Roads are an integral part of the American experience. They bring people together in a literal sense, but also through their stories. In certain circumstances a road may even capture a unique cross section of America. Highway 89, forming the backbone of the Intermountain West, is just such a road. It is vitally important to Utah state tourism, chambers of commerce, state and regional historians, as well as to those who live along its route. However, due to geographic and sometimes cultural distances the full story of US 89 has yet to be told.
While U.S. 89 has hardly received the nostalgic attention given fabled thoroughfares like Route 66 or the Lincoln Highway, it is nevertheless central to the identity of the American West. It travels from high mountains to low desert; across five states: Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana; and through or adjacent to seven national parks: Saguaro, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier. It is no wonder that University of Wisconsin geographer Thomas R. Vale once called U.S. 89 “a cross section of the West.”
This digital collection contains material from Utah State University's Special Collections and Archives and is part of a larger, collaborative digital exhibit created by Western libraries and archives to capture Highway 89’s storied past through the digitization of photographs, manuscripts, and printed items. To explore the digital exhibit go to www.highway89.org
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