Skip to main content

The western end of US Route 6 and Laws Depot on the Carson & Colorado Railway

Back in June of 2016 I visited the western terminus of US Route 6 at US Route 395 located in Bishop, California of Inyo County on my way to Laws Depot.


US 6 is one of the longest US Routes at 3,205 miles between Bishop, CA east to Provincetown, MA.  Historically US 6 was the longest US Route ever when it ended in Long Beach at 3,652 miles.  US 6 is known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway and is mostly known for traveling through some of the most rural corners of the Continental United States.


The endpoint of US 6 expanded wildly westward during the early US Route era.  Below is a summary of endpoints for US 6 that are listed on USends.com:

1927-1931

-  Provincetown, MA west to Erie, PA

1932-1937

-  Provincetown, MA west to Greeley, CO

1937-1964

-  Provincetown, MA west to Long Beach, CA

1964-Present

-  Provincetown, MA west to Bishop, CA

US 6 was one of the routes heavily truncated during the 1964 California Highway Renumbering.  US 6 had a large multiplex of US 395 southbound which was deemed to be inefficient by the California Division of Highways.  US 6 west of Bishop was replaced by the following in 1964:

-  California State Route 14 from US 395 in Bradys to Interstate 5.
-  Interstate 5 to California State Route 11 in downtown Los Angeles.
-  California State Route 11 to California State Route 1 in Long Beach.
-  California State Route 1 in Long Beach to California State Route 15/US 91.

The above changes can be seen by comparing the 1963 and 1964 State Highway Maps.  The City inserts in the Los Angeles Area show the majority of the changes.

1963 State Highway Map City Insert

1963 State Highway Map

1964 State Highway Map City Insert

1964 State Highway Map 

California State Route 11 would of course be later replaced by CA 110/I-110.  What's interesting about US 6 is that it largely used multiplexes even in the Los Angeles Area to reach Long Beach which are described below.

-  US 99 from Santa Clarita to US 66 in Los Angeles.
-  US 66 in Los Angeles to CA 11.
-  CA 11 to US 101A in Long Beach.
-  US 101A to CA 15/US 91.

The terminus of US 6 in Long Beach seems to have always been co-signed with US 101A at CA 15/US 91.  CA 15 used to terminate in Long Beach on Atlantic Avenue at Pacific Coast Highway before it was moved to the Long Beach Freeway by 1955.  After the 1955 realignment of CA 15 on the Long Beach Freeway US 6 was cut back slightly while the terminus of US 91 was extended on US 101A.  The western terminus of US 6 in Long Beach can be seen changing by comparing the 1954 and 1955 State Highway City inserts below.

1938 State Highway Map City Insert

1954 State Highway Map City Insert

1955 State Highway Map City Insert

During the 1964 Highway Renumbering CA 15 was reassigned as CA 7 which in turn later became I-710.  USends has an end point page showing photos of the US 6 endpoints in Long Beach.

USends on US 6 endpoints in Long Beach

Interestingly US 6 from Bishop east to the Nevada State Line was the original alignment of CA 168 on Legislative Route Number 76.  LRN 76 in it's entirety was defined in 1931 and largely followed the path of the Carson & Colorado Railway east of Bishop over the 7,100 foot Montgomery Pass to the Nevada State Line.  CA 168 east of the Sierras was cut back to US 395/6 in Bishop when the latter was extended into California in 1937.  CA 168 would not be extended again until 1964 when it was routed east of US 395 to Oasis at CA 266.

CAhighways.org on CA 168

The Carson and Colorado Railway was a narrow gauge line that ran from Mound House, NV near Carson City south to Keeler on the eastern shore of Owens Lake in Inyo County California.  When LRN 76 was first created it's path east of Bishop followed alongside the tracks of the Carson and Colorado on unimproved roadways which can be seen on the 1932 State Highway Map.

