Monday, November 02, 2009

When old highways die

Ther is something very sad and lonely about roadways that have been decommissioned. Northern Arizona is full of bits and pieces of old Route 66 and older SR89, if you are on the lookout for them. And they are accessible, being on federal and state land. Not so this old section of 89A recently replaced by a spiffy new 4-lane speedway between Prescott north and Prescott Valley. It's scheduled to become a part of a huge real estate subdivision one of these days when the market picks up again. And it's locked off. Twice.

Yes, that is the old railroad crossing, now the Peavine Trail, which means that if you walk long enough you can access the old road. Of course, you'd be trespassing.

What always shocks me is just how quickly the grass takes hold in abandoned asphalt. That white stripe is still pretty dang clean and yet the forces of nature and life are already breaking up the pavement, which gets other visitors, as well (below).

Really old, original road markers (above) and fairly new ones (below) are still in evidence out old 89A.

There are even remains of older roads (above). The two-track is strictly local, but the heavy cut is part of old Rte. 79, the earlier Prescott-Jerome highway, built when, of the two towns, Jerome was by every measure the more important and larger. Below, the latest version of 89A is visible in the distance.

The old road passed closer to our local volcano (Glassford Hill). Is that a blowout on the side of the mountain; I'd never noticed it before. And it offered a terrific view of Granite Mountain as you headed into Prescott.
Way lonely, right? This is the picture from my neighbor that piqued my interest in revisiting the old highway.

Heading downhill toward the Dells, the railroad crossing is barely visible in the background. Below, the road curves as it approaches the bridge across Granite Creek in the Dells. But travelling this section is a no-no, blocked completely off. Too bad.

There are times I really hate change!

Prescott Scenes: Foolsewoode and Jarart both photographed El Dia de Los Muertes; Tombo has found another of those low-key critter graffiti works, this one a squirrel; PrescottStyle is all about the great zombie celebration; an out-of-town grandmother took pictures on Mt. Vernon Street Halloween night, and Catalyst collected costumery on WhiskeyRow the same night.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking us on a sentimental journey. This post belongs in the "Granny J's Greatest Hits" album.

azlaydey said...

For those of us that have traveled this road many times, it's sad to see. :(

Catalyst said...

I used to love that old road, too. Great photos. (And thanks for the shoutout.)

Anonymous said...

I so love your historical posts, GJ.

Keep 'em coming!

~Anon in AV.

Granny J said...

boonie -- aw, gee!

lady -- there's always something sad about an abandoned highway.

cat-A -- I think that stretch coming down from the hill toward the railroad is be greatest!

anon av -- they're hard to do! It helps if you have a neighbor who's a local archeologist...

Avus said...

I, too, love your historical posts because the same sort of thing appeals to me over here in the UK.
This one I particularly enjoyed and it brought to mind a poem of Rudyard Kipling's. You might like to see it at:
So apt!

Granny J said...

avus -- I enjoy doing the historicals, when I can get the material together. Sometimes I just don't have the energy to do the little bit of reseach required. You're fortunate to live in a country that's knee deep in history.

Meggie said...

Sad pics. I had just been noting the fact of how quickly asphalt reverts, as I noted the local used car yards, who have gone under, sprouting grasses & shrubs.

Granny J said...

meggie -- what you now need is a few kudzu seeds, so that the entire lots, cars and all, can be covered by a huge vine!

Kathleen said...

I used the drive that road a lot - and I miss it. The new one is just not the same *sigh* yeah, some changes just aren't so welcome by me either.

Granny J said...

frame -- I think the difference is that on the old road, you were one with the countryside; on the new highway, you are part of the road.

Kathleen said...

Yes, GJ - I think that is exactly right. It always made me think of the pioneers traveling through there for the first time. I miss that peaceful drive!

Anonymous said...

i want to walk the whole old road, i love old roads, especially with bridges, i agree w/ the other poster about being 'one with the land' on the old 89a...i wished it were kept for the public

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