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National Boards => General Highway Talk => Topic started by: NE2 on September 14, 2013, 04:29:27 AM

Title: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on September 14, 2013, 04:29:27 AM
Midwest part 1 (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=10423.msg252328#msg252328)
Midwest part 2 (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=10423.msg252597#msg252597)
Mountain States (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=10423.msg252652#msg252652)
West Coast (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=10423.msg252831#msg252831)
Southeast (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=10423.msg253033#msg253033)
Northeast (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=10423.msg254037#msg254037)

I'm going to cover mainly initial numbering, not how routes added later were designated.

The most common method is simply assigning numbers in order, picking long routes for small numbers and ending up with clustering of short routes. Sometimes there are rules for the various passes, such as a grid for the low numbers or a strict parity-direction match.

The impetus for many states to start numbering highways was the Federal Aid Road Act of 1916 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Aid_Road_Act_of_1916). The Federal Aid Highway Act of 1921 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federal_Aid_Highway_Act_of_1921) set up the federal aid system of 7% of each state's public road mileage, creating a connected system that formed the basis for the U.S. Highways (preliminary plan completed in October 1925, final plan November 1926). Many states renumbered some or all of their state highways as a result of the U.S. Highways.

Alaska numbered 1-9 by 1956 (http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~212317~5500351:Shell-Manitoba---Saskatchewan--Alas) (they also appear in a 1958 Fairbanks Daily News-Miner article - it appears that 5 was the Kenai Spur), when it was still a territory, but a large renumbering (complete by 1965, with 10 added) changed all numbers but 2, 6, and 8. 11 came later, as did 98 (numbered for the 1898 gold rush).

I've seen a few maps that show three-digit routes in the area south of Juneau and perhaps elsewhere. These may have been federal aid numbers.

Maps and logs:
http://www.alaskaroads.com/

Hawaii had routes posted by 1946, but they do not match current numbers (and strangely a 1956 map shows no numbers at all). The modern system was in place by 1965, in which the first digit represents the island, and three-digit numbers are generally spurs (e.g. 835 from 83).

Maps and logs:
http://www.hawaiihighways.com/
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: 1 on September 14, 2013, 10:00:14 AM
Massachusetts:

Some numbers 1-28 (especially the long ones) came first, along with 38.

Then came the numbers from 101 to 145.

The 2-digit numbers above 38 (and some below 38, like 4 and 14) came after that, which means they have a lot of turns (in my area, 62 and 97). Numbers above 200 also come in this category.

This seems to be the case in New Hampshire too, but I'm not sure.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: dlainhart on September 14, 2013, 12:37:33 PM
New York has a characteristially inconsistent cluster system in place, of the form nnx, starting with the 100s and 111s downstate, the 14xs 15xs, 17xs, 21xs and especially 22xs. This has always been mixed in with suffixed routes and other systems in place and every cluster seems like it has to have a member on the other end of the state, e.g. NY 172. This seems to have been strongest in the 1930s and 1940s. There's NY 417 and NY 415 too.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: Alps on September 15, 2013, 02:37:36 AM
Massachusetts:

Some numbers 1-28 (especially the long ones) came first, along with 38.

Then came the numbers from 101 to 145.

The 2-digit numbers above 38 (and some below 38, like 4 and 14) came after that, which means they have a lot of turns (in my area, 62 and 97). Numbers above 200 also come in this category.

This seems to be the case in New Hampshire too, but I'm not sure.
OK, so New England Routes take care of 1-28.
As for numbers above 200, those are usually related to the 100s. 213/113, 228/128, 203/3 all jump to mind. 225's an oddball - it was originally 25, but 25 was assigned to what's now I-495 (mostly)... but why use an existing number for the new freeway?
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on September 15, 2013, 03:12:12 AM
OK, so New England Routes take care of 1-28.
And 32. 38 was 3B, originally 6B.

101 to 142 were assigned in the NE route era. In 1926 or 1927 they instead used double digits for new routes. The 1927 Rand McNally (http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~33737~1171453:Rand-McNally-junior-auto-road-map-M) shows most of the 1xx routes and some two-digit routes.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: Zeffy on September 15, 2013, 11:04:10 AM
New Jersey was one of the first states to start using numbered routes, and they started around 1916, with 13 initial routes. In the next four years, they would add 3 more state highways to the existing route system.

Then, in 1927, a total renumbering occurred, changing it so the following routes corresponded to a certain part of New Jersey:
1-12: northern New Jersey
21-28: radiating from Newark
29-37: radiating from Trenton
38-47: radiating from Camden
48-50: southern New Jersey

Once again, in 1953, NJDOT decided to do another renumbering, but unlike the last one, this one sought to make sure:
-US Routes and State Routes didn't have the same number
-To remove suffixes from all numbered routes
-State routes that ended at a border would change their number to the adjacent state's number

With this new system, routes 57-93 also became available for use.

Also in New Jersey is the use of the extensive county route system throughout the state. The original county roads were 200, 201 and 203 (with 202 skipped over because of US 202). However, during WWII, in case the military ever needed to utilize state highways for any reason, the 500 series of county roads was established, which was affected in the 1953 renumbering, which changed a majority of these County Routes to the 600 series (which means that the road is local to that county over, and doesn't offer continuity from county to county).

 
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on September 15, 2013, 03:00:47 PM
I don't think the 1953 renumbering created the 6xx system.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: Alps on September 15, 2013, 06:38:25 PM
I don't think the 1953 renumbering created the 6xx system.
Yeah... the counties had their own numbering systems for many years before the state stepped in, mostly in the 1 and 2 digit realm. The 6xx (and other non-6xx) systems were adopted independently of the 5xx system and did not affect the 5xx routes. Now yes, over the years, 5xx routes have been dropped to 6xx, most notably - NE2, you'll have to step in as to whether this coincided with the 1988 decommissioning or not - but there was a mass downloading that took out around half of the Alts and Spurs and turned them into 6xx.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: froggie on September 16, 2013, 01:22:18 PM
Minnesota started its state highway system in 1920, with the Babcock Amendment to the state constitution.  The first 70 "routes" were written into the Constitutional amendment, and for the first 13 years, these were the posted route numbers.  These are the routes referred to as "Constitutional Routes" when that term gets mentioned here from time to time.  As a general rule, the lower Constitutional Route numbers went to the more important statewide corridors.

When the US routes were added in 1927, they were cosigned with the state routes where they ran concurrently.

The first step towards chaos was in 1933, when the state Legislature added a whole slew of routes to the system (the first of the "Legislative Routes").  At the same time, then-MHD (Minnesota Highway Department) undertook a massive renumbering of the state routes (including the newly-designated Legislative Routes) so that a given mix of Constitutional and Legislative Routes would have the same signed route number for continuity.  A few routes (MN 20, MN 42, MN 58) retained the same posted number as their underlying Constitutional Route.  A few of the new Legislative routes (i.e. MN 86, MN 96) were posted with the same number as their Legislative Route, as were a few of the Legislative routes that were connectors between adjoining Constitutional Routes (MN 97 and MN 99 as examples).  But by and large, this is where route numbering in Minnesota became arbitrary...good examples of this are MN 1 and MN 55, both of which are comprised of a mix of Legislative and Constitutional Routes with numbers completely different than the two signed routes.

Another large batch of new Legislative Routes was added in 1949.  But with this batch, the posted route number generally coincided with the underling Legislative Route number.  This covered most routes from the former MN 216 (now part of MN 37) to MN 287.  There is some loose geographic correlation with this batch of routes, in that new routes in relative proximity to each other were given route numbers close to each other (i.e. 220-227 in northwestern MN, 237 and 238 in Stearns County, then-240 and 241 in Wright County, etc etc).

The last two "big" batchs of new routes were in 1951 and 1959.  1951 added short connecting routes were added to several state facilities (MN 288-MN 303).  In 1959, various short routes and route connectors were added here and there (MN 308-MN 322).  Aside from a potential argument for MN 308, 310, and 313 all being in the same county (2 of the three being connectors to Canadian border crossings), there isn't really a pattern to the route numbers, though, and about half of them have since been turned back (MnDOT-speak for "decommissioned") to local authorities.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on October 10, 2013, 11:56:30 PM
I'll start with the Midwest.

Wisconsin was, as far as anyone knows, the first U.S. state with signed numbered routes. A system was legislated and laid out in 1917 and numbered in 1918, with signs installed in May. Numbering began at 10 since "the designation of any particular route as No. 1 would be bound to cause great dissatisfaction"; "It was soon decided that the longest continuous route should bear the lowest number, and that the low numbers in general would follow the longest routes in reverse order of length". http://www.wisconsinhighways.org/indepth/first_memo.html

In fact, after allowing for a reasonable margin of error, Wisconsin does seem to have numbered their original 69 routes exactly in reverse order of length.

Maps and logs:
1918 http://www.midwestroads.com/wisconsin/past/reports/reports.html (60 Boscobel-Gotham is typoed as 30)
1926 http://books.google.com/books?id=74ZBAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA213
http://www.wisconsinhighways.org/

Michigan apparently assigned numbers and posted signs in 1919 (or perhaps 1920), in accordance with state law (http://books.google.com/books?id=iTXiAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA35). This built on the original trunkline system legislated in 1913, with 10 routes plus branches (http://books.google.com/books?id=32H0ky3j9ZgC&pg=PA634); the state was authorized to and did take over additional trunklines not described by the legislature. As with Wisconsin, numbers began at 10, and the first routes appear to have been numbered in reverse order of length (except for 15 and 69, numbered to match Wisconsin). Since I lack definite information about the original numbers, I cannot be sure what the shortest original route was, but it may have been 71.

Maps and logs:
1919 http://books.google.com/books?id=UX7mAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA101 (no numbers)
1919 http://img.lib.msu.edu/exhibits/map/MIRoadMaps/1919-lp.htm http://img.lib.msu.edu/exhibits/map/MIRoadMaps/1919_up.htm (this seems to have been drawn after 1919, and has significantly more roads than the first map linked)
http://www.michiganhighways.org/

The Illinois legislature passed a law establishing a network of 46 state highways (http://books.google.com/books?id=Hhs4AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA700) in 1917, and in 1918 the voters approved a bond issue to fund it. By the end of 1919, signs were being posted (see January-February 1920 Public Roads (http://books.google.com/books?id=hfQ6AQAAMAAJ&pg=RA15-PA20), bottom of second column). However, Rand McNally's 1922 (?) auto trails map (http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~201670~3000647:Commercial-Atlas-of-America--Rand-M) shows only certain routes near Chicago being marked by the Chicago Motor Club, so perhaps this was short-lived.

39 (or 38?) to 46 were added by the Senate after the original bill was created, so do not fit any system. The other original routes do follow a rough numbering system with two passes, 1-16 (1-3 north-south, 4-7 radiating from Chicago, 8-10 east-west, 11-16 radiating from St. Louis) and 17-38 (more or less clustered from north to south).

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112 (1923 is the first to show numbers)
http://www.n9jig.com/
http://www.highwayexplorer.com/IllinoisHighwayList.php

Indiana created a State Highway Commission and laid out an initial system of five "main market highways" in 1917. 1 was north-south, 2-4 were east-west across the state from north to south, and 5 branched from 4. In accordance with state law, the SHC began work in 1919 on an expanded system to connect all county seats and cities with 5000+ population, taking over maintenance on April 1, 1920. State Roads 1-5 were kept intact (except that New Albany-Jeffersonville was removed from 1), and new numbers through 51 were assigned (47 was inexplicably skipped, but shows up in 1923). Plans were made to post signs, and this work was "practically completed" (http://books.google.com/books?id=DZ7VAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA46) by late 1921.

Numbering seems to have been somewhat haphazard. The even numbers from 10 to 42 are all at least partially south of 3 (US 40), and the odds from 7 to 37 are all at least partially north, with some rough clustering in each. This seems unlikely to be coincidental, but I don't know what it means.

