"Main Street, USA" by Pete Bennett
Named the Grand Army of the Republic Highway, did you know that Scenic U.S. Route 6 passes through14 states including Massachusetts , Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada, and California as it ribbons its way across this vast country of ours.
It once was THE way west for many Americans heading for the pacific coast. Its length across United States is 3,205 miles.
Because the highway passes through or near the metropolitan areas of New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles, as well as going right down the main drag of many small cities and towns, it was often called "Main Street, USA". Near its scenic beginning on Cape Cod where it is called the Mid-Cape Highway and from there it only gets better.
In 1866 Union veterans of the Civil War organized the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) and it became a social and political force that would control the destiny of the nation for more than six decades. Membership in the veteran's organization was restricted to individuals who had served in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps or Revenue Cutter Service during the Civil War, thereby limiting the life span of the GAR.
At its National Encampment in 1936, it was proposed that US Route 6, which runs from Provincetown on Cape Cod. Massachusetts, to Bishop, California, be designated as the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Highway. In 1937, the New York State Legislature passed, with the approval of then Governor Lehman, the law (Chapter 442) designating Route 6 in New York State as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway. This was done: "in grateful recognition of the valued services rendered by the Union Veterans of the Civil War."
After leaving the Cape the road winds to New Bedford which has a Whaling Historical Park then on to Fall River and crossing into Rhode Island at Providence, the capital of that state. They have a very interesting Water Park there where you can ride real gondola's just like in Venice Italy. On across the smallest state of Rhode Island to Connecticut and its capital of Hartford. Hartford, known as the Insurance Capital of the World. There is probably an agent on every street corner of Route 6 there.
Somehow the road avoids Waterbury on its southwest journey to Danbury. Danbury is where Samuel Langhorne Clemens, otherwise know as Mark Twain lived in the later part of his life. Know for authoring many books including the "Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court", Twain died in Danbury on April 21, 1910. Though Danbury is one of my favorite places we must follow route 6 on to its next state New York and the little town of Brewster. Here we find the beginning to of the great Hudson Valley and next we pass near the site of the West Point Academy.
At Peekskill we cross the mighty Hudson River. We're north of New York City and south of Newburg. Next we will cross another mighty River, the Delaware as we come into good ole Pennsylvania at Port Jervis.
Most of you know about Route 6's passage through our state I'm sure, But for those who don't I will fill you in on the hills and valleys it crosses.
As you enter our state in Pike County at Matamoras, you feel a big bump as you cross the state line. I've always contended that this was planned to wake up all those sleepy/daydreaming drivers and welcome them to our illustrious state but some would blame it directly on Penn Dot's failure in performance of their duties. Well, I wouldn't go that far after all my dad worked for Penn Dot for a lot of years. As a matter of fact it was a standing joke at that time in Cameron County that when you passed where they were working that you would always find one guy down in the ditch shoveling, 6 others leaning on their shovels watching him and two others with white helmets telling him how deep to dig. Well, the guy in the ditch was my Pop. So much for the alienation factor from a kid who knows.
On with the story....Route 6 continues on through Carbondale north of Scranton to Tunkhannock then follows the mighty Susquehanna River north winding up stream to East Towanda where it crosses the river and heads for Burlington, Troy, then on to Mansfield in Tioga County. After passing through Wellsboro it heads for Ansonia then on to Galeton, the heart of skiing country, crossing over Denton Hill to Coudersport. Watch for Flea Markets if your traveling through here in the summer folks. There's a bunch of them.
Coudersport will probably be changing its name to Adelphia soon as they are really a big part of that town now, along with being the county seat of Potter County, that is. Maybe they could call it Coudadelphia. How about it? My cousin Tom Burk is employed by Adelphia there in Coudy and this is a great way to say "hi" to him as I know he reads my articles each month. "Hi Tom".
We're moving on to Port Allegany on our journey on Route 6 and we are now near the head waters of the mighty Allegheny River here. Notice I call them all mighty.
Smethport, the county seat of McKean County is the next stop and they have a beautiful Main Street fronting Route 6 as we make our left turn at the end of town heading for another of my favorite places Kane.
But, before we continue on I must tell you about a big white house I saw beside the road near Mt. Jewett which had a big sign reading "ROUTE-6.COM" on it and upon typing that web address in my browser I discovered that a guy by the name of Brad has started a web site at that address for eCommerce an advertising/information site for all businesses along Route 6 in McKean County and soon to be, all long Route 6 in all the states. What a nice thing to do and what a nice site it is Brad, congratulations! The site also allows you to send an e-card with some beautiful pictures of the area to a your friend on the net. Visit the site and see for yourself. And by the way Mt. Jewett has their own piece cyber space too, at:http://www.mtjewett.com.
