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Former California State Route 176

After taking Cat Canyon Road to Palmer Road I took it north to Sisquoc on Foxen Canyon Road which was once the eastern terminus for California State Route 176.


CA 176 was a renumbering of a segment of Legislative Route 148 during the 1964 State Highway Renumbering.  The change from LRN 148 to CA 176 can seen by comparing the 1963 and 1964 State Highway Maps.

1963 State Highway Map

1964 State Highway Map

LRN 148 actually continued west of US 101 and Santa Maria to Guadalupe at CA 1.  During the 1964 State Highway renumbering the segment of LRN 148 west of US 101 was added as an extension to CA 166.  LRN 148 was adopted in 1933 like much of the current state highway system as cited by CAhighways.org.

CAhighways.org on LRN 148

Originally when CA 176 was signed ran from US 101 in Santa Maria east on Stowell Road, south on Philbric Road, and southeast on Foxen Canyon Road to the community of Sisquoc.  Betteravia Road and Main Street have often been cited as former routings of LRN 148 and CA 176, however I've found that not to be the true alignment.  On the 1935 California Division of Highways Map of Santa Barbra County LRN 148 can be seen exiting east out of Santa Maria on Stowell Road from Broadway which was US 101 at the time.  Stowell Road, Philbric Road, and Foxen Canyon Road can be identified by the five directional turns it takes to reach the community of Garey which line up with the current roadway alignments.

1935 Santa Barbra County Highway Map 

Update 4/8/18:  I noticed that the old Santa Maria Airport was located on Stowell which is my speculative guess as to why LRN 148 was plotted on it.  More information on the original city airport as well as various vintage city maps of Santa Maria can be found here:

Abandoned Airfields of Santa Barbara County

CA 176 is often cited as being deleted in 1984 but it last appears on state highway maps in 1986.  The same five curves that LRN 148 took from Santa Maria to Garey are still present on CA 176 east of US 101.  Interestingly CA 176 is still shown as an active route on modern iPhone devices checking the map data. 

1986 State Highway Map

On the 1988 State Highway Map CA 176 is no longer present.

1988 State Highway Map

In downtown Sisquoc US 101 is still signed at the corner of Foxen Canyon Road and Palmer Road which was eastern terminus of CA 176.  The north route to US 101 is signed at 10 miles which was the approximate length of CA 176.


Sisquoc was located on the Pacific Coast Railroad which is a now defunct narrow-gauge railroad that operated between San Luis Obispo southeast to Los Olivos from 1882 to 1941.  The Pacific Coast line from Santa Maria to Sisquoc was built by 1910 to service an oil refinery in Sisquoc at the recently discovered Cat Canyon Oilfield.  I'm uncertain of when Sisquoc was founded but I did find it on a 1906 map of California before the discovery of oil in Cat Canyon.  Sisquoc still resembles an actual early 20th century town and even has a general store.



CA 176 between Sisquoc and Garey followed the course of the Sisquoc River to the confluence with the Cuyama River.  The Sisquoc River Basin and confluence with the Cuyama River can be seen from Foxen Canyon Road directly north of Sisquoc.  The Sisquoc and Cuyama Rivers converge into the Santa Maria River which flows into the Pacific Ocean.


There is still what appears to be a Caltrans sourced "end 40 MPH" sign exiting Sisquoc westward towards Garey.  Foxen Canyon Road between Sisquoc and Garey is scenic with farm land being broken up by the surrounding hills.  Garey apparently dates back to the late 1880s and was apparently always a center for agriculture.





North of Garey at Santa Maria Mesa Road there is another US 101 sign indicating it is 7 miles away.  There appears to be an older alignment of Foxen Canyon Road and CA 176 that is now barricaded off.



Foxen Canyon Road continues northwest curving through the farm lands and crosses a bridge over a canal.  I didn't get the construction date on the bridge nor could I find it on upon inspecting the Google Car image.





Foxen Canyon Road ends at Philbric Road which is on the right in the photo below.  I wasn't certain about the alignment of CA 176 when I took my pictures so I ended by my album here.  Foxen Canyon Road becomes Betteravia Road ahead in the photo.


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