Route 20 Historical Signs

Historic Route 20            A few months ago Bellevue Police Officer Josh Pickens came to my office with

some information on the Historic U.S. Route 20 Association.

            Josh had recently attended a meeting in Norwalk and heard a presentation from the

president of the association, Bryan Farr.

            As I looked over the brochure it had a similar look to the more famous Route 66.

As a kid, I enjoyed the TV show Route 66. It was about two young adventurers doing

their version of Jack Kerovac’s “On The Road”. The well to do Ivy Leaguers played by Martin

Milner and the orphan from Hell’s Kitchen portrayed by George Maharis. The duo drove around

The country in a 1960 Corvette. In the show’s first season Corvette sales doubled.

            Most of the episodes were written by Stirling Silliphant, who won an Oscar for writing

“In the Heat of the Night”.

            The story’s characters had more depth than current shows. More often than not, there was a moral

to the story as well. The show was shot on location. In the four seasons it aired, they filmed in 40 states.

The theme song by Nelson Riddle is a classic. All in all the show re-enforces Americans love of their automobiles

and the open road.

            Although Route 20 doesn’t have the notoriety of Route 66, it offers plenty to compete for fellow travelers and their business.

            First of all, Route 20 is America’s longest highway. It is a 3,365 mile journey That starts in Boston, Massachusetts and ends in Newport,

Oregon. You can drive the Atlantic to the Pacific or vice versa continuously on Route 20.

            That feature is something you can’t do with Route 66. Which starts in Chicago and ends in California. Unfortunately, parts of

Route 66 are no longer in use.

            The mission of the Historic U.S. Route 20 Association is to identify and preserve the cultural importance of the inner cities,

small towns and rural communities along all present and former alignments of U.S. Route 20 by promoting tourism and encouraging

economic development. Our mission will be delivered through education & carried out by means of fundraising, seeking out and/or

providing grants, community development programs, books, guide books, travel apps, visiting and coordinating with other nonprofit

organizations and working directly with the local towns to bring awareness of and connect  that U.S. Route 20 has in common with

respect to their locations.

            Since its original designation in 1925, U.S. Route 20 has in some locations been moved, rerouted or relocated. Every effort

will be made by the organization to locate and indentify these former alignments. This effort will be achieved by consulting old maps,

news articles, documents from highway officials and photographs. It is the organizations plan, to create maps and a mobile app to

present this information to promote tourism and travel on all of U.S. Route 20.

            For Bellevue, Route 20 is our Main Street, what better way to take what some would say a negative and turn it into a positive.

            The Administration decided to get involved with the association. Bellevue is now a lifetime member. Historic route U.S. 20 signs

will soon be up at each end of town. Adam Gerhardstein, Lead Person, Street Department, came up with the idea of lighting the signs

so they are more recognizable at night. Sometime in 2015 we hope to have Bryan Farr come to Bellevue and make a presentation.

We plan to provide historical as well as present information for their website:

            I would encourage our citizens to go to the website: www.historicus20.com and learn more about the historical U.S. Route 20!