When US Route 60 was extended into California during the early 1930s it was aligned towards a terminus in Los Angeles. From Beaumont US Route 60 followed the original Jack Rabbit Trail west through the Moreno Valley Badlands via Legislative Route Number 19 towards Riverside. The original Jack Rabbit Trail was a narrow and inadequate roadway which was replaced by a modernized grade during mid-1930s which is still in use as part of California State Route 60. For a brief time, US Route 70 multiplexed US Route 60 via Jack Rabbit Trail in its first route description upon being extended to California. Above as the blog cover is a view on Jack Rabbit Trail facing eastward into the Moreno Valley Badlands. Below is a snipped image from the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Riverside County which depicted US Route 60 and US Route 70 in the Moreno Valley Badlands on Jackrabbit Trail.
Part 1; the history of US Route 60-70 on Jack Rabbit Trail
What became US Route 60 (US 60) on Jack Rabbit Trail between Beaumont and Riverside was part of Legislative Route Number 19 (LRN 19). LRN 19 was originally defined during the 1909 First State Highway Bond as a route running from Riverside west to Claremont. In 1931 LRN 19 was extended east to Beaumont through the Moreno Valley Badlands via Jack Rabbit Trail. The new route of LRN 19 east from Riverside to Beaumont first appears on the 1932 Division of Highways State Map.
The California State Highway Engineer submitted a recommended routing of US 60 to the AASHO Executive Secretary on September 8th, 1931. The route description of US 60 show as ending in Los Angeles by way of Pomona at an undisclosed terminus. The routing of US 60 defined it as following Jack Rabbit Trail from Beaumont west through the Moreno Valley Badlands towards Riverside.
The April 1932 California Highways & Public Works notes the Riverside Chamber of Commerce made a request to the California Highway Commission to replace existing US 60/LRN 19 on Jack Rabbit Trail.
- US 60/LRN 19 turned northwest on Gillman Springs Road to Alessandro Boulevard.
- US 60/LRN 19 headed westward through Moreno (modern Moreno Valley) to what became US 395 (post-1934) which was on what is now known as Old 215.
- US 60/LRN 19 headed northwest on an alignment largely under modern I-215/CA 60 to 8th Street (now University Avenue) in Riverside.
As noted in the intro the alignment of US 60/US 70/LRN 19 from Beaumont west to Riverside is made clear on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Riverside County.
The elimination of Jack Rabbit Trail and the new alignment of US 60/LRN 19 in the Beaumont-Riverside corridor is discussed in the August 1937 California Highways & Public Works. Jack Rabbit Trail is described as being very narrow and carries steep grades through the Moreno Valley Badlands which made it unsuitable for a cross-country US Route. Jack Rabbit Trail is described as being replaced by a new cut through the Moreno Valley Badlands during 1935. A new route from Box Springs (near modern day Riverside) east to the Moreno Valley Badlands is described as being completed in 1936. The third part of the new route was described as being completed east of the Moreno Valley Badlands to the Beaumont by July of 1937.
Part 2; visiting former US Route 60-70 on Jack Rabbit Trail
Very little of former US 60/US 70/LRN 19 on Jack Rabbit Trail is accessible as public roadway. A small portion of Jack Rabbit Trail east from Gillman Springs Road (former California State Route 83 and later California State Route 79) can still be accessed by the public.