The numbers had reached 55 by 1923, and effective October 1 about 1/4 of the system was renumbered to give more continuity to certain routes. Exactly three years later, effective October 1, 1926, the entire system was renumbered in a grid, in order to accommodate both planned new mileage and the U.S. Highways. Some numbers were skipped "to make provisions for future additions to the state system, without having to change numbers on roads now in the system". Numbers from 2 to 66 were used on east-west routes from north to south, and 1 to 65 on north-south routes from east to west; 67 was diagonal from Ohio to Vincennes. Three-digit spurs were not present in the original system, but appeared by 1929.

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
1920 http://books.google.com/books?id=DZ7VAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA22 (map on p. 37)
http://www.highwayexplorer.com/IndianaHighwayList.php

Ohio created a state highway department in 1911, and in December 1912 it laid out a network of numbered "inter-county highways". The legislature designated certain of these as "main market routes" (http://books.google.com/books?id=rEwZAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA156) in 1913. The inter-county highways (or at least some of the major ones) were signed in 1920, in what Popular Mechanics (May 1920) calls "an unusual manner" (http://books.google.com/books?id=moLVAAAAMAAJ&pg=PA755) (but was really no different from other states). The main market routes do not seem to have been marked.

The inter-county highways were numbered fairly systematically. 1-30 were all over the place with some weak clustering (perhaps these roads were special somehow, such as already being improved?), but 31- were numbered by county. Essentially, a county was chosen, and all remaining roads in that county not yet numbered received the next available numbers. First were the counties containing major cities: in order, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Columbus, Toledo, Dayton, Canton, Youngstown, Akron, St. Clairsville, Marion; which brought the number to 118. Then 119-186 were assigned to the remaining A and B counties in alphabetical order. But the guy laying out the numbers must have gotten bored with looking for the next county, as he then moved to clustering (the first bit was a mix of alphabetical and clustering, going Champaign-Clark-Crawford-Darke-Hancock-Hardin-Logan) with very few exceptions, most notably repetitions of Belmont County (295), Stark County (368-369), and Van Wert County (434-435). The last four numbers, 441 to 444, were assigned randomly, presumably to roads that were added late in planning.

In 1922 or 1923 almost the whole system was renumbered, although the shield shape remained the same. Except for the probably coincidental retention of 91, only 1, 2, 4, 7, 15, and 18 kept their old numbers at least partially. The first ten routes also had name plates above the shields:
1 National Road
2 Chicago-Buffalo Road
3 C.C.C. Highway
4 Scioto Trail
5 Lincoln Highway
6 Dixie Highway
7 Ohio River Road
8 Cleveland-Marietta Road
9 Wayne Highway?
10 Harding Highway
11 was also cross-state, but then clustering began: 12-18 near Cleveland, 19-22 near Columbus, 23 through Toledo, 24-28 near Cincinnati, and 29 to 42 or so as the rest of the first pass. The second pass went until 79 and the third to 161, then 162 and 163 were rather randomly placed, 164 to 224 formed a final pass, and 225 to 232 were other minor connections that had perhaps been forgotten. There was one meaningful exception: 104 was an alternate to 4 between Columbus and Portsmouth. 102 was similarly an alternate to 2 bypassing Toledo, but fit the clustering.

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://web.archive.org/web/20081218121105/http://pages.prodigy.net/john.simpson/highways/ohhwys.html

Minnesota
In 1919 the legislature proposed an amendment to the state constitution (http://www.revisor.mn.gov/statutes/?id=161.114), which was approved by the voters in November 1920. It created a system of 70 trunk highways, which were marked in 1921 (http://books.google.com/books?id=sCIxAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA93), at first on poles, in accordance with the Public Highways Act.

The numbers 1 to 12 were assigned to the major cross-state highways (11 and 12 were extensions of Wisconsin's same-numbered routes). Next came 13 to 35, clustered around the state, and then two more passes (36-49 and 50-70).

Later details in froggie's post (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=10423.msg247378#msg247378).

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.steve-riner.com/mnhighways/mnhome.htm

The Iowa State Highway Commission determined general plans for a system of "inter-county highways" in 1918, and finalized it (renamed the "primary road system"), including numbers, in 1919. The highways were marked in 1920 (http://books.google.com/books?id=Yb81AQAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA126), at first on poles. Although marking happened before Minnesota, certain numbers were assigned to match that state's highways (as well as those of Illinois and Wisconsin).

Almost half of the major cross-state routes were numbered to match adjacent states: 1-4-20-40-59 for Minnesota, 5-6-7-8 for Illinois, and 19-28 for Wisconsin. The others were roughly numbered in a grid: 2 for the remaining east-west route through Des Moines (1 was the main north-south route, and 7 also passed through going east-west), 3 for the southernmost east-west route, and 9-10 for the remaining east-west routes in the north; then 11 to 22 on the north-south routes from east to west. (12 was assigned to the westernmost north-south route, along the Missouri River, for an unknown reason.) 23 and 24 were shorter east-west routes spanning about half the state, and 25 was a still shorter north-south route connecting to 24.

Most higher numbers were assigned in two clustering passes: first 26 to 82 roughly north to south in bands from west to east, then 83 to 99 on the remaining routes. 75, 85, 95, 100, and 101 were out of place for unknown reasons.

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://iowahighways.home.mchsi.com/

In 1921, the Missouri legislature created the State Highway Commission and defined a network of state highways (http://books.google.com/books?id=OhNGAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA145). By late 1922 the SHC had approved a plan, including numbering, for these legislated highways and selected others. It appears that signs were posted by mid-1923.

Other than Route 2, which was the most direct route between Kansas City and St. Louis, numbering was by grid, but with four passes, with each one in turn assigning numbers to more minor routes. These were as follows: 1-9, 11-25, 27-55, 57-71 (the last one imperfect), 4-16, 18-44, 46-90, 92-98. Minor spurs received letter suffixes.

Maps and logs:
1922, 1923 http://www.cosmos-monitor.com/mo/hist/index.html
1926- http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.cosmos-monitor.com/mo/

The Arkansas legislature created a state highway system in 1923 in order to take advantage of federal aid, with the law referencing a December 1, 1922 map submitted by the State Highway Department. There were three classes of routes: primary federal aid, secondary federal aid, and connecting state, with alphanumeric designations beginning respectively with A, B, and C. A-1 to A-9 were assigned essentially in a logical pattern, with A-1 to A-3 through Little Rock, A-4 on the west side of the state, A-5 and A-6 spurring south and west from the Little Rock area, and A-7 to A-9 in the east part of the state. B-1 to B-43 were all clustered, as were C-1 to C-44, with C-45 and C-46 apparently tacked on after the fact. A large expansion occurred in July 1925; it is unknown if these were assigned numbers under the old system, as later that year the state decided to drop the prefixes and renumber its highways due to the creation of the U.S. Highway system (see Arkansas Highways, November 1925 (http://www.arkansashighways.com/historic_bridge/Early%20Arkansas%20Highway%20Magazines/1924-32%20Volumes%201-9%20pdfs/Volume%202%20-%201925/Vol.%202,%20November%201925,%20No.%2011.pdf), p. 9).

It's unclear if the old system was ever signed. The November 1925 article implies that it wasn't, but the 1926 Rand McNally (http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/SouthCentral/Arkansas/unitedstates1926ra_055.html) shows an example of an A-2 shield. Signs for the new system were installed in mid-1926 (see Arkansas Highways, June 1926 (http://www.arkansashighways.com/historic_bridge/Early%20Arkansas%20Highway%20Magazines/1924-32%20Volumes%201-9%20pdfs/Volume%203%20-%201926/Vol.%203,%20June%201926,%20No.6.pdf), p. 6 and October 1926 (http://www.arkansashighways.com/historic_bridge/Early%20Arkansas%20Highway%20Magazines/1924-32%20Volumes%201-9%20pdfs/Volume%203%20-%201926/Vol.%203,%20October%201929,%20No.10.pdf), p. 5).

Several routes kept their numbers in part (B-1, B-2, A-6, B-11, C-14, B-16, C-17, C-18), and 5 and 25 were numbered to match Missouri. It's likely that before US 167 was added to the U.S. Highway plans sometime in 1926, part of A-5 was to remain 5, and perhaps B-9 would have been 9. Except for 25, numbers below 92 followed a direction-parity match, where odd numbers ran north-south and even numbers ran east-west. There is a rough grid in the low numbers, with 1-7 increasing from east to west, and a second pass on 13-23, as well as 2-12 increasing from south to north, but after that it just seems to be some weak clustering. The highest number in 1926 was 115, which is more major than its number would indicate, lending credence to the theory about it having been 5 or 9 during planning.

Maps and logs:
1922 http://www.arkansashighways.com/historic_bridge/Historic_Documents/History%20Book%202004.pdf (p. 37)
1925 holy crap long url (http://www.arkansashighways.com/historic_bridge/Early%20Arkansas%20Highway%20Magazines/1924-32%20Volumes%201-9%20pdfs/Volume%202%20-%201925/Vol.%202,%20September%201925,%20No.%209.pdf)
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112 (note that the first map marked 1924 is actually a poor copy of the 1922 map)
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: SD Mapman on October 11, 2013, 12:23:47 AM
South Dakota:

Similar grid to the US system for 2 digits started in the 1920s. When the US system was designated, it overrode the previous state highway that just happened to be in the way (US 281 over SD 41, for instance). 3 digits started to show up in the '70s and are assigned based on a statewide street grid, e.g. 100th Avenue at the Wyoming/Montana border, increasing west-to-east, and 100th Street at the ND border increasing north-to-south. The east-west 3 digit numbering goes to the nearest even street, adding 100 if necessary. The north-south 3 digit numbering goes to the inverse of the nearest odd street (101 at the Minnesota border and so on), adding 100 if necessary. 1804 and 1806 are from 1976. They follow the Missouri River.

I waxed a bit expansive there, but this is the first place I've been able to tell people this without them giving me weird looks.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: PHLBOS on October 11, 2013, 08:53:32 AM
225's an oddball - it was originally 25, but 25 was assigned to what's now I-495 (mostly)... but why use an existing number for the new freeway?
Guess on my part, but MassDPW's reasoning at the time may very well have been "Why not?".  It was originally planned as Relocated Route 28

Also, keep in mind that the I-495 extension between I-95 & MA 24 was originally planned as an extension of MA 25 and wasn't originally part of the Interstate system... yet.  That segment, along with MA 25 being designated as an extension of I-495 came about after the FHWA deleted I-695/Inner Belt and I-95 inside 128 from its overall network in the mid-1970s.

More info. on the above can be found here:

http://www.bostonroads.com/roads/I-495_MA/ (http://www.bostonroads.com/roads/I-495_MA/)

You may recall that both MassDPW & NHDOT did similar when they renamed SR 86 as SR 286 to accomodate I-84/MA 15 being redesignated as I-86 in Sturbridge.  As we all know, the I-86 designation ultimately turned out to be short-lived.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on October 11, 2013, 10:20:29 AM
You may recall that both MassDPW & NHDOT did similar when they renamed SR 86 as SR 286 to accomodate I-84/MA 15 being redesignated as I-86 in Sturbridge.  As we all know, the I-86 designation ultimately turned out to be short-lived.
Similar how? They didn't choose the number 86; that (or 88) was mandated by the Interstate grid.

24, 25, and 49 were all chosen by Massachusetts as numbers for new limited-access highways, requiring existing highways with those numbers to be renumbered.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: bzakharin on October 11, 2013, 11:58:31 AM
New Jersey was one of the first states to start using numbered routes, and they started around 1916, with 13 initial routes. In the next four years, they would add 3 more state highways to the existing route system.

Then, in 1927, a total renumbering occurred, changing it so the following routes corresponded to a certain part of New Jersey:
1-12: northern New Jersey
21-28: radiating from Newark
29-37: radiating from Trenton
38-47: radiating from Camden
48-50: southern New Jersey

Once again, in 1953, NJDOT decided to do another renumbering, but unlike the last one, this one sought to make sure:
-US Routes and State Routes didn't have the same number
-To remove suffixes from all numbered routes
-State routes that ended at a border would change their number to the adjacent state's number

With this new system, routes 57-93 also became available for use.

