Cyrus Avery

Last updated
Cyrus Stevens Avery
Born(1871-08-31)August 31, 1871
DiedJuly 2, 1963(1963-07-02) (aged 91)
Resting placeRose Hill Cemetery, Tulsa
36°09′43″N95°55′30″W / 36.162°N 95.925°W / 36.162; -95.925
MonumentsAvery Drive, Cyrus Avery Route 66 Memorial Bridge and Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza in Tulsa
ResidenceTulsa, Oklahoma
Citizenship American
Education baccalaureate
Alma mater William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri
Occupationbusinessperson, oilman, highway commissioner
OrganizationOklahoma State Highway Commission
Known for U.S. Route 66 and the U.S. Highway 66 Association
Home town Tulsa, Oklahoma
Spouse(s)Essie McClelland
ChildrenGordon Avery, Leighton Avery, Helen Avery Berghell, US Route 66
Parent(s)Alexander James Avery and Ruie Stevens Avery

Cyrus Stevens Avery (1871–1963) was known as the "Father of Route 66". He created the route while a member of the federal board appointed to create the Federal Highway System, then pushed for the establishment of the U.S. Highway 66 Association to pave and promote the highway.

The U.S. Highway 66 Association was organized in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1927. Its purpose was to get U.S. Highway 66 paved from end to end and to promote tourism on the highway.

Contents

Early life and move to Oklahoma

He was born in Stevensville, Pennsylvania on August 31, 1871. He and his parents, Alexander James Avery and Ruie Stevens Avery moved to Missouri in 1881. [2] In 1890, the family moved to Noel, Missouri, where Cyrus received a certificate to teach in public schools. In 1893, he enrolled in William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1897. [1] [3] He married Essie McClelland after graduation, [4] then moved to Oklahoma City to be an insurance agent. In 1904, he moved to Vinita in Indian Territory, where he expanded into real estate loans and invested in the oil industry, establishing the Avery Oil & Gas Company. [2] In 1907, he moved again to Tulsa. He bought a farm near Tulsa in 1908, where he raised Holstein and Ayshire cattle, Druoc hogs, Shopshire sheep, and Percheron horses. In the following year, he established a 1,400 acres (570 ha) farm northeast of Tulsa for diversified agriculture. [1] Cyrus had three children with Essie: sons Gordon Avery and Leighton Avery, and daughter Helen Avery Berghell. [5]

Stevensville, Pennsylvania Unincorporated community in Pennsylvania, United States

Stevensville is an unincorporated community in Stevens Township, Bradford County, Pennsylvania, United States.

Missouri State of the United States of America

Missouri is a state in the Midwestern United States. With over six million residents, it is the 18th-most populous state of the Union. The largest urban areas are St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia; the capital is Jefferson City. The state is the 21st-most extensive in area. In the South are the Ozarks, a forested highland, providing timber, minerals, and recreation. The Missouri River, after which the state is named, flows through the center of the state into the Mississippi River, which makes up Missouri's eastern border.

Noel, Missouri City in Missouri, United States

Noel is a village in McDonald County, Missouri, United States, along the Elk River. The population was 1,832 at the 2010 census. It is part of the Fayetteville–Springdale–Rogers Metropolitan Area. It is home to a large population of Muslim Somali and Sudanese refugees, many of whom work at a Tyson Foods chicken-processing plant.

Avery and the creation of a national highway system

Interest in highway systems

Avery realized that an interstate system of highways would help his adopted city and state prosper. He became impressed with the Good Roads Movement going on in Missouri and joined the Oklahoma Good Roads Association. He also served as president of the Albert Pike Highway Association from 1917 to 1927. [2] He was elected chairman of the Tulsa County Commission, serving from 1913 to 1916, and is considered responsible for the construction of the Eleventh Street Bridge, [lower-alpha 1] which replaced an older wooden bridge across the Arkansas River. [6] He also began pushing for a statewide improvement of roads. He eventually became involved in the creation of the Ozarks Trails, a system of roads connecting St. Louis and Amarillo, Texas. After working with creating more roads, he was elected president of the Associated Highway Associations of America. In 1923, he was appointed to the Oklahoma State Highway Commission, where he implemented a gasoline tax to fund the highway department. [2]

Good Roads Movement movement in the United States

The Good Roads Movement occurred in the United States between the late 1870s and the 1920s. Advocates for improved roads led by bicyclists turned local agitation into a national political movement.