1932 State Highway Map

The Carson and Colorado Railway was created in 1880 with the intentions of reaching the Colorado River through the Mojave Desert.  The Carson and Colorado Railway never reached further south than Keeler and the line was last used in 1960.   Laws was created as one of the original Carson and Colorado Railway sidings and lies just off of US 6 only 5 miles east of Bishop.  Laws is where a small section of the Carson and Colorado is preserved at Laws Depot.  Apparently the Carson and Colorado Railway was completed to Laws by 1883.  Laws Depot is now preserved as the Laws Railroad Museum.




Laws was a substantial enough siding that it warranted Post Office Service from 1887 to 1963.  The Laws Post Office is preserved on site at Laws Depot.




Various structures from Laws and Owens Valley are preserved along the railroad tracks at Laws Depot.









As stated above there is a preserved section of the Carson and Colorado Railway at Laws Depot.



Various other displays show case assorted road related items like this old Ford at a vintage mechanical gas pump.





Laws Depot has a large number of ACSC signs from Owens Valley and the Death Valley area on display.



No rail museum would be complete without a locomotive or two.


There are two mileage signs on the depot building showing distances between locales on what was once US 395/6.






More information on the Laws Railroad Museum can be found here.

https://www.lawsmuseum.org/

The only significant junction on US 6 between Bishop and the Nevada State Line is in Benton with CA 120.  I wrote about that particular section of CA 120 previously and how Benton actually moved to be on the Carson and Colorado Railway.

California State Route 120; US 6 west to US 395

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Paper Highways; California State Route 1 through the Lost Coast

For all the accolades and praise that California State Route 1 gets for being a top notch coastal highway one fact tends to get overlooked; the highway was never finished!  In this edition of Paper Highways we look at the failed path of California State Route 1 through the Lost Coast.



Part 1; the history of Legislative Route 56 and California Route 1 through the Lost Coast

The Lost Coast region consists of the undeveloped coastal areas of Humboldt County, Mendocino County, and the King Range.  The Lost Coast region roughly spans from near Rockport in Mendocino County north to Ferndale of Humboldt County.  The Lost Coast region is known for having rugged terrain which rivals what is seen in Big Sur.  The Lost Coast has several small communities such as; Shelter Cove, Whitehorn, and Petrolia.

In 1933 Legislative Route 56 was extended south to LRN 2 (US 101) near Las Cruces and north to Ferndale to LRN 1 (also US 101).  Prior to 1933 the legislative description of LRN 56 had it's nort…

US Route 99 to Visalia?...

Something that I noticed awhile back while doing map research regarding US Route 99 in Fresno was that the highway intended to be originally routed through the City of Visalia.



The early originally planned alignment of US Route 99 in Visalia

To be clear US 99 was never actually routed through Visalia and ended up bypassing the City in favor of a direct route from Goshen southeast to Tulare.  US 99 within San Joaquin Valley was aligned over Legislative Route 4 which in turn was added to the State Highway System as part of the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act.  LRN 4 for a time was aligned through Visalia via; Mineral King Avenue, Main Street, and Mooney Boulevard.  This early alignment of LRN 4 through Visalia can be seen on the 1924 Division of Highways State Map.


The initial draft of the US Route System was approved by the Secretary of Agriculture during November of 1925.  The US Route System with in California was approved by California Highway Commission with no changes recommended…

Where the hell is Hill Valley? (US Route 8 south/US Route 395 east)

Recently I made a visit to Universal Studios near Los Angeles.  While on the back lot tour I came across a piece of infamous movie-borne fictional highway infamy; the location of town square of Hill Valley, California on US Route 8/US Route 395.


The above photo is part of the intro scene to the first Back-to-the-Future movie which was set in 1985. To anyone who follows roadways the signage error of US 8 meeting US 395 in California is an immediately notable error.  For one; US 8 doesn't even exist anywhere near California with present alignment being signed as an east/west highway between Norway, Michigan and Forest Lake, Minnesota.  To make matters worse US 8 is signed as a southbound route and US 395 (a north/south highway) is signed as an eastbound route.  At minimum the cut-out US 8 and US 395 shields somewhat resemble what Caltrans used in the 1980s.

Assuming Hill Valley is located on what would have been US 395 by 1985 what locales would be a viable real world analog?  US 39…