Also in New Jersey is the use of the extensive county route system throughout the state. The original county roads were 200, 201 and 203 (with 202 skipped over because of US 202). However, during WWII, in case the military ever needed to utilize state highways for any reason, the 500 series of county roads was established, which was affected in the 1953 renumbering, which changed a majority of these County Routes to the 600 series (which means that the road is local to that county over, and doesn't offer continuity from county to county).

So what is the oldest numbered route that still has the same number today? (I'm interested in  New Jersey, but I suppose it would be interesting to hear about other states) I assume a lot of the 1927 routes are still around, or at least the pattern is still followed. I can only think of two that break that pattern. 26 does not go anywhere near Newark (and, according to Wikipedia, went to Trenton before 1953). 32 never went anywhere near Trenton. But what about any pre-1927 numbers?
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: PHLBOS on October 11, 2013, 12:09:45 PM
You may recall that both MassDPW & NHDOT did similar when they renamed SR 86 as SR 286 to accomodate I-84/MA 15 being redesignated as I-86 in Sturbridge.  As we all know, the I-86 designation ultimately turned out to be short-lived.
Similar how? They didn't choose the number 86; that (or 88) was mandated by the Interstate grid.
Similar in that the route number was transferred from the old road onto a new highway in a completely different location; that's how.

Yes, in the case of Route 86 in Salisbury/Seabrook, the change was due to a federal mandate (as opposed to a state decision) but the end result was still the same.

24, 25, and 49 were all chosen by Massachusetts as numbers for new limited-access highways, requiring existing highways with those numbers to be renumbered.
And that was MassDPW's choice to make.  Why they did such is anybody's guess.  Maybe they just wanted the majority of their expressways to have lower numbers.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on October 11, 2013, 12:27:46 PM
So what is the oldest numbered route that still has the same number today? (I'm interested in  New Jersey, but I suppose it would be interesting to hear about other states) I assume a lot of the 1927 routes are still around, or at least the pattern is still followed. I can only think of two that break that pattern. 26 does not go anywhere near Newark (and, according to Wikipedia, went to Trenton before 1953). 32 never went anywhere near Trenton. But what about any pre-1927 numbers?
26 sort of spurred off 25, and 32 spurred off 31 (which spurred off 27).

None of the pre-1927 numbers are still in use, unless you count 17, which was changed back from 2 because New York had numbered their side to match.

As far as I know, the oldest numbers in the U.S. to survive to the present day are in New Mexico (1912), including NM 24 and NM 28.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: DTComposer on October 11, 2013, 02:15:25 PM
California had some patterns when they started signing routes in 1934:

-Odd routes were north-south, even routes were east-west.

-Numbers were assigned alternating between Northern and Southern California.

So for example, in Los Angeles, you had 3, 7, 11, 15, 19 as generally north-south routes and 2, 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, 26 as generally east-west routes.

In the Bay Area you had 1, 5, 9, 13 (soon to be 17) and 21 as generally north-south routes, not really any east-west routes since the Bay was in the way, but 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28 (out of order), 32, 36, (40 skipped due to U.S. 40) and 44 were east-west routes across the northern part of the state.

-There seems to be some semblance of order in other groups of roads, again based on multiples of 4:

Going somewhat from west to east: 25, 33, 41, 49, (no 57), 65 as north-south routes in the central part of the state;

Going somewhat from north to south: 104, 108, 120, 132, 140, 152, 180, 198 as east-west routes in the central part of the state;

Then from there, descending numbers as we continue to the south: 198, 190, 178, 166, 150, 138, 126, 118.

There are some outlying pairs that match the concept but are outside of those "grids": 23 and 27, 35 and 39.

The 70s seemed to just be assigned to San Diego/Inland Empire.

Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: TheStranger on October 11, 2013, 04:58:21 PM
To continue on with California...

...in the 1964 renumbering/reorganization, new clusters were formed, often geographically.  i.e. 82, 84, 85, 87 all were assigned to the (southern) Bay Area; 52, 54, 56 were assigned to metro San Diego.

236/237/238 are all former alignments of Route 9.  234/235 are unbuilt bypasses in Stockton. 

California has always had an aversion of using numbers larger than about 200, save for the early 740 and 440 routes that were extensions of 74 and 44 extensively.  State routes numbered higher than 260 or so are almost always 1. renumbered sections of a parent highway (330, 371) or 2. Interstates/interstate extensions.

Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: agentsteel53 on October 11, 2013, 05:11:46 PM
California has always had an aversion of using numbers larger than about 200, save for the early 740 and 440 routes that were extensions of 74 and 44 extensively.  State routes numbered higher than 260 or so are almost always 1. renumbered sections of a parent highway (330, 371) or 2. Interstates/interstate extensions.

to add to this:

state route numbers only went up to 198 in the 1934 numbering.  440 and 740 were added later (1935?), and they were the only numbers larger than 199 - three full-width digits.  I would really like to see what this shield looked like, as the standard 1-198 font looks awfully cramped.

after 1964, numbers 200 and above were added consecutively to the system - I believe they are up to 285, or maybe 286, by now.

then, anything higher than 286 will be one of the following you described: a 3xx renumbering of an old alignment, or related to an interstate: either a continuation, kinda sorta (710), or a future interstate (905).
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: The High Plains Traveler on October 11, 2013, 07:47:47 PM


to add to this:

state route numbers only went up to 198 in the 1934 numbering.  440 and 740 were added later (1935?), and they were the only numbers larger than 199 - three full-width digits.  I would really like to see what this shield looked like, as the standard 1-198 font looks awfully cramped.
I thought 440 and 740 only existed 1934-35 and were changed to 44 and 74 in 1935 or -36. 440 became 44 after U.S. 299 was created along original CA-44.

To add a discussion of another state:

New Mexico - Routes had officially assigned numbers in the 1910s, and I think from my research NM-1 was designated in 1909, which would have made it a Territorial route.  This was a bottom-up numbering system, with the lowest numbered highways being the most major. Thus Route 1 largely followed the original El Camino Real up the Rio Grande Valley and eventually east from Santa Fe up the east side of the Rockies to Colorado. For the most part it became U.S. 85. Route 2 was what became U.S. 285 south of Santa Fe.  There was no official route marker, and I haven't seen any evidence that they were marked in the field at all. These original route numbers went as high as about 115.

About 1927, the numbering system was modified to avoid duplication with the new U.S. highway system and to eliminate concurrent numbering with the new U.S. routes. An official route marker was introduced, using the Zia as it still does today. Some of the original numbers survived (and survive to this day) and some were changed. This system expanded as the number of state highways grew, with numbers exceeding 200 in the mid-1940s and 300 by the late 1940s. By 1988 there were highways in the 500s.

In 1988, there was a major renumbering to eliminate state route concurrencies. The old system had evolved some unwieldy routings of some highways, although in my opinion the total elimination of concurrencies broke up routes that provided good navigation with minimal overlaps with other routes. Another change was establishment of a numbering system where newly designated routes used the NM State Highway and Transportation Dept. (now NMDOT) district number as their first digit. Existing routes that were not changed kept their old designations. That is why there are routes in the 600s in western New Mexico.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: msubulldog on October 11, 2013, 07:54:10 PM
Some observations regarding highways in my current state--Mississippi:
For 3-digit state highways 1xx refers to former stretches of US highways (MS 182 for example would be a former alignment of US 82), 2xx is rare (MS 245 is a former stretch of US 45 Alternate between West Point and Tupelo), 3xx highways are found in the northern part of the state--with 4xx in the north central counties, 5xx in south central counties, and 6xx in the southern part of the state. A recent trend is 7xx being designated for short roads under state maintenance in smaller cities--and even larger ones like Greenwood.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on October 11, 2013, 07:57:26 PM
As far as I know, the oldest numbers in the U.S. to survive to the present day are in New Mexico (1912), including NM 24 and NM 28.
Turns out Ohio also dates to 1912 (signed 1920), though most routes were renumbered in 1922-23. SR 4 from Bucyrus to Sandusky and much of SR 7 still have their original numbers.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on October 12, 2013, 03:15:40 AM
Midwest part 2 (I've also updated part 1):

The Oklahoma legislature authorized the State Highway Commission to create a state highway system in early 1924, and in August 1924 a preliminary plan of highways 1-26 (skipping 25) was approved. The first markers were painted later that year (1919-1924 report p. 11 (http://digitalprairie.ok.gov/cdm/compoundobject/collection/okresources/id/14284/rec/4)).

Many numbers were assigned exactly to auto trails, such as 1 (Albert Pike Highway) and 3 (Postal Highway). 1-14 seem to have been more major cross-state highways, numbered by direction (even north-south, odd east-west, as were most of the higher numbers). 2 and 6 also, perhaps coincidentally, matched Texas. 13-26 were somewhat weakly clustered.

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112 (the "1921" map is actually from 1924, and has more routes than the 1924 map)

South Dakota had numbered and signed its state highways by 1926 in a perfect grid. Numbers ran from 11 in the east to 85 in the west and 12 in the north to 52 in the south.

Later details in SD Mapman's post (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=10423.msg252338#msg252338).

Maps and logs:
1925-26 http://www.historicalroadmaps.com/SouthDakodaPage/1926ClasonsSouthDakodaPage/image1.html
1926 http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/NorthCentral/South%20Dakota/
1927 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~33755~1171471:Rand-McNally-junior-auto-road-map-S
http://www.northernplainshighways.org/sdakota/

North Dakota also numbered and signed its highways by 1926. 8 and 16 were continued from Minnesota and South Dakota, respectively, while 1 was on the Meridian Highway on the east edge of the state. Otherwise, odd numbers up to 25 ran east-west and even numbers up to 28 ran north-south. 3-9 and 2-6 were major cross-state routes, then 11-19 and 10-20 were in eastern North Dakota and 21-25 and 22-28 were in western North Dakota. Larger numbers seem to have no pattern, and may have been assigned after the initial numbering.

Maps and logs:
1926 http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/NorthCentral/NorthDakota/
1927 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~33754~1171470:Rand-McNally-junior-auto-road-map-N
http://www.northernplainshighways.org/ndakota/

The Nebraska legislature created a state highway system (http://books.google.com/books?id=OkwyAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA803) in 1919, defined in terms of short routes connecting adjacent counties. Although these numbers appear on early maps, they were probably never signed. By 1926, a system of signed routes had been assigned, including most or all of the legislative routes and some other roads. 1-19 were given to major routes, but there is no clear pattern other than some weak clustering. 20-38 were also somewhat rough clustered on more minor routes. Spurs received letter suffixes.

Maps and logs:
1922? http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~201708~3000668:Commercial-Atlas-of-America--Rand-M http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~201691~3000658:Commercial-Atlas-of-America--Rand-M
1925-26 http://www.historicalroadmaps.com/NebraskaPage/1926ClasonsNebraskaPage/image1.html
1926 http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/NorthCentral/Nebraska/
1927 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~33757~1171473:Rand-McNally-junior-auto-road-map-N
http://www.northernplainshighways.org/nebraska/
http://www.nebraskaroads.com/

Kansas was the last Midwestern state to number its highways, waiting until during U.S. Highway planning. Therefore the routes in the original 1925 U.S. Highway plan never received state numbers. The system, numbered and marked by 1926, borrowed many numbers from all four adjacent states, while remaining numbers through 26 filled in the grid of major highways. Except for 43 and 48, which don't fit the pattern, 27 to 49 were clustered from north to south on minor routes. Finally came numbers beginning with 52, which don't seem to follow any pattern.

More details in a separate thread (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=10440).

Maps and logs:
1925-26 http://www.historicalroadmaps.com/KansasPage/1926ClasonsKansasPage/image1.html
1926 http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/NorthCentral/Kansas/
1927 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~33758~1171474:Rand-McNally-junior-auto-road-map-K
http://www.route56.com/highways/
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: dgolub on October 12, 2013, 08:45:28 AM
New York has a characteristially inconsistent cluster system in place, of the form nnx, starting with the 100s and 111s downstate, the 14xs 15xs, 17xs, 21xs and especially 22xs. This has always been mixed in with suffixed routes and other systems in place and every cluster seems like it has to have a member on the other end of the state, e.g. NY 172. This seems to have been strongest in the 1930s and 1940s. There's NY 417 and NY 415 too.

