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.
This blog is part of the larger Gribblenation US Route 99 Page. For more information pertaining to the other various segments of US Route 99 and it's three-digit child routes check out the link the below.
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 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.
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 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.
Continuing north on US Route 99 to Indio and Coachella Valley?
Continuing south on US Route 99 to Brawley?