Calimesa is a city located in Riverside County near the outskirts of San Gorgonio Pass. When the US Route System was created during November 1926 only US Route 99 was aligned through the community via what is now Calimesa Boulevard along with parts Copper Drive and Roberts Road. US Route 99 was joined through Calimesa by US Route 70 in 1935. US Route 99-70 would move to a new expressway alignment during 1951 onto a grade which would eventually become Interstate 10. Featured as the cover of this blog is former US Route 99-70 in Calimesa on Roberts Road. Below what was the original alignment of US Route 99-70 through Calimesa can be seen between Redlands of San Bernardino County and Beaumont on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Riverside.
Part 1; the history of former US Route 99-70 in Calimesa
The origins of the current community of Calimesa are relatively modern. What is now Calimesa was traditionally tied to neighboring Yucaipa which is located to the north in San Bernardino County. During June 1929 approximately 100 local residents attended a meeting and decided to apply for their Post Office designation in Riverside County. A contest for naming was held through which the community's name of Calimesa was ultimately selected. The name Calimesa is amalgamation of "California" and the Spanish word table in the form of "mesa." Ultimately Calimesa would incorporate as a city on December 1st, 1990.
What would become US Route 99 (US 99) and US Route 70 (US 70) in Calimesa was added to the State Highway System as part of the 1916 Second State Highway Bond Act in the form of Legislative Route Number 26 (LRN 26). The initial definition of LRN 26 originated in San Bernardino and terminated in El Centro. LRN 26 appears a planned highway through the future site of Calimesa on the 1918 California Highway Commission map.
The initial draft of the US Route System was approved by the Secretary of Agriculture during November of 1925. The US Route System within California was approved by California Highway Commission ("CHC") with no changes recommended which can be seen in January 1926 California Highways & Public Works. US 99 is shown departing San Bernardino via LRN 26 towards Imperial Valley via the corridor which would become Calimesa.
Thusly planned US 99 appears on the 1925 Rand McNally Map of California following LRN 26 between Redlands and Beaumont.
As noted in the intro what was the original alignment of US Route 99-70 through Calimesa can be seen between Redlands of San Bernardino County and Beaumont on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Riverside.
The May/June 1950 California Highways & Public Works features the expansion of US 99/US 70/LRN 26 in Calimesa. The article stub notes Calimesa was the last section of US 99/US 70 between Los Angeles and Palm Springs to be two-lanes wide. The expansion of US 99/US 70/LRN 26 was a four-lane expressway over a 9.6-mile project zone. The new four-lane expressway grade of US 99/US 70/LRN 26 was largely a completely new alignment detached from than existing Calimesa Boulevard.
The overall scale of the remaining concrete from US 99/US 70 can be seen spanning from Copper Drive eastward via Roberts Road to Cherry Valley Boulevard.