A conundrum...

Of all the old highways any of us have tried to locate the ends of, Iowa Highway 395 wins hands down for difficulty. With the other spur routes, the only thing we were unsure of was the intersection in the town the spur ended at, and usually we have been able to narrow it down to two options. With 395, I'm not even sure which direction it ran in.

1974 / 1980 / 1981

At left, this 1974 map shows Marshall County highways as they appeared, more or less, until 1989, with the exception of 395's decommissioning in 1983. On this map, 395 is marked as going north-south, just west of what is now S62. The 1980 county map shows 395 running north-south, and that agrees with the 1980 route log. BUT... the 1976, 1977, and 1981 maps show an east-west alignment. The blue line beneath 395 is gravel E63, which is still gravel today, indicating 395 was north of it. I thought that perhaps the alignment changed in 1974, but the 1980 map clearly marks it just as it was before that. The general consensus of Mark Odor, Jason Hancock, and myself is that 395 was a north-south highway, but to be on the safe side, I have pictures from three different termini.

NORTH End: Stop sign, IA 330, Marshall County

Facing northeast, but heading north, on 330

This location is to the south-southwest of where the road for 395 intersected 330 because of four-laning.

Facing southwest, but heading south, on 330

This is closer to the end because at this point, the southbound lanes are the old lanes. Just ahead, the old roadbed shifts to the northbound lanes.

SOUTH End (1980-83): City limits of Melbourne, Marshall County

Facing north on the edge of town (2005)

The darker pavement at the bottom is in city limits; there is an "End County Maintenance" sign. (For the record, Marshall County is the only Iowa county I am aware of that does this.) Thus, this would be the entire route of a north-south 395 outside of Melbourne, except it wouldn't have turned to intersect 330 perpendicularly. Between here and the intersection used to be a railroad crossing, which probably took up most of the nearly two-tenths of a mile left of the road.

SOUTH (or EAST) End: Intersection of Main St. and Second St., Melbourne, Marshall County

Facing south on Main Street

This, being the south end of the business block, is probably where 395 ended prior to be turned over inside town.

Facing east on Second Street

Street Atlas is also an advocate of the north-south route, bringing 395 in on First Avenue, turning right on First Street for two blocks, and then south on Main one block to end facing south. Businesses are to the left, giving credence to that route.

Melbourne, IA 50162 - on the last block of 395

Surrounding area information: County J Road

On the east side of Melbourne, this sign marks what is now S62. This has to be over 30 years old, since the current alphanumeric system started in the early 1970s. The tunnel behind it, for a railroad that no longer exists, is one lane wide. The sign had been replaced by mid-2005.

Possible WEST End: Stop sign, IA 330, Melbourne, Marshall County

Facing west

This picture requires a little explanation. With the construction of the 330 expressway, many side roads were completely reconstructed to end at the four-lane perpendicularly. You can see vehicles on the expressway on the right. This road would have intersected 330 approximately in line with that building on the left. The break between old and new concrete is evident.

South of here on the top of a hill, seen heading northeast on 330, used to be a sign with the town's slogan, "Melbourne: Not Down Under But Right On Top." (It's in the Sesquicentennial book, page 158.) It's been replaced, and the slogan is gone.

Last seen: 1983 (1981 map)

All pictures by me: Fifth, seventh, and, eighth 12/14/02; first, second, fourth, and sixth, 7/3/05; third, 7/5/05

Page created 1/24/03; last updated 4/15/10

To Iowa Highway Ends Index