Historic U.S. Highway 65: Stevens Street, Albert Lea
Stevens Street, Albert Lea
Located: On the east side of Albert Lea, north of modern U.S. 65 between Ulstad Avenue and the junction with County Road 46 (old U.S. 16).
Historic Context: 1st Generation Paved Trunk Highway, built as part of the original constitutional route system.
Length: 0.9 miles
Constructed: Road graded in 1928, graveled in 1929, paved with 20' of concrete in 1930.
Bypassed: 1955, by construction of the current divided highway to the south.
Status: Intact, repaved with asphalt. Some original concrete exposed at the northeast end.
Access: Public, now a city street. West end connected to modern U.S. 65 at Ulstad Avenue. Several other access points.
More U.S. 65 Articles
North >> Old 65 Between Albert Lea and Geneva
A nearly one mile length of the first-generation paved highway on the east side of Albert Lea survives to the north of modern U.S. 65. Aside from being repaved, the road is intact. However, the area surrounding the road has changed due to the build-up of a retail strip along the divided highway still in use by U.S. 65.
The road was originally built in 1928 as the permanent highway for Constitutional Routes 1 and 9 (which shared the road with U.S. 65 and U.S. 16 respectively). The first pavement was 20 feet of portland cement concrete, poured in 1930.
The road was replaced by the current divided highway in 1955. Right-of-way maps from the time show that the area was still at the edge of town. The road was lined with a few small farms, a smattering of houses, and a single motel at its west end at Fenton Avenue (lost). After it was bypassed, the area between the new and old highways was filled in by a retail strip.
Taken by the author in July, 2010.
The southwest end of the old highway, looking northeast from Ulstad Avenue, with modern U.S. 65 on the right. Note the abrupt change in road width just behind my trusty civic, showing where the surviving highway begins.
Approaching the northeast end of the old highway. The north side of the old road is lined with trees and small homes, while the south side gives you wonderful views of the dumpsters of motels.
The dead-end at the northwest end of the old road. Ahead and to the right is U.S. 65's junction with County Road 45, formerly U.S. 16. The ramps and overpass bridge date from the mid 1950's (the previous junction, built in the late 1920's, was on the same site). The road in the foreground formerly curved to the left just past the barriers, merging onto what is now southbound U.S. 65.
Close-up view of the exposed original concrete pavement from 1930, of which only half has survived. Also note the very old looking barriers, possibly placed here back in 1955 when the old highway was bypassed. Note - the silver civic in the back ground is NOT mine. I did not park on the divided highway to take this picture.
- Construction Project Log Record: Control Section 2403.
- Construction Plan: State Projects 2403-05 and 2405-02, approved June 21, 1954.
- Right-of-way map 13-B.