Amarillo, Texas City in Texas, United States

Amarillo is the 14th-most populous city in the state of Texas, United States. It is also the largest city in the Texas Panhandle, and the seat of Potter County. A portion of the city extends into Randall County. The estimated population was 199,826 as of 2017. The Amarillo metropolitan area has an estimated population of 276,020 in four counties as of 2017. The metro population is projected to surpass 310,000 in 2020.

Texas State of the United States of America

Texas is the second largest state in the United States by both area and population. Geographically located in the South Central region of the country, Texas shares borders with the U.S. states of Louisiana to the east, Arkansas to the northeast, Oklahoma to the north, New Mexico to the west, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León, and Tamaulipas to the southwest, while the Gulf of Mexico is to the southeast.

He became instrumental in pushing for a federal level of good roads. In 1925, the United States Secretary of Agriculture appointed him to the Joint Board of Interstate Highways, which was to designate the new federal highways and mark them. [2]

One of the routes requested by Congress was a road running from Virginia Beach, Virginia to Los Angeles, California. This road would follow what is now U.S. Highway 60 from Virginia Beach to Springfield, Missouri, continue west to Joplin, across southern Kansas, Colorado, Utah, turning south to Las Vegas, Nevada, then further south and west to Los Angeles. Avery successfully argued that to avoid the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains, the road should turn south through Tulsa and Oklahoma City, continue west across the Texas Panhandle, New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California. His suggestion that this highway should go east from Springfield to St. Louis and Chicago, Illinois, as commerce naturally continued in that direction, was also adopted.

Virginia Beach, Virginia Independent city in Virginia

Virginia Beach is an independent city located on the southeastern coast of the Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. As of the 2010 census, the population was 437,994. In 2015, the population was estimated to be 452,745. In 2017 the estimated population was 450,435. Although mostly suburban in character, it is the most populous city in Virginia and the 41st most populous city in the nation. Located on the Atlantic Ocean at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia Beach is included in the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. This area, known as "America's First Region", also includes the independent cities of Chesapeake, Hampton, Newport News, Norfolk, Portsmouth, and Suffolk, as well as other smaller cities, counties, and towns of Hampton Roads.

California State of the United States of America

California is a state in the Pacific Region of the United States. With 39.6 million residents, California is the most populous U.S. state and the third-largest by area. The state capital is Sacramento. The Greater Los Angeles Area and the San Francisco Bay Area are the nation's second and fifth most populous urban regions, with 18.7 million and 9.7 million residents respectively. Los Angeles is California's most populous city, and the country's second most populous, after New York City. California also has the nation's most populous county, Los Angeles County, and its largest county by area, San Bernardino County. The City and County of San Francisco is both the country's second-most densely populated major city after New York City and the fifth-most densely populated county, behind only four of the five New York City boroughs.

Springfield, Missouri City in Missouri, United States

Springfield is the third-largest city in the state of Missouri and the county seat of Greene County. As of the 2010 census, its population was 159,498. As of 2017, the Census Bureau estimated its population at 167,376. It is the principal city of the Springfield metropolitan area, which has a population of 462,369 and includes the counties of Christian, Dallas, Greene, Polk, Webster.