This is for historical reasons, since there were a number of routes that fit the pattern and then got decommissioned and then had their numbers reused in other parts of the state.  NY 103, NY 104, NY 113, and NY 115 all used to be on Long Island, which gave it everything from 101-115.  Mamaroneck Avenue in Westchester used to be NY 126 and then it got decommissioned and turned into CR 8/CR 8A/CR 8B/CR 8C/CR 8D, plus some unnumbered parts at the ends.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on October 12, 2013, 02:36:40 PM
Mountain States:

In accordance with a 1909 law, the new Colorado State Highway Commission adopted a very basic system of 20 numbered state primary roads in 1910. There was no real pattern other than a weak clustering, and some important roads such as Pueblo to Walsenburg were inexplicably missing (but added by 1912). By 1914, secondary roads 1s to 10s had been added. These numbers, never signed, were used until 1923, by which time numbers had reached 107 and 33s.

A major renumbering was made in May 1923 in preparation for posting signs. A strict direction-parity match was instituted, with odd numbers north-south and even numbers east-west. Numbers 1-49 were "reserved for Federal Aid Projects", and all numbers initially assigned in that range were in part on the original 7% federal aid system (http://books.google.com/books?id=x60yAQAAMAAJ&pg=PA16-IA8). 1 was the main north-south route, then 3-13 and 15-19 were assigned from east to west in two bands. 2-12 were numbered from north to south (except that 8 was north of 6), with 14 and 16 in the northern part of the state. (Because of this renumbering of all highways 1-49, even though the current system dates back to 1910, the oldest current number is 58 from 1913-14, and even that didn't originally go east from Golden; for the oldest alignment with the same number you have to go to SH 65 from 1915-16.)

Some numbers greater than 49 were kept from the initial numbering: 55, 58, 65, 69, 72, 73, 75 (?), 85, 87, 88, 91, 93 (?), 95, 97, 98, 99, 100, 101, 102, 103, 104, and 107. Most other odd numbers were assigned in a rough grid from 51 to 151, and even numbers were roughly clustered from 52 to 118, but some inexplicably fit neither pattern: 50, 62, 67, 76, 77 (this one lines up with old 77, and may be evidence of changes during planning), 80, 84, 89, 109, 113, 117, 137, and 143. For whatever reason, almost half of the violations are in the Colorado Springs-Pueblo area. It's interesting to note that a sample sign from March 1923 (http://books.google.com/books?id=czs5AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA27) does not match the final numbering, being located on SH 1 (could 50 have been planned as 88?). 120-122 and 153-169 were apparently added after the numbers were first laid out. 124-126 were definitely added to the state highway system later in 1923 (http://books.google.com/books?id=czs5AQAAMAAJ&pg=RA9-PA13&dq=%22The+two+roads+declared+state+highways+follow%22).

Maps and logs:
1910 http://archive.org/stream/biennialrep1016stat#page/n23/mode/2up
1912 http://archive.org/stream/biennialrep1016stat#page/n89/mode/2up
1914 http://archive.org/stream/biennialrep1016stat#page/n299/mode/2up
1916 http://archive.org/stream/biennialrep1016stat#page/n435/mode/2up (map at the end)
1923 http://books.google.com/books?id=czs5AQAAMAAJ&pg=RA10-PA12
1923 http://www.coloradodot.info/programs/environmental/archaeology-and-history/highways-to-the-sky/highwaystothesky.pdf (p. 267; missing 145-169)
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.mesalek.com/colo/

New Mexico laid out a system of state highways in 1912, the year it became a state. (Per http://dot.state.nm.us/content/dam/nmdot/Infrastructure/EDS/2004-1.pdf there does not seem to have been a numbered system of territorial roads.) Numbers 1 to 3 were assigned to the most major cross-state routes, then 4 to 23 (or 24) were roughly clustered around the state on secondary routes, and the rest of the roads got numbers through 45. As routes were added, it was common for numbers to remain on old alignments, while new alignments receiving federal aid got higher numbers. For example, 106 was a realignment of 45 from Lordsburg northwest to Arizona. Numbers had reached at least 121 by 1926, but none were marked.

The U.S. Highways resulted in a major renumbering, completed by 1927 and including signs. Three-digit routes were renumbered, with the highest number becoming 96.

Later details in High Plains Traveler's post (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=10423.msg252529#msg252529).

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112 (note that the "1900" map is actually from the mid-1910s)
http://www.steve-riner.com/nmhighways/NMHome.htm

The Nevada legislature created a Highway Commission and a bare-bones system of routes 1-4 in 1917 (Victory Highway, Lincoln Highway, Bonanza Highway, and Midland Trail, respectively), adding 5-6 in 1919, 7-9 in 1921, and so on until ending up with at least 93 routes plus lettered spurs. The first numbered routes to be marked in Nevada were apparently the U.S. Highways, with signs installed in 1927-28. It's not clear when the state routes were finally marked.

Almost the entire system was renumbered in 1976 (28 and 88 remained to match California). Redundant numbers given to U.S. Highways and Interstates were eliminated, and numbers were dropped from sections of state routes that were not state maintained (such as SR 2, the old Lincoln Highway east of US 93). Instead, as best as I can tell, routes were numbered in clusters according to their (proposed?) funding status: federal aid secondary from 100 to 499, federal aid urban from 500 to 699, and state aid from 700 to 899. This included many short highways that had not previously been signed as state routes.

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.aaroads.com/west/nevada.html

Wyoming numbered and signed (http://books.google.com/books?id=nZXVAAAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA111) its 7% federal aid highways in 1922, afterwards adding the occasional route (including some non-federal aid roads, such as 91 to Meeteetse). Numbers 10-13 and 15 were assigned to main cross-state routes, with branched receiving other first digits (e.g. 30 from 10 at Cheyenne to Newcastle). The rationale for 26, 28, and 36 is unknown; 36 branched from 26, but there was no 16, and 28 connected 80 and 81.

In about 1927, due to the U.S. Highways, most numbers were dropped. Those that remained usually either kept their numbers (40, 65, 70) or were renumbered as potential extensions of or new U.S. Highways (26, 89, 216, 287, 420). Only 22 west of Jackson (formerly 25) was renumbered in a different manner. Most subsequent numbering was as branches off U.S. Highways, until the 1960s (?) when a whole bunch of secondary numbers were added, with batches of 20 corresponding to each county in alphabetical order (e.g. 10-29 in Albany County, 30-49 in Big Horn County, and on to 450-479 in Weston County).

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
1926 http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/NorthernRockies/Wyoming/
1927 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~33767~1171483:Rand-McNally-junior-auto-road-map-W
http://www.aaroads.com/west/wyoming.html

Utah seems to have started taking over state roads in 1910, but the system was shrunken in 1919 to comprise only a short list of routes identified by letter (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_U.S._Roads/Utah/Early_state_roads#Pre-1927_laws) and "all federal aid projects which have been approved, or which may hereafter be approved, by the State Road Commission". It appears that the major state roads were numbered by 1923 (the NPS has a partial 1923 map online (http://www.nps.gov/history/history/online_books/pisp/adhi/adhi2a.htm), but it's currently down - thanks, baggers!) with rather tight clustering: 1 was the major north-south route, and then 2-16 were assigned essentially from north to south. 17, from Brigham City north to Idaho via Tremonton, was likely assigned after the initial numbering. The 1926 Rand McNally (http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/NorthernRockies/Utah/unitedstates1926ra_064.html) shows that highways were marked by name (where one existed?) and number, perhaps by a private organization. In 1927 the legislature adopted these numbers almost wholesale (17 became 41) and gave all other state roads their own numbers through 49 (initially skipping U.S. Highway numbers, but later assigning them to new routes).

Maps and logs:
1926 http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/NorthernRockies/Utah/

Arizona appears to have numbered and marked its state highways in 1926, during planning for the U.S. Highways. (The 1926 Rand McNally shows a shield design (http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/Southwest/NewMexico/unitedstates1926ra_061.html) but no state routes (http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/Southwest/Arizona/unitedstates1926ra_060.html).) Only seven routes (66, 76, 81, 82, 83, 87, 89) appear on the 1926 official map (though 73 is drawn as unimproved but unshielded). On the 1927 map, 66 and 89 had become 88 and 79 due to changes in the U.S. Highway numbering, 76 had been renumbered 71 for unknown reasons, and 74, 84, and 187 were added; these numbers all remained through 1930. It is possible (but IMO unlikely) that these were the remnants of an earlier numbering plan that did include the U.S. Highways.

I don't know why 66 was assigned to the Apache Trail in 1926. It may have been a typo for 88, but the 1930-32 maps show 66 as the example state route marker (probably meaning they had one lying around in storage and drew it). 89 was a possible extension of US 89 until that route was extended to replace US 280 and US 380. Otherwise, the numbers are somewhat clustered and numbered in horizontal bands: 81-87 (and 88) all touching US 80 in the south, and 71-74 (and 79) lying between US 66-260 and US 80-180 (with 71 and 73 eventually touching US 70). 187 was the first of what would become a large number of three-digit spurs. When 64 was numbered in 1931, it too fit the pattern, lying north of US 66; 61 and 63 (added by 1934) showed the 60-70 split to be along US 260 east of Holbrook. The system began to fall apart by 1938, but many indications of this clustering remain.

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.arizonaroads.com/

Idaho started out in 1913 (?) by naming its highways; maps from the 1920s show numbers matching the names. According to one map from 1925 (http://cartweb.geography.ua.edu/lizardtech/iserv/calcrgn?cat=North%20America%20and%20United%20States&item=States/Idaho/Idaho1925a.sid&wid=500&hei=400&props=item%28Name,Description%29,cat%28Name,Description%29&style=simple/view-dhtml.xsl), "a color for each highway, together with number as indicated in table are being painted on poles and posts along each route". Numbers 1 to 31 were assigned to the highways in alphabetical order, as they existed at the time. (Several were renamed afterwards, but kept their numbers: North Side Highway was ?, Old Oregon Trail was Idaho-Pacific Highway, and Coeur d'Alene-Yellowstone Trail was North Pacific Highway.) New highways were given higher numbers, at least through 44, as they were added to the state highway system.

In addition, Charles Sampson of Boise privately marked a system of lettered routes known as "Sampson Trails" beginning in 1921. In about 1929, the state numbered and signed a new system of state highways (skipping U.S. Highways and numbers used by them), and the Sampson Trails were ruled illegal (as vandalism) by the state attorney general (http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=0RkyAAAAIBAJ&sjid=w7UDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6806%2C3595400) in 1933. The new numbers were clustered well, beginning with 1 in the north and ending with 39 in the southeast. Larger numbers were apparently added in order.

Maps and logs:
1922? http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~201784~3000707:Commercial-Atlas-of-America--Rand-M (east Idaho map doesn't show the state highways)
1927 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~33769~1171485:Rand-McNally-junior-auto-road-map-I (shows both former networks)
1937 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~23818~920003:Texaco-road-map-Idaho,-Montana,-Wyo
http://www.us-highways.com/idaho/

The only numbered system Montana had in the 1920s that I've been able to find information about is the federal aid numbers. Other than that, a 1925-26 map (http://www.historicalroadmaps.com/SouthDakodaPage/1926ClasonsSouthDakodaPage/image1.html) of South Dakota shows 10 and 11 in Montana, which are probably the "unposted route numbers" referred to on http://www.us-highways.com/montana/mthwys.htm, but the Montana page of the same atlas has no such routes. Otherwise numbers were not assigned until about 1933; U.S. Highways and their numbers were skipped (but 2 has since been assigned). 3, 4, and 9 were numbered to match Idaho, 5 and 23 to match North Dakota, and 22 to match either Wyoming or South Dakota. 187 and 191 (the latter quickly renumbered 1, which had been skipped, when US 191 was sent up 187) were possible extensions of the U.S. Highways with the same number, and 110 was a southerly loop off US 10. Otherwise most routes had a direction-parity correspondence (the only one that definitely violated this was 16, which may have conceivably matched a version of ND 16) and some weak clustering. With the even numbers, 6 and 8 were assigned to major routes, and then there were two bands of clustering from 14 to 28 and 30 to 38. After 7-13, odd numbers increased in runs from west to east with 15 to 25 (was 17 the original number for 187?), east to west with 27 to 37 (31 and 33 are backwards), and then 39 to 47 all come off US 10 but not in any order.

