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

Photo Tour, Part 3 - Sandstone to Moose Lake

Old Highway 61 - Sandstone to Moose Lake

Located In: Carlton and Pine Counties.

Bypassed: 1967

Length: 24.08 Miles.

Type: Modernized highway.

Status: Almost entirely intact. Rebuilt at: two junctions with I-35, at the Hwy 23/Co Rd 64 jct in Sandstone, and at the jct. with Hwy 73 in Moose Lake.

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

Retired in 1967, this stretch crosses paths with I-35 twice, once at either end of the town of Sandstone. It also passes through the towns of Rutledge, Willow River, and Sturgeon Lake.

At Sandstone

The above map shows the path of U.S. 61 at the Highway 23 /Sandstone exit upon the retirement of the old route towards Hinckley in 1965. U.S. 61 was moved onto I-35 north of the exit in 1967.

Just east of exit 191, Old Highway 61 becomes State Highway 23, which follows the old highway north to the junction with Highway 18 (Highway 23 was concurrent with 61 on this stretch for many years before the construction of the interstate). Also note the sign indicating the city limits of Sandstone ahead.

Approaching the junction with Highway 123.

At the junction with Highway 123 in Sandstone. Highway 123 was the original alignment of Highway 23 into Sandstone from 1934 until about 1946.

On Old Highway 61 / Hwy 23 in Sandstone. U.S. 61's route has always bypassed Sandstone's main business district in order to avoid an at-grade rail crossing (the tracks run parallel and just to the east of the highway here).

At the intersection with Oak Street / Co Rd 64 in Sandstone. The road ahead originally curved to the north to favor through traffic on its way to Duluth. It was rebuilt at some point in the last 20 years, most likely to improve safety. Highway 23 continues to follow U.S. 61's old route by turning left.

Driving north out of Sandstone.

The classic "61 Motel" on the north end of Sandstone, on the west side of Old Highway 61.

A Mn/DOT truck station on the east side of Old Highway 61 just north of Sandstone. The stone construction of the design is reminiscent of the historic markers and other structures constructed by the Department of Highways from the mid 1930's onward.

The Junction of Highways 23 and 18

Approaching the junction with State Highway 18 north of Sandstone.

Direction signage.

At what is now the junction of Highways 23 and 18. This was previously U.S. 61's north junction with Highway 23 (Veterans Evergreen Memorial Drive) from 1946 until 1967. Before about 1946, the turn to the right was onto State Route 66. Highway 18 continues straight ahead along U.S. 61's old route.

From late 1962 to early 1963 U.S. 61 used the short stretch of Highway 23 between here and I-35 as a temporary connection when it was prematurely moved onto the interstate between the north and south highway 23 exits (see map above).

On Highway 18

Highway 18 was extended south over Old 61 for about 1.5 miles to maintain a connection with Highway 23 after U.S. 61 was moved onto I-35 in 1967. The above photo shows what is now the junction with County Road 61 at what was once U.S. 61's junction with Highway 18 from 1961 until 1967. Highway 18 was originally marked as part of State Route 66 between 1934 and 1961. U.S. 61's route continues straight ahead onto County Road 61.

Rutledge to the Carlton County Line

Mileage to Rutledge and Willow River on County Road 61.

Entering the city limits of Rutledge, the first town north of Sandstone.

Central Rutledge.

Entering Willow River.

Willow River.

The Junction with Highway 73 at Moose Lake

Like Pine County, Carlton County also chose to mark its portions of Old 61 as "County Road 61". The above photo shows the old highway entering Moose Lake.

The junction of County Road 61 with Highway 73 in Moose Lake. This intersection was built in 1966, bypassing the old curve to the north into Moose Lake (U.S. 61 turned left here into Moose Lake from 1966 until 1967, see map below for an overview). The intersection was built as part of the construction of a business loop to connect traffic between I-35 and central Moose Lake

>> Continue to Part 4 - Moose Lake to Carlton County Road 5 (Otter Creek)

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