Albany Avenue, Rice County

March 25, 2009

Today we have another set of photos from “Highway Explorer”, this time of a stretch of old highway in the northeastern corner of Rice County. This road, now labeled on maps as Albany Avenue, was once part of State Highway 165. However, its history goes back a bit further. (See below for a map of the south end of the old alignment).


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The first road in this area was the historic Dodd Road, a path blazed between St. Paul and St. Peter in the mid 1850’s. By the early 1920’s, the stretch of Dodd Road  in northeast Rice County had ceased to be an important long-distance route. A 1921 auto trails map doesn’t even show it.  Construction records show that the road was graveled (and presumably graded) as a county job in 1924. Construction plans show the road as “State Road 25”,  which in today’s terms would be a County State Aid Highway. The road was eventually added to the trunk highway system in 1934 as part of the new State Highway 165, a route connecting Faribault and Lakeville as an alternate to U.S. 65, bypassing Northfield.

What is now Albany Avenue remained in use until 1947, when a new grade was constructed just to the east, leaving it  behind as a local road, shown on later construction plans as County Road 98.  The new grade  was paved in 1949, and eventually became U.S. 65 in 1956.  In 1964, I-35 was constructed just to the west. The bit of the south end of Albany Avenue was destroyed by the new freeway.

Today, the old highway remains gravel, just as it was back in 1924.  Bridge #3978, a 20 foot concrete slab structure constructed in 1923 by the Department of Highways over Chub Creek, still survives today. The old road also passes by an historic church and through the unincorporated town of Hazelwood. It is now accessible at both ends via Rice County Road 46, which now occupies the old two-lane alignment of U.S. 65.

Looking north down Albany Avenue towards bridge #3978 over Chub Creek.

Looking north down Albany Avenue towards bridge #3978 over Chub Creek.

The dedication plaque of bridge 3978. Note how the "M" in Minnesota is upside down!!

The dedication plaque of bridge 3978. Note how the "M" in Minnesota is upside down!!

Signs of the grade predating Albany Avenue, possibly remains of the historic Dodd Road, exist just to the east. The grade leads to the old crossing of Chub Creek.

Looking north at what appears to be the remains of the grade of the historic Dodd Road, just to the east of Albany Avenue off its southern connection to County Road 46. The grade leads to the old crossing of Chub Creek.

The remains of the footings of an even earlier bridge over Chub Creek are still visible at the end of the old grade.

The remains of the footings of an earlier bridge over Chub Creek are still visible at the end of the old grade.

Construction dates and info were taken from construction project logs and plans available from MnDOT. The path of the Dodd Road was determined using historic land survey maps from the 1850’s, available here

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