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
1937 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~23818~920003:Texaco-road-map-Idaho,-Montana,-Wyo
http://www.us-highways.com/montana/mthwys.htm
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: roadfro on October 13, 2013, 02:41:40 AM
The Nevada legislature created a Highway Commission and a bare-bones system of routes 1-4 in 1917 (Victory Highway, Lincoln Highway, Bonanza Highway, and Midland Trail, respectively), adding 5-6 in 1919, 7-9 in 1921, and so on until ending up with at least 93 routes plus lettered spurs. The first numbered routes to be marked in Nevada were apparently the U.S. Highways, with signs installed in 1927-28. It's not clear when the state routes were finally marked.

Almost the entire system was renumbered in 1976 (28 and 88 remained to match California). Redundant numbers given to U.S. Highways and Interstates were eliminated, and numbers were dropped from sections of state routes that were not state maintained (such as SR 2, the old Lincoln Highway east of US 93). Instead, as best as I can tell, routes were numbered in clusters according to their (proposed?) funding status: federal aid secondary from 100 to 499, federal aid urban from 500 to 699, and state aid from 700 to 899. This included many short highways that had not previously been signed as state routes.

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.aaroads.com/west/nevada.html

I'm curious: How do you know the state highways weren't signed until after the U.S. Routes were established?

In the 1976 renumbering, SR 140 was retained to match Oregon--it had been part of SR 8A previously and renumbered to 140 shortly prior to the statewide renumbering, and was the only number higher than 93 in the original numbering. Another fact is that the state highway numbers and descriptions were given in state laws, but that was removed with the renumbering process.

Post-1976 numbers were indeed based on funding classification. This had the interesting dynamic of giving some roads more than one number for maintenance purposes (not sure how/if these were signed).
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on October 13, 2013, 06:16:16 PM
I'm curious: How do you know the state highways weren't signed until after the U.S. Routes were established?
The 1926 and 1927 Rand McNally don't show a shield design, and http://books.google.com/books?id=7Wg4AQAAMAAJ&pg=RA3-PA49 (1927-28) strongly implies (by omission) that state routes were not yet marked. Photos of U.S. shields show no co-signing with state routes: http://books.google.com/books?id=7Wg4AQAAMAAJ&pg=RA4-PA10 and I thought I saw another one but I can't find it.

In the 1976 renumbering, SR 140 was retained to match Oregon--it had been part of SR 8A previously and renumbered to 140 shortly prior to the statewide renumbering, and was the only number higher than 93 in the original numbering. Another fact is that the state highway numbers and descriptions were given in state laws, but that was removed with the renumbering process.
The 1978-79 map shows that 140 was going to be renumbered 291, so the decision to keep the number was made rather late in the process.

Post-1976 numbers were indeed based on funding classification. This had the interesting dynamic of giving some roads more than one number for maintenance purposes (not sure how/if these were signed).
It seems that the FAS/FAU numbers were changed in 1976 to match the new state numbers; pre-1976 county maps show different numbers that don't match.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on October 13, 2013, 07:07:12 PM
West Coast:

California's first state highways were "special appropriation roads" designated individually by the legislature (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_U.S._Roads/California/History/Legislative_act_roads), mostly in the mountains where the counties were unwilling to do the work. In 1909 the legislature instructed the Department of Engineering to lay out a system of state highways that would provide two north-south trunks and connect all county seats (Markleeville was omitted from the system because it was already on several special appropriation roads). The voters approved a bond issue to pay for the system in 1910. In 1915 the legislature proposed a second bond issue to complete the highways of the first and construct a list of additional highways (http://books.google.com/books?id=jum3AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA26); the voters approved it in 1916.

In the next few years, probably by 1917, the California Highway Commission numbered the bond issue and special appropriation roads. 1-4 were the major north-south trunks, 5-8 connected the trunks in the bay area, but 9-34 seem to have been numbered almost randomly. Special appropriation roads, where not forming parts of bond issue routes, were given numbers 35-42 (essentially in order from north to south), with 43-45 assigned in order to new roads legislated through 1919. A third bond issue, legislated and approved by the voters in 1919, added more state highways (http://books.google.com/books?id=brtHAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA1520), which (where not extending existing routes) were numbered 46-64 in order from north to south (except that 63 and 64 were in the east part of the state). 65-80 were assigned to routes added by laws through 1931, and a 1933 law added 213 routes, which (where not numbered as extensions of existing routes) became 81-202. Finally in 1935 the legislature began to use these numbers and assign numbers to new routes (which reached 296 in 1963, the last year of the old numbering).

None of these legislative numbers were signed for navigational purposes (though they did appear on maintenance related-signs and postmiles (http://www.aaroads.com/shields/show.php?image=CA19220641)). A system of sign routes was created in 1934 to supplement the U.S. Highways; most sign routes were state highways (exceptions included SR 1 along the "Lost Coast" and SR 33 between Coalinga and Mendota), but far from all state highways were sign routes. Numbers 1-199 (many skipped) were assigned in a complicated grid with directional parity (even numbers east-west, odd numbers north-south). Half the numbers were given to northern California and half to southern California (0 and 1 mod 4 in the north, 2 and 3 mod 4 in the south).
0 mod 4: 4-44 from south to north (28 was a bit out of place); 96 in the far north; 108-180 south of 4 from north to south
1 mod 4: 1-13 from west to east; 25-45 from west to east, alternating between south and north (hence 25-33-41 were south of the 1-13 band, and 29-37-45 were north); 49 off to the east; 65 off to the south (almost all far enough south that it should be 3 mod 4); 89 off to the north
2 mod 4: 2-26 from north to south; 74-78 and 94-98 off to the south; 118-198 north of 2 from south to north
3 mod 4: 3-19 from west to east; 23-27 off to the west; 35-39 off to the east; 55-79 off to the southeast; 95 off to the northeast; 111-195 in the far east

New sign routes mostly followed the general rules until 1964, when the dual system was dropped and the legislature adopted sign route numbers (hence all heretofore unsigned state highways got new sign route numbers).

Maps and logs:
Separate maps and logs of each bond issue http://books.google.com/books?id=yXwaAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA1-PA12
1934 (sign routes) http://archive.org/stream/californiahighwa193436calirich#page/n275/mode/2up
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.cahighways.org/

The Oregon State Highway Commission officially adopted a system of 36 named and numbered highways on November 27, 1917. The main routes were numbered 1-7, with 8-35 clustered across the state, and 36 probably added late in planning. Signs with numbers (http://books.google.com/books?id=sz0lAQAAIAAJ&pg=RA1-PA36) (later also including names) were installed beginning in early 1920. There were few changes to the system until 1931-32 (at which time the number had reached 47), when a fair number of county roads were taken over as secondary highways. These secondary highways received three-digit numbers, with the first two digits representing the county in a geographic clustering pattern, from 102 in Clatsop County to 458 in Malheur County (I don't know why 100 was skipped, though 101 was presumably not used due to US 101).

A separate system of signed routes was adopted in 1932, making the highway numbers for internal use only. Every primary highway received a one- or two-digit route number, assigned in a grid. (I haven't found the original number for Highway 6 from Cairo to Nyssa, later US 30S.) Only numbers equal to 2 or 3 mod 4 were used to leave room for expansion. 3-51 were given to north-south routes from east to west, while east-west routes were split into four bands, in which they were numbered from north to south: 2-46 west of Highway 1 (30 was skipped because of US 30), 50-70, 74-78, and 82-90. (Note that 8 (0 mod 4) appears on the 1935 map; it was probably originally part of 47 before that route was sent north from Forest Grove on secondary Highway 102.)

A few years later, selected secondary highways (and perhaps certain connecting county roads) received route numbers greater than 200; unlike the primary routes, no numbers were skipped, so later numbers violated the grid. Odd numbers from 201 to 229 were assigned to north-south routes from east to west, and even numbers from 202 to 238 went east-west from north to south.

Maps and logs:
1917 http://www.oregon.gov/ODOT/HWY/GEOMETRONICS/ROW_Eng/HistoryHighwaysOregon/statehwypropsed1917_0001.tif
1935 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~24578~900063:1935-road-map-Western-United-States
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.oregonhighways.us/
http://www.angelfire.com/or3/oroads/roads/

In 1905, the Washington legislature created the office of State Highway Commissioner and defined ten state roads (http://books.google.com/books?id=dCtEAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA20) (an amendment later that year added two more (http://books.google.com/books?id=dCtEAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA359)) through the less developed parts of the state, which included several highways that had previously been declared state roads. The legislature explicitly gave them numbers in 1907 (http://books.google.com/books?id=Isk4AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA309) and added State Road 13, another pre-existing state road; 14-17 (http://books.google.com/books?id=PeGwAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA111) and 18 (http://books.google.com/books?id=PeGwAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA190) were added in 1909.

A connected system linking all parts of the state was finally created in 1913 with the definition of eight named primary state highways (http://books.google.com/books?id=wRREAAAAYAAJ&pg=PA221). The existing state roads remained as secondary highways, and this dichotomy of named primary and both numbered and later-added named secondary highways persisted until 1923, by which time (http://books.google.com/books?id=nl4NAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA40) there were 15 named primary highways, two named secondary highways (Cascade [Wagon] Road and Roosevelt Highway), and six numbered secondary highways (4, 5, 18, 20, 21, 22). Then in 1923 every primary highway received a number (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:WikiProject_Washington_State_Highways/1923_laws) (also see the biennial report (http://books.google.com/books?id=dYPVAAAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA185)); five secondary highways remained (4, 21, 22, Methow Valley Highway, Cascade Wagon Road). These gradually became primary, with the last one (Cascade Wagon Road) holding on until 1937, when it was numbered 17. (Two named primary highways, Inland Empire Highway Eastern Route and Methow Valley Highway, also survived until then, receiving numbers as part of 3 and new 16.) At this time a large new system of secondary state highways was created, designated by letter suffixes from the primary highway they spurred from.

It's not clear when the numbers were first marked on signs; the 1927 Rand McNally does not show any marking for Washington.

Of all the pre-1913 numbers which had been assigned by the legislature, only State Road 4 survived mostly untouched through all of this. State Roads 21 and 22, which were assigned in 1915 as an extension of the pre-1913 numbers, also retained these numbers in 1923. In addition, State Roads 5, 8, 9, and 10, which became named primary highways in 1913, were resurrected in similar locations in 1923 with the same numbers (a small piece of SR 5 did survive from 1913 to 1923 to rejoin the rest). The numbers newly chosen in 1923 followed a rough clustering pattern: 1-3 were major cross-state highways, 6, 7, and 11 were in the eastern part of the state, and 12-14 were in the west. Later numbers, 15 (1931) and 16-18 (1937), were assigned in order.

In 1963, the legislature directed the State Highway Commission to renumber the state highways; this was completed in 1964 (?), and until 1970 the new numbers were signed, while the legislature continued to amend the old primary/secondary definitions. The new system was a very rough grid with spurs.

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.wsdot.wa.gov/Library/History.htm
http://www.angelfire.com/wa2/hwysofwastate/
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on October 14, 2013, 04:22:27 PM
Southeast:

The Texas State Highway Department was created in 1917 and laid out a proposed system of 26 state highways that year, several of which followed auto trails. 1-8 were assigned to major cross-state highways, with odd numbers east-west and even numbers north-south; 9-26 were weakly clustered on more minor routes. Alternate routes and spurs received letter suffixes. Since then, new routes have usually received the next available number. I don't know when signs were first posted, but the 1926 Rand McNally shows a shield design, and the 1922-24 biennial report (http://books.google.com/books?id=t8EmAQAAIAAJ&pg=RA2-PA11) implies that they were being installed by then.

