(July 1, 1920-1986)

WEST End: Stop sign/T intersection, US 69, Wright County

Facing west on 72

The condition and style of the sign mean it's from the state highway days. The arrows imply a "split-T" intersection like the east end of IA 184, and Street Atlas shows it as such too. The ground around the intersection indicates the same as well. This sign had disappeared by the time I came back four years later.

Facing south on 69

Wright County has excellent signage of the old county roads that make up old 72 (see below). C54 continues west half a mile south. Signs for the Welcome Center are also at the junction of IA 3 and S13, six miles north of Dows.

Facing north on 69

Facing north on 69

Facing east on 72

A directional tag also shows up at the county road on the east end of 72 (see below).

Entering/leaving Dows (west side)

Facing west on 72 (now C54)

This is on the west end of town. Coming in on 72/C54 from the west, you curve south and then turn east again here. Nearly all the mile markers remained up between US 69 and Dows in 2002. Those two shields have different sizes for everything!

We are really close to the R/S county road split line; one mile east is S13 (see below).

EAST End (July 1, 1920-July 1, 1980): Garfield St., Dows, Wright County

Technically, I missed the end of the route. These pictures come close. (Of course this is one of the places I didn't go for a reverse-downtown picture...)

Facing east on Ellsworth, just past where 72 ended prior to 1980

Look closely at the county road signs. Where are they from? They may be marked Wright, but technically we've gone across into Franklin County! The Union Pacific railroad tracks go at an angle through town (surprise, surprise), and at this point the tracks have entered Franklin. From this intersection, S13 follows the railroad for about a mile and a half, and then straddles the county line. I'm not sure where the transfer occurs, because Wright signs S13 north of here. Notice the "To I-35" signs on the left and right sides of this picture.

*Original Number, Original End (probably)*

Surrounding area information: Dows

Facing north; depot is in Wright County

Why does Dows have a Welcome Center? Don't ask me; I just tell you what the DOT does.

This was painted on the side of a building at the intersection to the west of the C54/S13 signs in Wright County. Today, this mural is pretty much hidden because three feet away from it is a community center built in 2003.

This "To I-35" picture just west of the railroad tracks looks in a very weird place without context. (It looks weird with context, too.) This is opposite the exit from an old one-room schoolhouse, which is near the welcome center. Since this picture was taken, both buildings have been torn down but the sign remains.

Entering/leaving Dows (east side)

Facing west on 72 (now C47); S13 is on the county line

On the north side of Dows (DOT-style signage included), directly east of C54's main alignment before turning south to enter Dows, is C47. This is half a mile north of the S13/C54 intersection, and means that half a mile of 72 became S13.

I wonder how many other assemblies in the state have TWO counties on them. Again, compare the size of the route numbers.

Facing west on 72/C47

Someone at the DOT is not only a road culture historian, but one with a sense of humor. This fun sign came at the end of a modern "Burma-Shave" incarnation: "Daddy, Mommy / Hold That / Temper / Just One / More Mile / To the / Dows Depot / Welcome Center".

How do you get to Wall Drug? Follow old 72 to 69, north to 3, take 3 across the western half of the state to 12 and go north to 403, take 403 which becomes SD 48 to I-29, north to I-90, second right at the cloverleaf, then west 286 miles and hang a right. You can't miss it! :-)

EAST End (July 1, 1980-1986): I-35 exit 159, Franklin County

Facing east on 72

The interchange is in the background. This mile marker, now gone, is a vestige of 72's extension.

Facing east on 72 (2002)

The pavement changes where the white side line begins, but I don't know where the end was actually signed. Across the bridge, the Northern Iowa River Greenbelt Scenic Drive turns right onto a gravel road. (See the C54/S13 intersection.)

Facing east on 72 (2006)

A year after the first end picture were taken, a new rest area opened in the field to the right of the I-35 shields, closing the gap that existed between the rest areas near Ames and the Top of Iowa Welcome Center near the Minnesota border. While I'm sure that building new rest areas at existing interchanges is a money-saver, I still think there's something to be said for the original idea of pulling off into a rest area independent from interchanges.

Facing west; above picture's signs at far left

The pavement change is perhaps a little more visible in the corner here. That "West" isn't standard by either county or state.

Facing north on 35

Northbound offramp (2002 / 2006)

Last seen: 1986 (1981/86 maps)

As you can see, the 1986 map brings 72 back down to a spur (and even removed the mileage). I'm not quite sure when the eastern segment was turned over.

Pictures by me: First, second, and sixth-16th, and 18th-21st, 9/23/02; third-fifth, 17th, and 22nd, 10/6/06

Map by me: 2/11/10

Page created 11/28/02; last updated 2/11/10

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