Skip to main content

Former US Route 101 through Nipomo

The community of Nipomo is located on US Route 101 in southern San Luis Obispo County.  Within the community of Nipomo the original alignment of US Route 101 can be found on Thompson Avenue.  Depicted below is the alignment of US Route 101 through Nipomo when it was located on Thompson Avenue as seen on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of San Luis Obispo County. 




Part 1; the history of US Route 101 through Nipomo

The creation of Nipomo can be traced back to Mexican Alta California when Rancho Nipomo was granted to William G. Dana 1837.  In 1839 Dana Adobe was established as a stage stop on El Camino Real between Santa Barbara and Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa.  The route of El Camino Real was intended to solidify a path of travel between the Catholic Missions of Las Californias.  In 1804 Alta California was formed out of the larger Las Californias.  El Camino Real would ultimately connect 21 Catholic Missions of Alta California ranging approximately 600 miles spanning from Mission San Diego de Alcala in San Diego north to Mission San Francisco Solano in Sonoma.  The Missions of El Camino Real were established from 1769 through 1823.  In the case of Mission San Francisco Solano it was established two years after Mexico had won it's independence from Spain in 1821.  Each Mission was meant to be approximately 30 miles apart from each other which would require a single day of travel by horseback.

In 1846 during the Mexican-American War the forces of John Fremont stopped in Rancho Nipomo on their way south towards Santa Barbara.  During the American period California the town site of Nipomo was plotted when the Pacific Coast Railway arrived at the community during 1882.  Nipomo can be seen on the 1890 George F. Cram Railroad Map of California.  


In 1904 the American El Camino Real Association was formed with the goal to mark a modern highway that corresponded to the historical route between the Spanish Missions.  Ultimately the path of American El Camino Real was to be marked by the signature bells the corridor is known by today.  The first bell marking the American El Camino Real was placed in 1906 and it is estimated by 1915 that there may have been anywhere from 158 to 400 placed in-field.  Nipomo being along the main highway at the time were signed as part of the American El Camino Real.  The American El Camino Real was one of the earliest analogs of what would become the signed Auto Trails.  The background of the American El Camino Real is covered extensively on CAhighways.org.

CAhighyways.org on the American El Camino Real

The era of State Highway Maintenance through Nipomo would begin with the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act which was approved by voters in 1910.  One of the highways approved through the 1909 First State Highway Bond Act was a 481.8 mile highway originating at the City Limits of San Francisco which terminated in San Diego.  This highway would ultimately come to be known in time as Legislative Route Number 2 ("LRN 2").  In 1913 the Pacific Highway was plotted as a major Auto Trail which had Nipomo along it's planned route.

Early LRN 2/American El Camino Real/Pacific Highway can be seen passing through Nipomo on the 1917 California State Automobile Association Map.


The 1920 Rand McNally Highway Map of California shows El Camino Real and the Pacific Highway following LRN 2 through Nipomo.  

The 1924 Rand McNally Map of California shows the California Banff Bee-Line Highway co-signed with the Pacific Highway on LRN 2 through Nipomo. 



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 with no changes recommended by January 1926.  The initial alignment of US Route 101 ("US 101") was planned to follow LRN 2 from San Francisco to San Diego via Nipomo.  US 101 is shown on a map published in the 1926 California Highways & Public Works following LRN 2 south from San Francisco towards San Diego.
 


During November of 1926 the US Route System was approved by the AASHO.  US 101 can be seen aligned through Nipomo on the 1927 National Map Company Sectional Map.

As noted above US 101/LRN 2 through Nipomo can be seen aligned on Thompson Avenue on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of San Luis Obispo County


The May/June 1956 California Highways & Public Works announced an upcoming upgrade and realignment of US 101/LRN 2 through Nipomo.  The new alignment of US 101/LRN 2 through Nipomo is stated to originate 3 miles north of Santa Maria at Hourihan Grade and ending approximately another 7.1 miles to the north at Russell Turn.  The upgrade to US 101/LRN 2 through Nipmo is stated to include numerous freeway structures.   