After the highways were routed, the group decided not to name the highways (as had been done by many non-profit groups which were currently connecting various state routes into longer multi-state and transcontinental routes), but instead to follow the pattern of numbering the highways, as established in Wisconsin and Missouri. The current east-west routes would be even numbers, and the north-south would be odd. Major routes would be one- or two-digit numbers ending in either "1" or "0" depending on the route. To avoid a "U.S. 0", U.S. Highway 2 was treated as a "0" highway and U.S. Route 101 would be treated as a two-digit highway to expand the number of available routes north-south. Avery, arguing that the Chicago to Los Angeles route would be a major highway, numbered the highway US 60. This received support from Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas, and Missouri. It was outright attacked by a delegation from Kentucky.

Wisconsin A north-central state of the United States of America

Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States, in the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin is the 23rd largest state by total area and the 20th most populous. The state capital is Madison, and its largest city is Milwaukee, which is located on the western shore of Lake Michigan. The state is divided into 72 counties.

U.S. Route 2 highway in the United States

U.S. Route 2 or U.S. Highway 2 (US 2) is an east–west U.S. Highway spanning 2,571 miles (4,138 km) across the northern continental United States. US 2 consists of two segments connected by various roadways in southern Canada. Unlike some routes, which are disconnected into segments because of encroaching Interstate Highways, the two portions of US 2 were designed to be separate in the original 1926 highway plan.

U.S. Route 101 highway in the United States

U.S. Route 101, or U.S. Highway 101 (US 101) is a north–south United States Numbered Highway that runs through the states of California, Oregon, and Washington, on the West Coast of the United States. It is also known as El Camino Real where its route along the southern and central California coast approximates the old trail which linked the Spanish missions, pueblos, and presidios. It merges at some points with California State Route 1 (SR 1).

U.S. 60 vs. U.S. 62

The Virginia Beach–Springfield route had been designated as U.S. 62 and actually terminated south of Ozark, Missouri at U.S. Highway 65. Kentucky would be the only state without a "0" highway. They countered Avery's US route by pushing for US 60 to run between Virginia Beach and Los Angeles; the Springfield to Chicago section could be "U.S. 60 North". Avery returned with "U.S. 60 South" for the Springfield–Virginia Beach alignment. Kentucky threatened to walk completely out of the new highway system (individual states could not be forced to participate in it). Finally, Kentucky offered a compromise: connect their highway with Avery's in Springfield and give their highway the number 60. Avery could have his Chicago–Los Angeles highway if he would accept the number 62 which was originally assigned to their road. Avery disliked the number 62, found out 66 was not used, and designated the Chicago–Los Angeles highway as U.S. 66. In 1926, the Federal Highway System was approved by Congress. With this done, Congress also de-certified all the old "association" highways.

Avery and the U.S. 66 Association

In 1927, Avery pushed for the creation of the U.S. Highway 66 Association to promote paving U.S. 66 and promote travel on the highway. He was elected Vice President in 1929. [1] Cyrus had three children with Essie: sons Gordon Avery and Leighton Avery, and daughter Helen Avery Berghell. [5] He got a business connection in Springfield (MO) appointed as president. In the 1930s, Avery would attempt to have himself elected president of the organization, but he never succeeded.

Death

Essie Avery died in October, 1962. [1] Cyrus Avery died in Los Angeles, California on July 2, 1963, [1] [2] and was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery in Tulsa. [7] Avery Drive, a street in southwest Tulsa, was named for him. [3]

Honors

In 1997, the National Historic Route 66 Federation established a Cyrus Avery Award, which has been presented variously to individuals for outstanding creativity in depicting Route 66, [1] [8] and to organizations for noteworthy preservation projects. [1] [9]

In 2004, the City of Tulsa, Oklahoma renamed the Eleventh Street Bridge (which carried US 66 over the Arkansas River), the Cyrus Avery Route 66 Memorial Bridge in his honor. [1]

In late 2012, artist Robert Summers unveiled "East Meets West", a sculpture in Cyrus Avery Centennial Plaza at Southwest Boulevard at Riverside Drive in Tulsa. [10] The detailed 135%-scale bronze depicts Avery stopping his Ford on the 11th Street Bridge as the vehicle frightened two horses pulling a wagon laden with oil barrels. [11]

