Wednesday, July 16, 2008

US 20 In Massachussets: Start Point Video

The (an Albany, Oregon newspaper) has listed an on-line editor entry covering their discovery of the eastern terminus of US Route 20 in Massachusetts. There is a short video on the blog, which can only be viewed on the blog page. If you click on the article link below, it will take you to the video.

The eastern end of U.S. Route 20
Posted by Graham Kislingbury July 15, 2008

One day while in Boston in the early 1990s, I noticed a highway sign with the number 20.

“Is this the Highway 20 that starts in Newport, Oregon?” I asked a guy.

“It’s the one,” he told me, adding that it ends (or starts, depending on your geographic perspective) right there in Boston.

I couldn’t believe it. I had no idea that our Highway 20 meandered through parts of 12 states from coast to coast.

And that got me thinking about someday traveling Highway 20 from Boston to Newport and doing stories and photos about the people I’d encounter along the way. I envisioned starting with the guys from “Car Talk,” who are based across the Charles River from Boston in Cambridge. Mass, and ending with a Vietnam veteran in on the Vietnam veterans memorial pathway to the beach in Newport, about one mile from the western terminus of U.S. 20 at the intersection with U.S. Route 101.

I’ll probably never do that cross-country storytelling journey. It’s been done many times, I’ve been told. What could I add to it?

Last Saturday, however, I decided to satisfy my curiosity about one Highway 20 question: Where exactly does it end in Boston? After spending 10 days in Massachusetts visiting my wife Nancy’s family, we had three hours to wander around Boston before heading to Logan Airport for our flight back to Oregon. So after driving downtown and past Boston Common, we steered toward the end of Highway 20.

The rental car company’s map wasn’t very detailed, but it showed Highway 20 ending at Route 2. We parked on a nearby street with attractive brownstone residences and offices — all owned by Boston University — then walked west along busy Commonwealth Avenue. In about two blocks, Nancy saw a sign mounted at the intersection of Commonwealth and Beacon Street: “End 20.”

This spot is in the heart of Kenmore Square (really more of a triangle). It’s the site of a lot of road construction this summer. I pulled out the video camera (see the video below) to record the moment. Red Sox fans walking toward Fenway Park two blocks away, cars going through the intersection and some commentary by Nancy, who is happy I’ve gotten Highway 20 out of my system.

Here’s some other tidbits about U.S. 20 that I found in Wikipedia:

At 3,365 miles, it’s the longest road in the U.S.
In addition to Oregon and Massachusetts, it goes through parts of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.
The Oregon section of Highway 20 comprises seven highways, including the Corvallis-Newport Highway No. 33 and the Albany-Corvallis Highway 31.
Until 1940, the western endpoint of U.S. 20 was the east entrance to Yellowstone National Park.

The US Route 20 Blog homepage can be found here.

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