old61 Historic U.S. 61: Old Highway 61 - Wyoming to the St. Louis County Line

Photo Tour, Part 2 - Pine City to Sandstone

Old Highway 61 - Pine City to Sandstone

Located In: Pine County.

Bypassed: 1965

Length: 23.44 miles

Type: Modernized highway.

Status: Mostly intact, modified at exit 180 (MN 23 / Mora exit) during I-35 construction.

View Map Key Old Highway 61 is shown in light blue, I-35 in dark blue, and all temporary connections in orange.

The stretch of Old 61 between Pine City and Sandstone was retired in 1965, making it the first section to be permanently moved onto the Interstate. This stretch passes through the towns of Pine City, Beroun and Hinckley, and crosses paths with I-35 once at the exit 180 interchange (the south Highway 23 / Mora exit), where the old route has been heavily modified.

Pine City

The remains of an old service station on old Highway 61 in Pine City, just south of the Snake River.

Crossing the Snake River. The old bridge used by U.S. 61 was replaced in 1976.

Wood carving just north of the Snake River.

Old Pine City Wayside

The old Pine City wayside rest, on the east side of Old Highway 61 on the north bank of the Snake River, constructed in 1954/55.

Close-up of the Pine City historic marker.

Beroun and the Old Junction with Highway 23

Old Highway 61 through the unincorporated town of Beroun, the next stop north of Pine City.

At the junction with County Road 16, a few miles north of Beroun. On the left side of the highway is the site of the original junction with State Highway 23 from 1926 to 1955.

The barely visible remains of the old south leg of the junction with Highway 23. The junction was moved north to the site of the current Highway 23 exit (#180) in 1955.

At Exit 180 (Highway 23 / Mora Exit)

Approaching I-35 south of Hinckley. This is the first point where the the old highway has been disrupted by the construction of I-35. Note how the road has been rebuilt to curve sharply to the left towards the freeway. A remaining portion of the highway can also be seen continuing straight ahead into the distance. The reworking of the roads here took place as part of construction on the first section of I-35 between the Twin Cities and Duluth, starting in 1959. Ahead is also the site of the south junction with Highway 23 from 1955 until the construction of the interstate (see map below for an overview).

The turquoise line represents U.S. 61's path before construction began on I-35. The orange line represents the temporary road in use from 1959 until 1965.

A bit further up before the curve, showing trailblazer signage for the junction with I-35 and Highway 23.

The small remaining piece of the highway north of the curve can be accessed by making the first right turn before the exit 180 interchange. It dead-ends at the embankment below I-35, just north of Bear Road.

Approaching the interchange.

More route signage, showing Highway 23 eastbound getting onto I-35 (it formerly followed County Road 61 into Hinckley until 2001). U.S. 61 also once got onto I-35 here for a short time between late 1962 and early 1963. It was restored to its old route into Hinckley shortly thereafter (see map below).

Looking west after passing over I-35, where the road becomes State Highway 23. The right turn onto County Road 61 is just ahead. This is the first critical turn needed to follow Old Highway 61 (continuing straight ahead leads you to Mora).

County 61 follows the temporary connection constructed in about 1959, and reconnects with the old route into Hinckley at the bridge over a set of railroad tracks.


Entering the city limits of Hinckley.

At the intersection with Fire Monument Road in Hinckley, the former junction with State Highway 48 from 1934 until 1965.

Hinckley Fire Historic Marker

The old Hinckley Fire historic marker, on the east side of Old Highway 61 just north of the Grindstone River, constructed in 1939 by the National Youth Administration. The original plaque has been replaced, and the benches have been removed..

A postcard showing the marker as it originally looked.

The Road to Sandstone

Looking north down Old 61 from the fire marker, with a sign indicating the mileage to Sandstone and Duluth.

About nine miles north of Hinckley the old highway curves to the east and encounters I-35 for the second time.

>> Continue to Part 3 - Sandstone to Moose Lake

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