Skip to main content

Former US Route 99 in Westmorland

Westmorland is a city located in Imperial Valley in the Sonoran Desert of Imperial County, California.  Westmorland presently is occupied by the corridors of California State Route 78 and California State Route 86 but was once on the corridor of US Route 99.  US Route 99 was aligned on Main Street within Westmorland from 1926 until it was truncated to downtown Los Angeles in 1963.  This blog will explore the history of US Route 99 in Westmorland.  Above as the blog cover US Route 99 can be seen passing through Westmorland during 1936 in a Pomona Public Library photo.  Below US Route 99 can be observed on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Imperial County passing through Westmorland.  




The history of US Route 99 in Westmorland

What became Westmorland (originally Westmoreland) was part of a development of the 30,000-acre land plot by the Oakley Company.  Westmorland received Post Office Service in 1909 and was formally plotted out by the Oakley Company during 1910.  Westmorland was connected to Southern Pacific Railroad by way of a spur originating at Calipatria by June 1917.  

What would become US Route 99 through Westmorland was added to the State Highway System as part of the 1916 Second State Highway Bond Act in the form of Legislative Route Number 26 (LRN 26).  The initial definition of LRN 26 originated in San Bernardino and terminated in El Centro.  LRN 26 appears as a planned highway through Westmorland (between Kane Springs and Brawley) on the 1918 California Highway Commission map.


The 1924 Rand McNally Map of California reveals LRN 26 through Westmorland was not part of any major Auto Trails.  Notably LRN 26 is seen taking a series of ninety-degree jogs between Brawley and Westmorland.  The alignment of LRN 26 through Westmorland appears to be aligned on Main Street and Center Street.  


The December 1924 California Highways & Public Works notes work was underway to align a gravel highway through Westmorland via Main Street.  


The February 1925 California Highways & Public Works notes LRN 26 was realigned and surfaced through Westmorland.  The article stub notes the realignment of LRN 26 extended one mile west of Westmorland.  


The May 1925 California Highways & Public Works noted a cooperative was underway between the community of Westmorland and Division of Highways to pave LRN 26 on Main Street.  

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 (CHC) with no changes recommended which can be seen in January 1926 California Highways & Public Works.  US Route 99 is shown departing San Bernardino via LRN 26 towards El Centro via Westmorland.  



Thusly planned US Route 99 appears on the 1925 Rand McNally Map of California following LRN 26 through Westmorland.  


The US Route System was formally approved by the American Association of State Highway Engineers (AASHO) on November 11th, 1926. which formally brought US Route 99 into existence on LRN 26 through Westmorland. 


The January/February 1929 California Highways & Public Works noted paving operations along US Route 99/LRN 26 extending from both ends of Westmorland was earmarked as 1929-31 Fiscal Year projects  


On June 30, 1934, Westmorland incorporated as city.  Upon incorporating the official city name was "Westmoreland" but the extra "e" would be dropped by 1936.  Below US Route 99 can be observed on the 1935 Division of Highways Map of Imperial County passing through Westmorland.  


US Route 99/LRN 26 can be seen passing through Westmorland during 1936 in a Pomona Public Library photo.


The November/December 1954 California Highways & Public Works announced an awarded contract to repave US Route 99/LRN 26 from the western end of Brawley through Westmorland to Trifolium Creek.  


The truncation of US Route 99 from Calexico to the junction of the Golden State Freeway and San Bernardino Freeway in Los Angeles was approved by the AASHO Executive Committee on June 19th, 1963.  The justification by the California Division of Highways to truncate US Route 99 was to avoid what the agency viewed as confusing multiplexes on the new Interstate corridors of Southern California.  The truncation of US Route 99 did not take effect until New Year's Day 1964 and was part of the run up to the 1964 State Highway Renumbering.




During the 1964 State Highway Renumbering numerous changes were made to the State Highway System.  All the Legislative Route Numbers were dropped in favor of highway designations matching field signage.  The former corridor of US Route 99 from Indio to El Centro by way of Westmorland was subsequently replaced with California State Route 86.  California State Route 86 through Westmorland first appears on the 1964 Division of Highways Map.  



In 1970 California State Route 78 would be extended through Westmorland via multiplex of California State Route 86 following the addition of Ben Hulse Highway as part of the State Highway System.  The road connecting Brawley to Glamis opened on August 13th, 1958, according to a San Diego Tribune article.  The opening of the new road to Glamis saw it incorporated into the planned extension of LRN 146 defined by 1959 Legislative Chapter 1062.  The completion of Ben Hulse Highway from California State Route 115 to existing California State Route 78 near Palo Verde was reported as being dedicated in the March 22nd, 1964, San Diego Union.  Ben Hulse Highway reported was signed as Imperial County Route S78 upon being dedicated, it unclear if the County Route designation was co-signed on California State Route 86 through Westmorland.  Ben Hulse Highway ultimately appears as part of California State Route 78 on the 1970 Division of Highways Map.  Notably the 1970 Division of Highways Map displays the planned but never constructed alignment approved by the California Highway Commission during 1961. 


Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Yes, the color of your nearby fire hydrant matters...

...and here's why. You will find White, Red, Yellow and Violet colored fire hydrants pretty much everywhere.  But there's a reason for this - and it's because of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).  This association has issued guidelines for color coding standards for fire hydrants.  These color codes from the body of the hydrant, top of the hydrant, and in some municipalities the outlet caps are designed to allow fire fighters to know what type of system, water flow rate (Gallons Per Minute or GPM), and level of water pressure.  This guideline is known as NFPA 291 and is intended to be used universally throughout the United States. The NFPA guidelines are specific to the body and the top cap of the hydrant.  If a hydrant is WHITE or YELLOW - it means that it is connected to a public/municipal water system.  If a hydrant is RED - the hydrant is connected to a private system, typically a well.  These are most common in rural or unincorporated areas

Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway (in the making since 1947)

On September 15, 2022, the Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway opened in the city of Modesto from California State Route 99 west to North Dakota Avenue.  Phase 1 of the California State Route 132 West Expressway was built upon a corridor which was tentatively to designated to become the branching point for Interstate 5W in the 1947 concept of the Interstate Highway System.  The present California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor was adopted by the California Highway Commission on June 20, 1956.  Despite almost being rescinded during the 1970s the concept of the California State Route 132 West Expressway corridor lingered on for over half a century and became likely the oldest undeveloped right-of-way owned by California Transportation Commission.  Pictured above is the planned California State Route 132 freeway west of US Route 99 in Modesto as featured in the May/June 1962 California Highways & Public Works.   The history of the California State Route

Aptos Creek Road to the Loma Prieta ghost town site

Aptos Creek Road is a roadway in Santa Cruz County, California which connects the community of Aptos north to The Forest of Nisene Marks State Parks.  Aptos Creek Road north of Aptos is largely unpaved and is where the town site of Loma Prieta can be located.  Loma Prieta was a sawmill community which operated from 1883-1923 and reached a peak population of approximately three hundred.  Loma Prieta included a railroad which is now occupied by Aptos Creek Road along with a spur to Bridge Creek which now the Loma Prieta Grade Trail.  The site of the Loma Prieta Mill and company town burned in 1942.   Part 1; the history of Aptos Creek Road and the Loma Prieta town site Modern Aptos traces its origin to Mexican Rancho Aptos.  Rancho Aptos was granted by the Mexican Government in 1833 Rafael Castro.  Rancho Aptos took its name from Aptos Creek which coursed through from the Santa Cruz Mountains to Monterey Bay.  Castro initially used Rancho Aptos to raise cattle for their hides.  Following