Longest Highway in the USA
U.S. Route 20 is an east-west United States highway. It is the longest road in the United States and the route roughly parallels that of Interstate 90. However, since numbered US routes are not designated as such within the boundaries of national parks, Yellowstone National Park technically splits the route into two sections.
U.S. Route 20 is one of the oldest transcontinental highways. Stretching across eleven states, it crosses four time zones, beginning in the east near Boston, Massachusetts and ending in the west at Newport Oregon. Covering 3, 365 miles, and therefore known as the nation’s longest continuous highway, and the only transcontinental highway which cuts through New York.
This route can actually trace its early beginnings to animal paths, Indian trails, and early turnpikes. With westward expansion and the industrial age, over time it grew. What is now Route 20, was chartered as the “First Western Turnpike”, and has also been called the “Cherry Valley Turnpike”. It experienced its biggest boom during the golden years of the automobile. When Henry Ford produced Model T, a car that was affordable to the masses, people from almost all walks of life could now venture outside of their own towns and villages. This was the beginning of modern growth for this route, and from 1925 to 1955 Route 20 became the major means from going east to west to east and all points in between. It is now possible for Americans to start to explore God’s great open spaces.
In early day of monitoring, there were no motels and hotels that existed in the major cities, so when night falls upon tired and road weary travelers. Most just pulled off the road and set up tents or slept within the car itself. Many towns and villages allowed travelers to set up camp in their town parks. Eventually, fields near town were set aside specifically for this purpose, and thus the ‘auto camp’ or ‘tourist camp’ as they were also sometimes called was born.
Lacking any and all amenities, these were basically just a clear and open field where motorists could set up a tent or two and spend the night or a few days before continuing on their journey. Auto camps however quickly became the choice spot for hiding criminal elements and also attracted hobo vagrants, in fact the famed Bonnie & Clyde were said to hide out in auto camps while on the run, so what started out as good thing quickly turned into a seedy not so desirable place to be for a family of travelling vacationers.
As of today, remnants of the golden years can still be seen all over a section of this popular routein New York State. Cabin colonies and motor courts that have long been abandoned and forgotten still can be seen along the roadside. Many of the old motels can still be seen along the road and some are even still in business today. Although urban sprawl and modern development threatens to close pieces of local Americana as sections of the road have been widened, some sections have been made into divided highways. Lack of travel and tourism threatens small businesses. And therefore many urges people to go out and recapture the lost past time of Route 20.