We are excited and honored to be part of celebrating Arizona's Centennial
Oracle, AZ (Vocus) March 10, 2010
Arizona will celebrate 100 years of statehood in 2012. To demonstrate the vitality, quality and diversity of the state, communities and organizations are undertaking projects to establish a legacy for the future. James and Barbara Cowlin’s US Route 89 Project was endorsed by the Arizona Historical Advisory Commission as an official Centennial Legacy Project at its February meeting.
The US Route 89 Project seeks to document this important highway with photographs and stories. US 89 extends from Nogales on the Mexican border to the border with Canada. Along the way, travelers can visit over twenty national parks and monuments that depict the landscape, history and culture of the American west.
“We are excited and honored to be part of celebrating Arizona’s Centennial,” says James Cowlin. “US Route 89 is significant in the development of the unique character of Arizona and we are proud to be preserving this legacy for future generations to enjoy.”
In southern Arizona, Saguaro National Park introduces visitors to the Sonoran Desert and the mountain ranges that dominate its landscape. In northern Arizona on the Colorado Plateau lies one of the natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon. In between, travelers on highway 89 can visit Indian reservations, the archaeological remnants of prehistoric native cultures, Spanish missions, extinct volcanoes and numerous historic towns.
All of this geography, history and culture is being carefully documented on the US Route 89 website. The site includes Road Trip Guides with detailed descriptions of the road, lists of special attractions, towns and cities, public lands and landmarks. The guides also include galleries of photographs by James Cowlin with captions that tell the story of the people and places along the road.
The US Route 89 Project is privately funded through corporate sponsors, such as the law firm of Snell and Wilmer, and members of the US Route 89 Appreciation Society. Many cultural and civic organizations have become part of the Appreciation Society including the Desert Caballeros Western Museum in Wickenburg, the Grand Canyon Association and the Page-Lake Powell Tourism Bureau. The Society publishes a monthly e-mail newsletter, e-books and magazines. Unique 89-themed gifts are for sale online in The 89 Store.
The importance of the road that became US Route 89 goes back to early territorial days. One of the first roads authorized by the Territorial Legislature was a wagon road connecting Phoenix and Prescott through Wickenburg. With statehood in 1912, the State Legislature passed the first state road law. In 1917 the Legislature authorized the State Engineer to enter into contracts with the federal government under the Federal Aid Road Act. Federal Aid Project No. 1 was repair of the Gila River Bridge near Florence on historic highway 89.
The Federal Highway Act of 1921 allocated matching funds to improve or construct seven percent of the highways in each state with the requirement that these roads connect at state boundaries. Arizona proposed a total of 1,498 miles of roads including 165 miles from Ash Fork to Phoenix and 64 miles between Tucson and Nogales which became US Highway 89 along with a cosigned section of US Highway 80 from Tucson to Florence to Phoenix. This established the connecting road for the major population centers of Tucson, Phoenix, Prescott and Flagstaff facilitating commerce and promoting recreational travel.
The US Route 89 Appreciation Society is a resource for planning a western road trip vacation and a place for sharing stories and photographs of this unique highway. It is part of the “slow road” movement that encourages travel on the two-lane roads that lead to the heart and soul of America. For more information, visit http://us89society.org/. Media Contact: James Cowlin, 602-944-3286, jim at us89society dot org.