Pavement Ends
James Baughn

Drive on the oldest concrete highway in Missouri

Posted Thursday, April 16, 2009, at 11:12 AM


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  • Interesting. My dad always said that the concrete stretch of road going by the cement plant was the oldest concrete road.

    He was either mistaken or I maybe just didn't hear some qualifier.

    -- Posted by Ken1 on Fri, Apr 17, 2009, at 7:59 AM
  • Wow! I grew up on this road back in the 70's and I thought it was maybe built in the 50s or early 60s. But 1919?? It's in pretty great shape for 90.

    We lived in a mobile home there in Wyatt and when a car or large truck would hit the crack in the road just right, it would wake me from a dead sleep. I hated that about that old road but it was probably due more to the structural integrity of the mobile home, or lack thereof. You could shoot a BB through the walls. Umm...don't ask me how I know. ;)

    -- Posted by semotexex on Sun, Apr 19, 2009, at 11:23 AM
  • "It was the first stretch of concrete highway in Missouri other than a three mile road between Kansas City and Independence..."

    In other words, it wasn't really the first, nor the oldest, concrete road in the state.

    -- Posted by OlderEagle on Fri, May 15, 2009, at 11:53 PM
  • I also grew up on this very road right across from the old Wyatt Elementary school from 1953 to 1973. It is quite bumpy now, but my husband and I still enjoy taking a ride down the old road on our motorcycle every now and then. Even though many of the houses of my time are sadly missing or as in the case of our former home, are in a state of disrepair it is still comforting to ride down the old road and reminisce. Many memories come flooding back. I am amazed to see this article. I had no idea of the history just under my feet for so many years!

    -- Posted by babedoll on Sun, Jun 28, 2009, at 9:54 PM
  • my great grandfather and grandfather built homes on the last leg of this road leading to the ferry. they raised family there and were fisherman. there was another family there that unloaded fuel off the barges, the franklins, everyone was washed out by the flood of 72. i have many pictures of that area and still visit it at least once a year. my grandfather was glen eddleman, they called him pete. his 39 dodge truck is still sitting there. mark eddleman

    -- Posted by eddleman on Sun, Jul 5, 2009, at 11:41 PM
  • Mr. Baughn, I enjoy your articles very much; however, what is your source for the first finished interstate highway in Missouri? I remember seeing the construction on Interstate 70 starting in the late 50's on a trip to Montana, and that was in St. Charles, MO. There is also a marker indicating "the first interstate highway" or something of sorts. Likewise, I was a frequent visitor to Charleston in the late 60's and do not remember any interstate at all until the early or mid 70's. Just wondering...

    -- Posted by Hugh M Bean on Mon, Jan 9, 2012, at 4:49 PM
  • Hugh, I don't have it handy, but one of the state highway maps from the early 1960s shows a short segment of I-57 completed between (I think) the Charleston and Bertrand exits. It's the only interstate in Southeast Missouri shown on that map.

    As for the rest of Missouri, I-70 near St. Charles was the first project to be contracted under the Eisenhower Interstate System.

    -- Posted by James Baughn on Mon, Jan 9, 2012, at 5:03 PM
  • As a follow-up in case anybody is still reading this...

    This Southeast Missourian article from 1960 makes it clear that I-57 between Sikeston and Charleston was the "first section of superhighway built in southeast Missouri":


    Notice how the article goes to great lengths to explain how interchanges work -- a brand new concept for this part of the country.

    Also, the 1962 Official State Highway Map shows I-57 but not I-55:


    -- Posted by James Baughn on Sun, Jan 22, 2012, at 5:12 PM