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As It Was: Winnemucca to the Sea Route Links Nevada to California


In the 1950s, businessmen in Nevada and Southern Oregon envisioned a highway link from the sage brush of Winnemucca to the seashore of Crescent City, Calif.  They called it the Winnemucca to the Sea Highway.

Winnemucca, population about 8,000, hoped a modern highway would attract tourists and truck traffic to the Pacific Coast, passing on the way to Crescent City through Lakeview, Klamath Falls, Medford, and Grants Pass.   

The original proposal was for a single highway named Route 140.  Improvements were made along the way, but the final 494-mile route links seven highways: U.S. 95, state Route 140, U.S. 395, state Route 62, Interstate 5, U.S. 199 and U.S. 101.

A dedication of the route was held on Sept. 22, 1962, at Doherty Slide, a steep incline on Route 140 east of Lakeview that even today intimidates motorists with precipitous drop-offs and no guard rails.  About 450 people, including 50 from Klamath Falls, attended the dedication, emceed by J. Verne Owens of Klamath Falls.

Winnemucca dedicated a “Gateway to the Pacific Northwest” highway marker in 1965 that features a driftwood log 13 feet in diameter that washed ashore in Crescent City. 


Sources: Ryczkowski, John. "Winnemucca to the Sea Highway."  Winnemucca Convention & Visitors Authority, www.winnemucca.com/visitors-activities/winnemucca-to-the-sea-highway; "Ribbon Cutting Officially Opens Winnemucca to the Sea Route." Herald and News, 23 Sept. 1962 [Klamath Falls, Ore.], p. 1.