The January/February 1957 California Highways & Public Works notes the new alignment of US 101/LRN 2 north of Santa Maria on the "Nipomo Mesa Freeway" as being in the process of construction.  The Nipomo Mesa Freeway was completed during 1957 and would see US 101/LRN 2 realigned off Thompson Avenue through Nipomo.


During 1964 the Legislative Route Numbers were dropped as part of the California Highway Renumbering in favor of the field signed highways.  Since 1964 there has been no changes to US 101 through Nipomo.  



Part 2; a drive on former US Route 101 on Thompson Avenue through Nipomo

From modern southbound US 101 traffic can access Thompson Avenue via Exit 182.




Former US 101 on Thompson Avenue tracks east of the modern freeway and enters downtown Nipomo south of Willow Road.  









Former US 101 on Thompson Road intersects Tefft Street in downtown Nipomo.  Since the Nipomo Mesa Freeway opened in 1957 the community of Nipomo has grown westward from Thompson Avenue to take advantage of access to modern US 101.  



Former US 101 on Thompson Avenue exits Nipomo south of Tefft Street.




Former US 101 on Thompson Avenue south of Nipomo tracks immediately east the Nipomo Mesa Freeway and ends at California State Route 166.  








Comments

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 38

California State Route 38 is a fifty-nine-mile State Highway located entirety in San Bernardino County and a component of the Rim of the World Highway.  California State Route 38 begins at California State Route 18 at Bear Valley Dam of the San Bernardino Mountains and follows an easterly course on the north shore of Big Bear Lake.  California State Route 38 briefly multiplexes California State Route 18 near Baldwin Lake and branches east towards the 8,443-foot-high Onyx Summit.  From Onyx Summit the routing of California State Route 38 reverses course following a largely westward path through the San Bernardino Mountains towards a terminus at Interstate 10 in Redlands.   Pictured as the blog cover is California State Route 38 at Onyx Summit the day it opened to traffic on August 12th, 1961.   Part 1; the history of California State Route 38 California State Route 38 (CA 38) is generally considered to be the back way through the San Bernardino Mountains to Big Bear Lake of Bear Valley

The original alignment of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh

Firebaugh is a city located on the San Joaquin River of western Fresno County.  Firebaugh is one of the oldest American communities in San Joaquin Valley having been settled as the location of Firebaugh's Ferry in 1854.  Traditionally Firebaugh has been served by California State Route 33 which was one of the original Sign State Routes announced during August 1934.  In modern times California State Route 33 is aligned through Firebaugh on N Street.  Originally California State Route 33 headed southbound passed through Firebaugh via; N Street, 8th Street, O Street, 12th Street, Nees Avenue and Washoe Avenue.  The blog cover depicts early California State Route 33 near Firebaugh crossing over a one-lane canal bridge.  The image below is from the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Fresno County which depicts the original alignment of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh. Part 1; the history of California State Route 33 in Firebaugh The community of Firebaugh is named in honor of Andr

Driving the Watkins Glen Historic Road Course - New York

  Situated at the south end of Seneca Lake in the Finger Lakes region of Upstate New York, Watkins Glen is well known for wineries along Seneca Lake and waterfalls at Watkins Glen State Park . But one thing that gives the town much renown is its connection to the world of auto racing. The raceway at Watkins Glen Internationa l holds a number of big races every year, such as Six Hours at the Glen and the NASCAR Cup Series . The history of auto racing at Watkins Glen starts during the 1940s when the race followed a course on local roads and also through the streets of downtown Watkins Glen. It's a course that you can follow today, preferably at a more moderate speed than the auto racers of yore raced at. Let's explore the history of the original course, how it came to by and why it is no more. Organized races through the village of Watkins Glen and surrounding roads were first proposed and started by Cameron R. Argetsinger in 1948, marking the beginning of post-war sports car