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.dot.state.tx.us/tpp/search/query.htm

The Florida State Road Department created a map in 1917 that listed roads numbered 1-15. These numbers were used in the 1916-18 biennial report (http://archive.org/details/BiennialreportoftheStateRoadDepartmentoftheStateofFloridafortheperiod1916-18), but the 1918-20 report (http://archive.org/details/BiennialreportoftheStateRoadDepartmentoftheStateofFloridafortheperiod1918-20) shows a partial renumbering. 1-5 remained, 9 became 6, and 11 became 7; all the other routes (except Bronson to Cedar Key) were replaced by state aid roads numbered from 101 to 133, which also added new roads to the state-funded highway system. 8, 9, and 134-137 were added in 1921.

The original 1917 numbers were clustered: 1 east-west in the panhandle, 2-5 north-south in the peninsula, 6-7 east-west in the peninsula, 8-11 from east to west in the panhandle, and 12-15 back to the peninsula from south to north. The partial renumbering put 6-7 in the panhandle, while the state aid roads were mostly clustered. 105, 106, 107, 108, 109, and 110 were parts of old 5, 6, 7, 8, 8 (not 9), and 10, and 111 was somewhat randomly west of Tallahassee, but 101-104 were clustered near Jacksonville, 112-118 went from west to east in the panhandle, and 119-129 were nicely clustered in the peninsula. 130-133 were probably added afterwards, as were 134-137 (and 8-9).

1923 saw the legislative establishment of many of these routes (http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/L._1923_c._9311_%28Florida%29) as state roads (most others joined in 1925 or 1927, but the last straggler, 112/537, remained a county road until 1939). Numbers 1-9 were kept with minor changes, but all of the state aid numbers were changed. Signs were posted (http://archive.org/stream/BiennialreportoftheStateRoadDepartmentoftheStateofFloridafortheperiod1925-26#page/n155/mode/2up) in 1925 or 1926. Many of the initial 1923 numbers were clustered, with 10-18 and 21-27 running from northwest to south in two bands, but 19 and 20 are randomly up in the panhandle, 28 is near 13, and 29-38 are stranger yet: even numbers are all in the central and south parts of the peninsula, while odd numbers are in the panhandle or the north part of the peninsula.

After a bunch of duplicated numbers and other flubs in 1927, numbering control was shifted to the State Road Department, which labeled new routes in order, but also reused numbers that had been absorbed by other routes. In 1945 all routes were renumbered. 1-2 digit numbers were used for a grid, with 3-digit numbers assigned to shorter routes in horizontal bands between the x0 routes. This is still mostly followed, but in addition to minor violations there are more major violations such as 112 in Miami and 727 near Pensacola.

Maps and logs:
1917 http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00053687/00001/1x
1921 http://archive.org/stream/BiennialreportoftheStateRoadDepartmentoftheStateofFloridafortheperiod1921-22#page/n81/mode/2up
1929-1939 http://archive.org/search.php?query=subject%3A%22Roads--Florida.%22
http://neroute2.blogspot.com/search/label/pre-1945 http://neroute2.blogspot.com/search/label/route%20log

Virginia's legislature created a state highway system in 1918, comprising 28 numbered routes (http://books.google.com/books?id=HcBOAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA9). 1-5 were major north-south routes, with 6-13 (and perhaps 14) as major east-west routes. 15-20 were clustered from north to south in the middle of the state, while 21-28 were somewhat randomly assigned to short connections, mostly leading to state lines. The State Highway Commission initially assigned lettered suffixes to spurs of these routes, but decided in 1923 to instead use three-digit numbers in much the same manner; for example 121 and 122 (rather than 12X and 12Y) were spurs of 12. Since this system did not work with single-digit numbers, 1-9 were renumbered as 31-39. Additionally, at this time, 15 (a rather minor route) became 331, and the number was reassigned to what had been 12Z. 29 and 30 were given to what had been long spurs of 9, while a second 12X became 40, and 41 was assigned to a newly-taken over route that didn't connect to any others. Two four-digit numbers, 1411 and 3111, were spurs of spurs, and 1010 to (probably) 1013 continued the sequence of spurs from 10 after 101-109 were all used.

Route markers were installed (http://books.google.com/books?id=Nl84AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA34) by mid-1925, but a 1922 (?) map (http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~201579~3000605:Commercial-Atlas-of-America--Rand-M) shows a sample direction sign for Route 5, meaning that the numbers were being marked before the 1923 renumbering.

A second renumbering in 1928 got rid of the spur numbers, replacing them with a clustering pattern, where the first digit was the district (1 to 8) in which the route lay. 42 to 55 (and later 56-59) were given to routes that crossed district lines. Finally, 1933 saw a third renumbering, which essentially compressed all the ranges to make way for the new secondary numbers beginning at 600. (Which, in hindsight, was silly, since some counties have reached five-digit secondary numbers by now.)

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.vahighways.com/route-log/

The Georgia legislature reorganized the State Highway Department in 1919 (http://books.google.com/books?id=Fxg4AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA242) and directed it to lay out a 4800-mile system of state-aid roads to connect the county seats. A preliminary system was chosen on January 1, 1920, but according to the State Highway Engineer in the 1919-20 annual report (p. 23) (http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/ggpd/docs/1920/ga/t700/_pa1/1920.con/1.pdf):
Quote
In preparing the map, I found that the roads necessary to make a complete State system, and equitably serve every community, exceeded the 4,800 mile limitation. Therefore, I have shown additional roads on the map and designated them "Federal Aid Roads." I consider these roads of equal importance and necessity as the State aid roads shown on the map of the State system, and recommend that the State system be enlarged to include these additional roads, designated as Federal Aid roads.
These proposed federal aid roads are not numbered on what seems to be the original plan (http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/ggpd/docs/1920/ga/t700/_pp1/m2/1920.con/1.pdf), but (mostly) are on the map at the end of the 1919-20 report. They are also all included in a revised map at the end of the 1920-21 annual report (http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/ggpd/docs/1921/ga/t700/_pa1/1921.con/1.pdf). In 1921 (http://books.google.com/books?id=vxOxAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA199) the legislature increased the mileage to 5500 miles and directed the State Highway Department to take over maintenance of the state-aid roads; the system approved September 23, 1921 (http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/ggpd/docs/1921/ga/t700/_pp1/m2/1921_sseptember.con/1.pdf) made more changes.

Numbering in the 1920 plan was mostly according to a simple grid, with odd numbers from 1 to 27 running north-south from west to east (with a few minor violations) and even numbers from 2 to 32 running east-west from north to south. 29-53 were short north-south routes, roughly clustered (it appears that 51 and 53 were numbered late in the process), while 38-46 were short east-west routes with no clustering apparent.

The 1918-19 annual report (p. 25) (http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/ggpd/docs/1919/ga/t700/_pa1/1919.con/1.pdf) shows a sample "mile post" with route numbers and alphanumeric codes for towns (?). These may have never been used. The 1923-24 annual report (p. 136) (http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/ggpd/docs/1924/ga/t700/_pa1/1924.con/1.pdf) shows a "truck operated by sign posters. Every route is being thoroughly marked by this party." The 1924-25 annual report (p. 136) (http://dlg.galileo.usg.edu/ggpd/docs/1925/ga/t700/_pa1/1925.con/1.pdf) shows examples of these signs, including route shields both on posts and painted on poles. Therefore it appears that signs were being posted by 1923.

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://georgiaroads.tripod.com/

The North Carolina State Highway Commission laid out and numbered a connected system of state highways (http://books.google.com/books?id=uCRSAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA62) in 1921, pursuant to a law passed that year; routes were being marked by 1922. Main routes were numbered as multiples of ten, with 10 and 20 being the major east-west routes, 30-80 north-south routes from east to west, and 90 a relatively minor spur of 10. Reasonably major spurs of these routes got two-digit numbers (e.g. 12 from 10), and minor spurs of any two-digit route received three-digit numbers (e.g. 104 from 10 and 125 from 12). One-digit numbers were not used until the 1930s.

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.vahighways.com/ncannex/route-log/

In 1920, South Carolina created a State Highway Department, which laid out a system of state highways that year. Routes were numbered and signs first posted (http://books.google.com/books?id=oi05AQAAMAAJ&pg=PA34) in 1921. Some numbers were chosen to match adjacent states: 12 and 21 (and perhaps 2, 8, 10, and 17) continuing from Georgia, and 16, 19, 23, 26, 29, and 50 from North Carolina. 1 to 10 were assigned to relatively major routes, and most other numbers from 11 to 47 followed a rough clustering across the state. 34, 35, 38, and 43 did not fit the clustering or any other pattern I can discern.

Subsequently-added routes began at 51, with 48 and 49 being skipped initially. Three-digit numbers were used for spurs, such as 392 from 39 and 301 from 30. Two-digit spurs were also created off of routes 6 to 9, such as 72 off 7.

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.angelfire.com/sc3/scroads/

In accordance with state law, the West Virginia State Road Commission laid out and numbered a system of state roads (http://books.google.com/books?id=7XDVAAAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA7) which connected the county seats and adjacent states in 1921 (or perhaps early 1922); these routes were marked on poles by 1923. Numbers were assigned based on direction: odd numbers were east-west and even numbers were north-south. 1-9 and 2-6 (or 8) were the most major highways, and then each direction had three passes: 11-23, 25-43, and 55-67 (all increasing from north to south, though 17 and 19 were inexplicably switched); and 8-28, 32-50 (both increasing from west to east), and 52-66 (roughly in reverse order, from east to west). 45-49 are clustered in the eastern panhandle, and 30, 51, 53, and 68 do not seem to fit the system.

Maps and logs:
1922 http://books.google.com/books?id=7XDVAAAAMAAJ&pg=RA1-PA2 (no numbers, but system seems to have had few if any changes to 1926)
1926 http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/Midatlantic/
1927 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~33741~1171457:Rand-McNally-junior-auto-road-map-D
http://www.millenniumhwy.net/wvroads/wvroads.html

In 1921, the Louisiana state legislature created the Highway Commission and a state highway system of 98 routes (http://books.google.com/books?id=uXxGAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA185). 1-7 were major cross-state routes (several of them auto trails), with 8-27 clustered west of the Atchafalaya River, 28-31 clustered between the Atchafalaya and Mississippi, and 32-37 clustered east of the Mississippi. 38-98 were probably tacked on to the bill later as pork, as 1-37 served all the parish seats except Cameron. It's unclear when the routes were first signed; the 1927 Rand McNally shows no shield design.

A complete renumbering was made in 1955. Low numbers were assigned in a grid: 1-23 (except 5) were north-south from west to east, and 2-14 were east-west from north to south, with a second pass from 16 to 20 in the east. Beyond that, no obvious pattern jumps out.

Maps and logs:
http://www.southeastroads.com/la_route_log.html

On October 1, 1923, the Tennessee Department of Highways approved a network of federal aid and state aid highways, the former also approved by the federal government on that date. Federal aid routes received numbers from 1 to 40, numbered in two passes: 1-9 were the most major routes, and 10-40 were clustered from west to east. State aid routes were numbered from 41 to 78 (there was also a state aid extension of 36 south of Erwin), with 41 to 68 clustered from west to east, 69 out of place, and 70 to 78 on remaining routes from east to west. Subsequent changes eliminated the numeric separation between federal and state aid, as many state aid routes became extensions of routes 1-40.

I don't know exactly when signs were posted, but they were by 1925-26.

Maps and logs:
1923, 1926 http://neroute2.blogspot.com/2013/10/early-tennessee-route-logs.html
http://www.vahighways.com/tn-annex/index.htm

In 1915 the Alabama legislature defined a system of "state trunk roads" (http://books.google.com/books?id=2Jg3AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA365) numbered 1-34. Other routes were subsequently added, but these numbers seem to have been used only internally. A new system of state highways was laid out by 1925 and marked by 1926. Numbers 1-10 were assigned to main routes, including several auto trails, and 26 was the Dixie Overland Highway to match Georgia. 11-30 and 31-48 were roughly clustered in two groups, south and north of 26, and 49 was probably added after the numbers were initially assigned. The numbers had reached 62 by 1927 or 1928, when a complete renumbering was made. The new numbers do not seem to have followed any strict pattern. 2-12 were east-west in order from north to south, and 1-5 and 13 were north-south from east to west, but 7-11 were diagonal. 14-30 were rather weakly clustered, and 31-63 made a second pass, but 42, 47, and 58 don't seem to have fit. A final partial renumbering in the mid-1950s brought directional parity, making all odd numbers north-south and even numbers east-west.