Notes

  1. This bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is now closed to both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. [6]

Related Research Articles

U.S. Route 66 former US highway between Chicago and Los Angeles

U.S. Route 66, also known as the Will Rogers Highway, the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, was one of the original highways in the U.S. Highway System. US 66 was established on November 11, 1926, with road signs erected the following year. The highway, which became one of the most famous roads in the United States, originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona before ending in Santa Monica in Los Angeles County, California, covering a total of 2,448 miles (3,940 km). It was recognized in popular culture by both the hit song "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" and the Route 66 television show in the 1960s. In John Steinbeck's classic American novel, The Grapes of Wrath (1939), the road, "Highway 66", was turned into a powerful symbol of escape and loss.

Interstate 44 Interstate mostly in Oklahoma and Missouri

Interstate 44 (I-44) is a major Interstate Highway in the central United States. Although it is nominally an east-west road as it is even-numbered, it follows a more southwest-northeast alignment. Its western terminus is in Wichita Falls, Texas at a concurrency with U.S. Route 277 (US 277), US 281, and U.S. Route 287 in Texas; its eastern terminus is at I-70 in St. Louis, Missouri. I-44 is one of five interstates built to bypass U.S. Route 66; this highway covers the section between Oklahoma City and St. Louis.

Custer County, Oklahoma County in the United States

Custer County is a county located in the U.S. state of Oklahoma. As of the 2010 census, the population was 27,469. Its county seat is Arapaho. The county was named in honor of General George Armstrong Custer.

League of American Bicyclists non-profit organisation in the USA

The League of American Bicyclists (LAB), officially the League of American Wheelmen, is a membership organization that promotes cycling for fun, fitness and transportation through advocacy and education. A Section 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, the League is one of the largest membership organizations of cyclists in the United States.

U.S. Route 412 highway in the United States

U.S. Route 412 is an east–west United States highway, first commissioned in 1982. Its route number is a "violation" of the usual AASHTO numbering scheme, as it comes nowhere near its implied "parent", US 12. U.S. 412 overlaps expressway-grade Cimarron Turnpike from Tulsa west to Interstate 35 and the Cherokee Turnpike from 5 miles (8.0 km) east of Chouteau, Oklahoma, to 8 miles (13 km) west of the Arkansas state line. A curiosity of this highway is that it runs the entire length of the Oklahoma Panhandle and traverses the Missouri Bootheel.

U.S. Route 60 highway in the United States

U.S. Route 60 (US 60) is an east–west United States highway, traveling 2,670 mi (4,300 km) from southwestern Arizona to the Atlantic coast in Virginia. Despite the final "0" in its number, indicating a transcontinental designation, the 1926 route formerly ended in Springfield, Missouri, at its intersection with the major US 66. In fact, US 66 was almost given the US 60 number.

U.S. Route 166 (US 166) is a 164-mile (264 km) west–east United States highway. This route and US-266 are the only two remaining spurs of historic U.S. Route 66, since US-666 was renumbered to US-491 in 2003.

St. Louis–San Francisco Railway defunct American Class I railway

The St. Louis–San Francisco Railway, also known as the Frisco, was a railroad that operated in the Midwest and South Central U.S. from 1876 to April 17, 1980. At the end of 1970 it operated 4,547 miles (7,318 km) of road on 6,574 miles (10,580 km) of track, not including subsidiaries Quanah, Acme and Pacific Railway or the Alabama, Tennessee and Northern Railroad; that year it reported 12,795 million ton-miles of revenue freight and no passengers. It was purchased and absorbed into the Burlington Northern Railroad in 1980. Despite its name, it never came close to San Francisco.

Route 43 is a highway in western Missouri. Its northern terminus is at U.S. Route 54 midway between Nevada and Deerfield. Its southern terminus is at the corner of Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma where it continues down the Arkansas/Oklahoma state line as both Arkansas Highway 43 and Oklahoma State Highway 20.

