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The history of California State Route 49, 8 and 88 in Jackson


Jackson is one of the major California Gold Rush cities located in the Sierra Nevada Mountain foothills and is the Amador County Seat.  As the Sign State Route program began during 1934 the city of Jackson served as the branching point for California State Route 49 and California State Route 8.  By 1940 California State Route 8 was truncated to Mokelumne Hill and California State Route 88 was extended through Jackson towards Carson Pass.  California State Route 49 and California State Route 88 prior to being moved to a bypass alignment during 1948 were multiplexed on Main Street in downtown Jackson.  Depicted as the blog cover is California State Route 49 and California State Route 88 on Main Street in Jackson during 1945.

The below illustration depicts the historic alignments of California State Routes 49, 8 and 88 in Jackson.




Part 1; the history of the State Highways in Jackson

Jackson was founded during 1848 and is named in honor of Colonial Alden Jackson.  Upon Amador County being created during 1854 Jackson was selected as the County Seat.  Jackson would incorporate as a city on December 5, 1905. 

Jackson is one of the longest lasting mining communities in California.  Two of the more notable mines around Jackson were the Kennedy Mine and Argonaut Mine.  The Kennedy Mine once had the deepest mine shaft in North America at approximately 5,900 feet.  The Argonaut Mine reached a depth of approximately 5,500 feet but was more well known for a 1922 fire which killed over 40 miners.  Both the Kennedy Mine and Argonaut Mine closed in 1942 when gold was determined not to be a metal essential during World War II.


State Highway service to Jackson began with the passage of the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act which defined what would become Legislative Route Number 34 (LRN 34).  The initial definition of LRN 34 was:

"From LRN 4 near Arno to Jackson"

The definition of what would become LRN 34 was extended from Jackson over Carson Pass to Hope Valley by way of legislative action taken during 1911:

"The certain road commencing at the Calaveras big tree grove located in Calaveras County thence running to Dorington in said county, thence E-ly following what is known as the Big Tree and Carson Valley Turnpike to Mt. Bullion in Alpine Cty, thence along the county road to Markleeville in Alpine Cty, thence along that certain road via Kirkwood, Silver Lake, Pine Grove and Irishtown to Jackson in Amador Cty, including therewith the road from Picketts in Hope Valley connecting with the Lake Tahoe Wagon Road, a state highway, at Osgood's Place in El Dorado Cty, and a road from Mt. Bullion via Loupe in Alpine Cty to Junction in Mono County connecting with the Sonora and Mono State Highway is hereby declared and established a state highway and shall be designated and known as "Alpine State Highway""

LRN 34 can be seen passing through Jackson on the 1917 California State Automobile Association Map.  Prior to 1933 the State of California was prohibited from maintaining highways within incorporated cities.  The through route in Jackson for eastbound LRN 34 appears to have always entered Jackson via Sutter Street which passed by the active mines in the city.  The through route through Jackson for LRN 34 eastbound towards Carson Pass would have been via Main Street, Water Street and Broadway. 


1921 Legislative Chapter 839 defined LRN 65 which provided a north/south State Highway through Jackson.  The provisions which defined LRN 65 declared:

"All that portion of the public highway commencing at Auburn in Placer County through Placerville, Jackson, San Andreas, and Angels to and connecting with the state highway at Sonora, Tuolumne county is hereby declared to a state highway shall be known as the "Mother Lodge Highway""

LRN 65 passed through the city of Jackson northbound via Broadway, Water Street, Main Street and Sutter Street towards Martell.  LRN 65 can be seen for the first time through Jackson on the 1922 California Highway Commission Map.  



During 1933 the Legislative barriers prohibiting the State from maintaining highways in incorporated cities were removed.  Thusly, LRN 34 and LRN 65 through Jackson for first could be directly maintained/improved by the Division of Highways.

The August 1934 California Highways & Public Works announced the initial run of Sign State Routes.  The entirety of LRN 65 was assigned as a portion of California State Route 49.  California State Route 8 was assigned as a new highway which followed LRN 5 from Stockton to Mokelumne Hill, LRN 65 to Jackson and LRN 34 over Carson Pass.  California State Route 49 and California State Route 8 both multiplexed north from Mokelumne Hill into Jackson via Broadway.  At Water Street, California State Route 8 split east via LRN 34 towards Carson Pass whereas California State Route 49 followed LRN 65 through downtown Jackson via Main Street and Sutter Street towards Martell. 




California State Route 49 and California State Route 8 can be seen entering Jackson on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Amador County.  


California State Route 49 and California State Route 8 can be seen entering Jackson together north of Mokelumne Hill on the 1938 Division of Highways Map.  


By 1940 California State Route 8 had been truncated to Mokelumne Hill in favor California State Route 88 east of Jackson.  California State Route 88 eastbound had entered Jackson multiplexed with California State Route 49 southbound on Sutter Street, Main Street and Water Street towards Broadway.  California State Route 88 originated from Stockton and reached Jackson via LRN 97 (added to the State Highway System during 1935) and LRN 34.  California State Route 88 can be seen passing through Jackson for the first time on the 1940 Division of Highways Map.  


The January/February 1944 California Highways & Public Works announced the realignment of California State Route 49, California State Route 88, LRN 34 and LRN 65 in Jackson was approved by the California Highway Commission as a Post-World War II project.  


Existing California State Route 49, California State Route 88, LRN 34 and LRN 65 through Jackson are featured as part of a Mother Lode State Highway article in the September/October 1945 California Highways & Public Works.  California State Route 49 and California State Route 88 can be seen multiplexed (shield assembly on the far right) in a Division of Highways photo. 





The realignment of California State Route 49, California State Route 88, LRN 34 and LRN 88 in Jackson is featured in the September/October 1948 California Highways & Public Works.  California State Route 49 and LRN 65/Mother Lode Highway were realigned west of downtown Jackson onto a new bypass alignment.  California State Route 88 followed the new western bypass of downtown to a new junction at the Carson Pass Highway/LRN 34 south of Jackson Creek.  The new highway alignments in Jackson were dedicated on August 7, 1948, by State Highway Commissioner Homer P. Brown and Jackson Mayor Edward T. Wise.  





The alignment of California State Route 49 and California State Route 88 in Jackson have remained unaltered since August 1948.  As part of the 1964 State Highway Renumbering the Legislative Routes Numbers were dropped in favor of Sign State Route designations. 



Part 2; exploring the historic corridors of California State Route 49, 8 and 88 in Jackson

The historic alignments of California State Route 49 8 and 88 can be observed on the below illustration. 


California State Route 49 northbound would have originally entered downtown Jackson along with California State Route 8 eastbound on Broadway.  The modern bypass alignment of California State Route 49 swings west of Broadway. 


The original alignment of California State Route 49 and California State Route 88 on Main Street north of Jackson Creek in downtown Jackson are filled with historic structures.   







Part 3; a drive on the 1948 alignments of California State Route 49 and California State Route 88 in Jackson

Approaching Jackson northbound California State Route 49 enters the city via the 1948 bypass of downtown.



California State Route 49 northbound intersects California State Route 88 on the outskirts of downtown Jackson near the confluence of the North and South Fork of Jackson Creek.



Northbound California State Route 49 begins a multiplex of westbound California State Route 88.  From the junction of California State Route 49-88 near downtown Jackson the community of Martell is signed as 1 mile away. 


On the uphill climb to Martell California State Route 49-88 passes ta vista of the Kennedy Mine and Jackson.



 
California State Route 49 in Martell continues north whereas California State Route 88 splits west towards Stockton.


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