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.ajfroggie.com/roads/alroutes/index.html
http://colepages.com/asrni.html

The Mississippi legislature defined a system of legislative route numbers in 1924, separated into federal aid (1-28) and other (30-78, amended to 30-135 in 1926). These numbers do not seem to have been used except internally, and signed numbers were not assigned until about 1929. These were numbered in a rough grid: 1-25 went north-south, mostly in order from west to east, in the north part of the state (I can't find original 17 or 21), 55-63 were in a small band in the south part of the state, and a few other numbers were in between (35, 39, 41 existed by 1931). 2-26 were east-west routes in order from north to south (4 and 14 may have been skipped initially), and by 1931 30, 32, 42, and 48 were present in between other routes.

Later details in msubulldog's post (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=10423.msg252531#msg252531).

Maps and logs:
1931, 1938 http://alabamamaps.ua.edu/historicalmaps/us_states/mississippi/index2_1926-1940.htm
http://www.ajfroggie.com/roads/msroutes/index.html

Kentucky also had an early legislative system, first defined in 1920 (http://books.google.com/books?id=aFsyAAAAIAAJ&pg=PA87) and appearing on some maps. Signed routes waited until about 1929, and were numbered in a rough grid. Some numbers were skipped initially, and it appears that the grid of odd numbers north-south in order from east to west and even numbers east-west in order from north to south was followed pretty well by the original routes, but when gaps were filled in the pattern did not hold. By 1939 all 1-2 digit numbers were in use (except perhaps 24).

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://bunkerblast.info/roads/
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: agentsteel53 on October 14, 2013, 04:49:06 PM
1-8 were assigned to major cross-state highways, with even numbers east-west and odd numbers north-south;

TX-1 later became US-67 from Texarkana to the DFW area, and then US-80 to El Paso.  this is not particularly north-south.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on October 14, 2013, 04:58:08 PM
1-8 were assigned to major cross-state highways, with even numbers east-west and odd numbers north-south;

TX-1 later became US-67 from Texarkana to the DFW area, and then US-80 to El Paso.  this is not particularly north-south.

Oops - got the directions backwards.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: Urban Prairie Schooner on October 15, 2013, 07:33:57 PM
In 1921, the Louisiana state legislature created the Highway Commission and a state highway system of 98 routes (http://books.google.com/books?id=uXxGAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA185). 1-7 were major cross-state routes (several of them auto trails),

1 Jefferson Highway
2 Old Spanish Trail
3 Mississippi River Scenic Highway
4 Dixie Overland Trail
5 Pershing Highway
6 Old San Antonio Road?
7 Evangeline Highway (at least west of Baton Rouge)
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: Mapmikey on October 15, 2013, 07:37:12 PM
Quote
Virginia's legislature created a state highway system in 1918, comprising 28 numbered routes. 1-5 were major north-south routes, with 6-13 (and perhaps 14) as major east-west routes. 15-20 were clustered from north to south in the middle of the state, while 21-28 were somewhat randomly assigned to short connections, mostly leading to state lines. The State Highway Commission initially assigned lettered suffixes to spurs of these routes, but decided in 1923 to instead use three-digit numbers in much the same manner; for example 121 and 122 (rather than 12X and 12Y) were spurs of 12. Since this system did not work with single-digit numbers, 1-9 were renumbered as 31-39. Additionally, at this time, 15 (a rather minor route) became 331, and the number was reassigned to what had been 12Z. 29 and 30 were given to what had been long spurs of 9, while a second 12X became 40, and 41 was assigned to a newly-taken over route that didn't connect to any others. Two four-digit numbers, 1411 and 3111, were spurs of spurs, and 1010 to (probably) 1013 continued the sequence of spurs from 10 after 101-109 were all used.

Route markers were installed by mid-1925, but a 1922 (?) map shows a sample direction sign for Route 5, meaning that the numbers were being marked before the 1923 renumbering.

A second renumbering in 1928 got rid of the spur numbers, replacing them with a clustering pattern, where the first digit was the district (1 to 8) in which the route lay. 42 to 55 (and later 56-59) were given to routes that crossed district lines. Finally, 1933 saw a third renumbering, which essentially compressed all the ranges to make way for the new secondary numbers beginning at 600. (Which, in hindsight, was silly, since some counties have reached five-digit secondary numbers by now.)

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.vahighways.com/route-log/

1922 Auto Trails Maps are the only ones I've seen with the route marker sign as you've described.  I do believe the pre-1923 system was posted because I got an e-mail once from someone who wanted to confirm their grandfather's insistence that route 1 went through Clarksville.  Seems to me you would really only know that if the routes were posted.  CTB minutes back to 1920 do not mention posting.  The Virginia State Library has CTB minutes from 1919 and supposedly a 1918 Official map but I haven't gone to read them.
The 1923 Official Map shows a shield in use for Virginia - a 'V' with a smaller 'A' inside and the number above the 'A.'
  Never seen a picture but did see one in an antique store nearly 20 years ago.
I have a 1922 Clasons map that describes a posting but does not show a graphic.  This map shows many of the lettered suffix routes in use before Virginia discovered 3-digits could be used on routes.

Here are the 1922 Clasons, 1923 and 1926 Official legends:
(http://www.vahighways.com/1922clasons.jpg) (http://www.vahighways.com/1923shield.jpg) (http://www.vahighways.com/1926shield.jpg)


The 1926 Official Map is the first to show the spade shape in its earliest form.  This design was conceived by 1925 (there are a couple 1925 dated bridges with this shape and the date).


There was a substantial state line renumbering of state routes in 1940 as well.

Mapmikey
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on October 15, 2013, 08:02:06 PM
3 Mississippi River Scenic Highway
Are you sure? http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~201735~3000680:Commercial-Atlas-of-America--Rand-M and http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~33762~1171478:Rand-McNally-junior-auto-road-map-L both show the MRSH only on the east side of the river through Mississippi, and then crossing at New Roads and following the west side through Port Allen.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: Urban Prairie Schooner on October 16, 2013, 08:56:09 AM
3 Mississippi River Scenic Highway
Are you sure? http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~201735~3000680:Commercial-Atlas-of-America--Rand-M and http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~33762~1171478:Rand-McNally-junior-auto-road-map-L both show the MRSH only on the east side of the river through Mississippi, and then crossing at New Roads and following the west side through Port Allen.


Old LA 30 continued the route south of BR, but there is no question that the MRSH entered BR via old LA 3 (Bus US 61/190, US 61, LA 964). The road is still called Scenic Highway to this day, at least in EBR Parish. I think, at least in the MRSH's case, that there could have been multiple stems of the route, which was not uncommon in the auto trail era.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on October 20, 2013, 01:22:00 AM
Northeast:

The Pennsylvania legislature established a large network of state routes (http://books.google.com/books?id=ICBOAQAAIAAJ&pg=PA472) in 1911, connecting county seats to each other and to other states. These legislative route numbers were clustered: 1-8 were the route from Harrisburg to Port Jervis, then the actual clustering began with 9-10 north out of Scranton, 11-15 north out of Wilkes-Barre, etc. The first pass of clustering appears to end with 174; then the rest of the original routes to 296 are rather weakly clustered to fill in gaps.

The first signed "traffic routes" were numbered, mostly along auto trails, in 1924 or 1925, with 1-9 east-west in order from south to north, 2-8 north-south from east to west, 11 east-west in the southwest corner (south of 1), 12 extending southwest from Philly (where 2 ended), 13 on an arc from Maryland to Philly, partly overlapping 3, and 19 on a diagonal from Lewistown northeast. By 1926, 41 had been created as a spur of 1 from Lancaster to Harrisburg, and 1927 saw the addition of 10 (north-south between 6 and 8), 17 (east-west between 3 and 5, then overlapping 3 and replacing much of 13 to Philly), and 24 (spur from 4 at Harrisburg to Maryland). These may have been the only signed routes, but the 1927 map shows that all legislative routes (as they existed in 1925) had received two-digit traffic route numbers. In general, north-south routes were even, east-west routes were odd, and Route AB was usually close to Route B. Many routes had multiple sections with gaps in between.

A 1927-28 renumbering got rid of most of these multi-part routes and gave a traffic route number to every new legislative route. Most one-digit and some two-digit numbers were kept, while others were newly-numbered branches. Three-digit numbers through 799 were also branches, e.g. 401 off 1 and 380 off 80. 800 and up were assigned to shorter spurs, numbered in reverse order based on the parent. After 1931, not all legislative routes had signed numbers, and some local roads were signed as part of a longer route. The legislative routes were finally eliminated in 1987, and every route without a traffic route number was assigned a four-digit reference number.

More details in a separate thread (http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=10333).

Maps and logs:
1925 http://www.mapsofpa.com/art9pics/1925-452-2.jpg
1926 http://www.mapsofpa.com/art9pics/1926-1335-2.jpg
1927 http://www.mapsofpa.com/art9pics/1927-272-2.jpg
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.pahighways.com/
http://www.m-plex.com/roads/numbering.html

In 1916, the New Jersey legislature created a system (http://books.google.com/books?id=xFQ4AAAAIAAJ&pg=PA611) of 13 routes. There was no real pattern other than a very rough clustering. Starting in 1923, the legislature began to add routes with duplicate or missing numbers; all the State Highway Commission could do was add a suffix representing the part of the state (e.g. 18-N was in North Jersey and 18-S was in South Jersey). Signs were apparently posted by 1922.

A completely new system was legislated in 1927, with an obvious clustering pattern: 1-10 radiated from Jersey City, 21-29 from Newark, 30-37 from Trenton, and 38-50 from Camden; 11 may have been assigned late in the process and 12 definitely was, while 13-20 were skipped. An S prefix, e.g. S-25, was used for a short spur, with a few routes such as S-4-A having both prefix and suffix. Those pieces of former routes that did not fit in the new system, yet had already been taken over by the state, kept their old numbers, but with an "N" suffix: 18-N north of Fort Lee (which had been 18-N, explaining the suffix), 4-N from Eatontown to Belmar (later Brielle), 5-N from Morris Plains to Denville, and 8-N from Sussex to New York. 18-N would soon be absorbed by a realigned 1, but 10-N and 11-N were created later from changes to 5 and 7 that left behind the old highways. A final partial renumbering in 1953 got rid of all the prefixes, suffixes, and numbers that conflicted with U.S. Routes.

Maps and logs:
http://www.jimmyandsharonwilliams.com/njroads/1920s/njhwy20s.htm
http://www.alpsroads.net/roads/nj/log/

New England did not have a system of numbered routes until 1922, when the six states got together to lay one out. Although a preliminary plan was completed in 1922, at least some of the states waited several years before marking the routes, especially Maine, which made major changes (http://www.floodgap.com/roadgap/me/menei.html) to 1, 18, 20, and 24. Except for 1, along the east coast, even numbers were supposed to run north-south and odd numbers east-west. The "New England zone", probably meaning that numbers would repeat in other zones, was to extend west to the Hudson River, but New York didn't adopt the plan and instead created its own numbering in 1924 that continued most of the New England routes for consistency.

Odd numbers from 1 to 15 were assigned in a nice sequence from south to north, with 17 and 25 seemingly two pieces of an incomplete second pass (19 to 23 were skipped). Even numbers were not so nice, with the sequence going 30-4-8-2-10-32-12-6-16-26-20-24 from west to east (roughly; some of them crossed along the way). 14 was diagonal, 18 was clearly east-west, and 30 and 32 may have been the beginning of a second pass. 22 was skipped (perhaps reserved for New York, which in fact created 22 along its eastern border) and 28 was added after the original plan. Lettered suffixes were used for alternate routes (and at least one spur, 30B towards Rouses Point). The routes disappeared in 1926-27 where followed by U.S. Highways, except in Connecticut, which seems to have kept them until 1932. 7 was renumbered 2 due to intersecting US 7 (and 2 was newly free, having become US 5).