U.S. Route 66 is a former east–west United States Numbered Highway, running from Santa Monica, California to Chicago, Illinois. In Missouri, the highway ran from downtown St. Louis at the Mississippi River to the Kansas state line west of Joplin. The highway was originally Route 14 from St. Louis to Joplin and Route 1F from Joplin to Kansas. It underwent two major realignments and several lesser realignments in the cities of St. Louis, Springfield, and Joplin. Current highways covering several miles of the former highway include Route 100, Route 366, Route 266, Route 96, and Route 66. Interstate 44 (I-44) approximates much of US 66 between St. Louis and Springfield.

The historic U.S. Route 66, also known as the Will Rogers Highway after Oklahoma native Will Rogers, ran from west to northeast across the state of Oklahoma, along the path now taken by Interstate 40 (I-40) and State Highway 66 (SH-66). It passed through Oklahoma City, Tulsa, and many smaller communities. West of the Oklahoma City area, it has been largely replaced by I-40; the few independent portions that are still state-maintained are now I-40 Business. However, from Oklahoma City northeast to Kansas, the bypassing I-44 is mostly a toll road, and SH-66 remains as a free alternate.

There have been 22 special routes of U.S. Route 66.

The Four State Area or Quad State Area, is the area where the states of Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri and Oklahoma touch. The Tulsa, Oklahoma; Joplin, Missouri; and Fayetteville-Springdale-Rogers, Arkansas metropolitan areas are located within the region. Notable cities and towns in the area are Tulsa, and Miami, Oklahoma; Pittsburg, Kansas; Joplin, Springfield, and Monett, Missouri; and Fayetteville, Springdale, Rogers and Bentonville, Arkansas.

A total of eight special routes of U.S. Route 65 exist, divided between the U.S. states of Arkansas and Missouri. Currently, they are all business loops, although a spur route in Pine Bluff, Arkansas and bypass routes in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Springfield, Missouri both existed in the past.

11th Street Bridge bridge in United States of America

The 11th Street Bridge was completed in December 1915 to carry vehicles across the Arkansas River at Tulsa, Oklahoma. Used from 1916 to 1972, it was also a part of U.S. Route 66. Functionally, it has been replaced by the I-244 bridges across the Arkansas. At present, the bridge is in poor structural condition and unsafe even for pedestrians. In 2008, the gates were locked to exclude all visitors.

U.S. Bicycle Route 66 (USBR 66) is a United States Bicycle Route that follows the former U.S. Route 66 (US 66) across the United States. The first section of the route, spanning 358 miles (576 km) from between Baxter Springs, Kansas, and St. Louis, Missouri, was designated as USBR 66 in 2018. The rest of the route remains proposed but un-designated.

References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 Cyrus StevensAvery (1871 - 1963), Oklahoma State University, The Cyrus S. Stevens Collection." Accessed July 8, 2015.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Everett, Dianna. Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History & Culture: Cyrus Stevens Avery. Retrieved July 25, 2011.
  3. 1 2 "History of Southwest Tulsa." Chapter Seven:Historic Route 66. Available on Google Books.
  4. "The Father of Route 66." Retrieved July 24, 2011
  5. 1 2 "Daughter of Route 66 Innovator Dies." Retrieved September 20, 2007
  6. 1 2 National Park Service, "11th Street Arkansas River Bridge Tulsa, Oklahoma."
  7. "Find a grave: Cyrus Stevens Avery."Retrieved July 24, 2011.
  8. Archived July 3, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
  9. Archived October 8, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  10. "Southwest Boulevard lanes to be closed for Route 66 statue assembly". Tulsa World. 2012-10-26. Retrieved 2012-11-06.
  11. "New Sculpture Along Route 66 In Tulsa Nearing Completion". KOTV News On 6, Tulsa OK. October 26, 2012. Retrieved 2012-11-05.