feet in elevation on the way to the glacial valley of the same name.  Mineral King Road was once part of a proposed CA 276.


At the Pumpkin Hollow Bridge CA 198 crosses the confluence of the Middle and East Fork Kaweah River.  The Pumpkin Hollow Bridge opened to traffic in 1922.



CA 198 ends at the boundary of Sequoia National Park.  The "end" placard is a new placement from early 2017.


Comments

O'siYo! said…
On the 1920 highway map the highlighted portion of '198' west of the North Fork Brigde at Three Rivers is incorrect.

As mentioned in the text you've written, Colony Mill Road was the only way to get to the Giant Forest prior to 1926, when the General's Highway opened.

Colony Mill Road (now North Fork Drive) originated as a wagon road that was hand cut by members of the Kaweah Co-Operative Colony in the 1880s. After Sequoia National Park was formed in 1890 the road was finished through to the Giant Forest by the U.S. Army in 1903 under direction of Colonel Charles Young and his 'Buffalo Soldiers' who found themselves widely respected in the Kaweah and Three Rivers communities. Col Young, a 'Negro' (in the parlance of the day) was a West Point graduate and the first Park Superintendent at Sequoia. He was a refined and accomplished man who was known to be fair and even handed, yet quite firm, in his initial duties of expelling ranchers and others who had long grazed cattle and sheep on what had become the new National Park.

The Kaweah Co-Operative Colony had been a socialist venture, the last vestige of which is the beloved 1910 Kaweah Post Office on North Fork Road. The road presently is only traversable by auto to the boundary of the National Park, at which point it continues to the Giant Forest as a hiking trail.

O'siYo! said…
*Correction - Make that _East_ of the North Fork Bridge.

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