Three-digit numbers were reserved for state routes, and except for Maine also followed the parity-direction rule. New Hampshire's only original route, 101, appears on a 1922 map; Connecticut and Vermont seem to have started by 1923, with Massachusetts in 1924, Rhode Island about then, and Maine in 1925. Most states did not conflate state maintenance with state numbering at the beginning; Massachusetts and Rhode Island still do not.

New Hampshire started out with only 101, but added 102 to 111 by 1927. It's not clear if these new routes followed the directional parity or if they were assigned in any pattern (some weak clustering may be evident).

Connecticut's first numbers were assigned generally from east to west, with 101-131 and 102-136 fitting the pattern. 3xx routes, assigned by 1926, followed a similar pattern, with 300-336 assigned from west to east and 301-338 from north to south. Higher numbers were assigned either as a second pass or later, and a 299 was probably part of the 3xx system. A complete renumbering in 1932 (except for several of the old New England routes) appears to have given every state-maintained road a number.

Vermont assigned 101 to 105 from south to north; even numbers were not as well arranged, going 104-100-106-102 from west to east. By 1927 the numbers had reached 121 (odd) and 130 (even), and the first 1-2 digit non-New England route had been created, 3 in southwestern Vermont. Routes F1 to F10, as well as F9A and F10A, were created to serve Lake Champlain ferries. (F1 replaced 30B and would soon become US 2; F4 was on Burlington city streets.)

Massachusetts, according to a Boston Globe article, started in 1924 with only a few routes: 101 from Rhode Island to Middleboro (continuing the number from Connecticut through Rhode Island), 109 from Pittsfield to Northhampton, 122 from Rhode Island to Athol, 138 from Fall River to Boston, and 140 from New Bedford to Taunton. The reason for choosing these numbers is unknown, but by 1926 most of them had been extended, and others had been added, reaching at least 141 (odd) and 134 (even, plus 138 and 140). 103 continued from Connecticut through Rhode Island, and 101-106 were all clustered in southeastern Mass. Even numbers after that mostly increased from west to east (108, 110, 114, and 118 didn't fit), and odd numbers were rather roughly clustered from north to south (107, 123, and 131 were out of place; 139 and 141 were the only ones in western Massachusetts). By 1927 several two-digit routes had been added.

Rhode Island was stuck between Connecticut and Massachusetts, and continued routes from each: 101 and 103 came from Connecticut and passed through to Mass, while 122 and 138 came from Massachusetts. 102, 104, and 108 were all north-south in the north part of the state (106 was skipped), but there seems to be no pattern with 107, 112, and 117 (unless someone really liked 2 mod 5).

Maine was probably the last New England state to number its state routes (though at least 100 may be older than 1925), and the only one to eschew directional parity altogether. 100 to 108 were the most major routes, and a rather tight clustering begins with 109 in the southwest and ends at 192 in the southeast. 193 to 212 may have been tacked on afterwards, as they follow no pattern except perhaps a weak clustering.

Maps and logs:
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:1922_New_England_road_map_1.jpg (the best source I have for the preliminary numbers; map 2 has most of Connecticut-Rhode Island)
1926 http://broermapsonline.org/online/NorthAmerica/UnitedStates/NewEngland/
1927 http://www.davidrumsey.com/luna/servlet/detail/RUMSEY~8~1~33737~1171453:Rand-McNally-junior-auto-road-map-M
 Connecticut 1930 (http://cartweb.geography.ua.edu/lizardtech/iserv/calcrgn?cat=North%20America%20and%20United%20States&item=States/Connecticut/Connecticut1930b.sid&wid=500&hei=400&props=item%28Name,Description%29,cat%28Name,Description%29&style=simple/view-dhtml.xsl)
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112 (Vermont)

Connecticut http://www.kurumi.com/roads/ct/
Maine http://www.floodgap.com/roadgap/me/
Massachusetts http://www.schlichtman.org/mahighways/

In 1908 the New York legislature adopted a new highway law, including 37 routes (http://books.google.com/books?id=dI-LqtTk-8MC&pg=PA53) along which any state-funded improvements would continue to be maintained by the state. Numbers were clustered, with 1-3 south from Albany, 4 across the Southern Tier, 5-20 moving west across the state, 21-34 to the north, mostly in the Adirondacks, 35 on Long Island, and 36-37 probably added after the initial list was created. Previously, back to 1898, the state had improved county roads but given them back to the counties afterwards. These county highways received sequential numbers beginning with 1 (part of Union Street east of Schenectady), retaining them when taken over as state highways; segments specifically improved as state highways started with 5000 (Ulster Avenue from Kingston to Lake Katrine, part of Route 3). Numbers beginning with 8000 and 9000 were later used for federal aid highways and "special highways" (it's likely that federal aid later spilled into the 9000s), and eventually the state took over maintenance of the original state-improved county highways.

The route numbers were amended at least through 1921, but were only used internally. In 1924 the state began numbering and posting major cross-state touring routes, following the same parity-direction pattern as New England (and Pennsylvania; I'm not sure which state came first). 1, 5, 7, 9, and 30 were extensions of New England routes, while 8 and 17 continued from New Jersey, and 2 and 4 may have matched Pennsylvania (or vice versa). 3 was assigned to the entire New York extent of the Theodore Roosevelt International Highway from Rouses Point to Niagara Falls, and the remaining east-west routes became 11-23 in a rough clustering pattern. North-south routes from 6 to 18 were assigned numbers in order from east to west, but 20-34 appear to have no pattern beyond a weak clustering. Numbering had reached 63 and 80 in 1930, when a major renumbering was carried out and all previously unnumbered state highways received touring route numbers. At this time the directional parity was thrown out. There's no obvious pattern to which numbers were changed, and new numbers have only pieces of rough clustering, including 74-78 in the southwest, 101-115 on Long Island, 116-142 in Westchester County, and 237-280 in the Buffalo-Rochester area. The highest number appears to have been 429; growth afterwards was slow, only reaching 435 by 1940.

Maps and logs:
http://gis.ny.gov/gisdata/quads/drg24/ (shows the state highway numbers)
http://www.gribblenation.net/nyroutes/

Maryland seems to have begun maintaining roads in the 1910s, but waited until 1927 (after the U.S. Highways) to number and sign routes. Only major routes were numbered, with 2-6 in the area south of Baltimore, 7-10 skipped, 12-21 on the Eastern Shore (with 20 crossing a ferry to Baltimore), and 22-37 moving west across the northern part of the state. 313 and 413 were spurs of US 213 on the Eastern Shore.

It appears that in about 1929 all the remaining state highways were assigned numbers, clustered from 38 in the northwest to 378 in the southeast. Subsequent routes received the next available number. However, official maps only label selected routes until the 1939 edition (by which time numbers had reached at least 701), meaning that most were probably not marked at first.

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.mdroads.com/

Delaware was the last state in the Northeast, and perhaps the last of the 48, to sign a network of state routes. The state was maintaining roads by 1920, but these were initially known only by name and later by the road numbers that are still in use today. A grid of state routes was created between 1932 and 1936, with even numbers east-west from 2 in the north to 26 in the south (4 may have been initially skipped, but probably started out through Middletown; one map (http://research.archives.gov/description/5829592) shows 22 on what had become 5 by 1938), with 28 diagonal and 42-44 probably assigned afterwards near Dover, and apparently only three original odd numbers (north-south): 7, 9, and 11. Other routes were numbered to match adjacent states; the 1936 map shows 41 and 52 (Pennsylvania), 48 (New Jersey), and 273, 300, and 404 (Maryland).

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.aaroads.com/delaware/
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on October 21, 2013, 02:23:01 AM
And that's it for the original 48 states.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: elsmere241 on October 21, 2013, 08:46:12 AM

Delaware was the last state in the Northeast, and perhaps the last of the 48, to sign a network of state routes. The state was maintaining roads by 1920, but these were initially known only by name and later by the road numbers that are still in use today. A grid of state routes was created between 1932 and 1936, with even numbers east-west from 2 in the north to 26 in the south (4 may have been initially skipped, but probably started out through Middletown; one map (http://research.archives.gov/description/5829592) shows 22 on what had become 5 by 1938), with 28 diagonal and 42-44 probably assigned afterwards near Dover, and apparently only three original odd numbers (north-south): 7, 9, and 11. Other routes were numbered to match adjacent states; the 1936 map shows 41 and 52 (Pennsylvania), 48 (New Jersey), and 273, 300, and 404 (Maryland).

Maps and logs:
http://www.aaroads.com/forum/index.php?topic=5112
http://www.aaroads.com/delaware/

According to a 1941 Rand McNally in my college library, what is now DE 299 was once DE 4.  At one time it connected to MD 299 but doesn't now.  DE 71 was originally routed southwest from Middletown along the current US 301, and connected to what was then MD 71.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on October 21, 2013, 09:06:50 AM
Yeah, that's what the 1947 official shows, but it's not on the 1946 official: http://www.deldot.gov/archaeology/historic_pres/historic_highway_maps/index.shtml
I think the 1946 map is incomplete, given that it lacks 796, which is on the 1946 Maryland official (and actually, so is 4). Damn the war for putting a gap in official map production.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on October 27, 2013, 01:15:14 PM
So I did some random sampling and Michigan almost certainly did the same as Wisconsin: numbered in reverse order of length.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: agentsteel53 on January 07, 2014, 11:46:11 AM
the idea of having the legislative route numbers not match the sign ones seems completely perverse.  so one or two states did it because they didn't know any better - but dozens?? 
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: NE2 on January 07, 2014, 12:32:31 PM
the idea of having the legislative route numbers not match the sign ones seems completely perverse.  so one or two states did it because they didn't know any better - but dozens?? 
I see the following:
Michigan: early legislative numbers didn't cover all state highways
Illinois: started with a perfect match, but made changes for better route continuity
Minnesota: again perfectly matched until 1934
Nebraska: legislative numbers were not suited for signs, with trans-state highways essentially changing number at every county seat
California: sign routes were not assigned until after U.S. Routes, and then by the ACSC/CSAA rather than the state
Oregon: similarly assigned after U.S. Routes, though most highway numbers could have been used
Washington: only mismatched in the 1960s when the renumbering was ongoing
Virginia: the state highway department renumbered some routes in 1923 without legislative concurrence, and continued to do so afterwards
Kentucky: the legislative numbering was shite, including spurs identified by fractions (e.g. 58 3/4)
Pennsylvania: like Nebraska, the numbers mostly reset at county seats
New Jersey: the legislature was unable to keep up with changes
New York: like Michigan, only some highways were given legislative route numbers

The only states I see that could have relatively easily used the legislative numbers to create a system similar to that which resulted are California and Oregon.

One obvious reason for not using legislative numbers is that changing a route doesn't require legislative approval. This caused a few states that originally matched to stop doing so.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: Brandon on January 07, 2014, 12:51:55 PM
the idea of having the legislative route numbers not match the sign ones seems completely perverse.  so one or two states did it because they didn't know any better - but dozens?? 
I see the following:
Illinois: started with a perfect match, but made changes for better route continuity

Then, later on, Illinois's route numbering has two systems.  One, for navigation (signed and on the official state maps); the other is used by IDOT (on plans and some maps).  What started as a simple system of State Bond Issue (SBI) routes morphed into a byzantine system of Federal Aid Interstate (FAI), Federal Aid Primary (FAP), Federal Aid Secondary (FAS), Other Road (OR), and County Road (CR) (the latter two as financed via other means).  Sometimes one can find HB and SB on the bridge plates for the House Bill or Senate Bill that authorized the funding for the route.  One can therefore find SBI-4 (IL-4) on a section of former US-66 that is now incorporated as a frontage road for part of FAI-55 (I-55).
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: Avalanchez71 on June 12, 2017, 03:54:25 PM
I don't see a history for Tennessee.
Title: Re: historic look at numbering patterns
Post by: epzik8 on June 13, 2017, 02:12:39 PM
Maryland, continuing from the numbers 2-37 scattered systematically across the state, gives each county, excluding Baltimore city, at least one alotted set of state route numbers between 38 and almost 400. A lot of these routes go a few miles into an adjoining county. So, in my home county, Harford County, they're given route numbers 152-165. Route 165 goes a little bit into Baltimore County. Routes 157 and 158 are actually in Baltimore County.