We are now at Lantz Corners a cross roads with Route 219 and headed for Kane. I wrote and article about Kane recently that got a lot of favorable responses from you folks and I'd like to thank you all for them. If you like a particular article it's nice of you to tell our Editor Val about it.
Route 6 continues on to Warren the county seat of Warren County and its Main street by way of Sheffield and Clarendon. We now pass through the Allegheny National Forest, the Federal Governments gift to us all! Hee Hee. Thank God for trees. They weren't invented by government!
On to Corry, Union City, Cambridge Springs, Meadville, then on past Conneaut Lake, through Linesville where the ducks walk on the carp to the Ohio line. There is a short section of Route 6 called 6N which runs from Union City to Edinboro, but I won't mention it.
Now I bet you and my Editor are wondering how I have space in the rest of this article to continue on and cover the next 9 states. Well, here's how you do it!
...... Route 6 leaves Pennsylvania at Linesville a little town known as the "Gateway to the West" winding its path across Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, Nevada and California passing through such large cities as Cleveland, Chicago and De Moines. It no longer goes through Los Angeles now with the construction of Interstate 395. But, on its way, it passes through such burgs as Kendallville, LaSalle, Omaha, Lincoln, Denver, Vail, Eureka, Goshen, Santaquin and Ely. Now those last few I called burgs but three of them, Omaha, Lincoln and Denver are actually State Capitals in there own right. It goes all the way to Long Beach, CA and passes through an impressive array of Main Streets, you'll have to admit, and in very few instances does it become four lane or limited access highway. It has earned its right to be called Main Street USA!
I hope you've enjoyed this nostalgic tour of US Route 6. I feel it has earned its place in nostalgia history just as Route "66" has!
Here's a little story concerning 'Life's Highway that I found on the internet. Thought it might be of interest, see you next month, Happy Groundhogs Day!
Born , weighing 8 pounds and 21 inches long, little Joe begins his life.
Sometimes it's a long, long trip from the cradle to the grave.
Little Joe is wobbly at first, but he's stepping out.
At age 2, Joe has a mind of his own. Only 68 more years to go!
\line \line At age 15 Joe is on the great highway of life. Everyone is busy going the same direction.
By age 21Joe has all the answers...just ask him. He has 50 years left.
By age 40 , Joe is married with three kids. Life has turned into a rat race on the great highway of life.
By age 50 , Joe no longer has all the answers. He's only got 20 years left.
Frustrated and starting to panic, Joe asks his wife "where are we going?" His wife replies back to Joe, "You don't know?"
Then suddenly on the way, Joe and his wife see a man holding a sign which said "GOOD NEWS." But the crowd behind Joe yells, "Keep moving!" Then the man holding the sign catches the attention of Joe's wife. He says, "Lady, you're on the wrong road! It leads to DESTRUCTION!" ("Broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction..." Matthew 7:13)
But I've got GOOD NEWS for you... There's only ONE WAY to heaven. It's a narrow path and JESUS is that way. (John 14:6) \line \line In His great love for you, Jesus (God the Son) left heaven and took the form of a man to shed His precious blood for your sins. "For God so loved the world (that's you) that he gave his only begotten Son (Jesus), that whosoever believeth in him should not perish (in hell), but have everlasting life (in heaven)." (John 3:16).\line \line Jesus died on the cross and three days later arose from the dead. He is now in heaven and is coming back again.
Then Joe asks the man, "Is everyone on this highway doomed?"
Then the man with the sign responded, "Absolutely! But the gift of God is eternal life (in heaven) through Jesus Christ." (Romans 6:23).
"Will you receive God's love gift?" Joe's wife and his three children instantly said, "Yes, we do!"
The man then told them to follow this road to heaven. Joe's family encouraged him to follow them. "Aren't you coming with us daddy?"
But Joe responds, "It's too narrow; I'm not ready for this. I'll think about it." ("Narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it." Matthew 7:14).
Then, all of the sudden, a man with glasses approaches Joe and says, "Poor guy....it looks like your wife was a little hasty in her decision."
Joe responds, "I think so, too!"
Then Joe's wife and three children finally come to an end of their journey. "Oh, Mama...I see Jesus way up there!" "Yes children," their mother responds, "we took the right road!"
Then the man with glasses says to Joe, "Your wife's right. You need Christ in your life...but not yet! You still have plenty of time! You're only 62. You've got 8 years left!"
Joe responds, "That's comforting."
Six months later, Joe yells, "WHAT'S HAPPENING?
The man with glasses responds, "You just died Joe!"
Joe yells, "But you told me I'd live to be 70 !
Then the man with glasses suddenly takes off a realistic looking mask; and it was none but the devil\himself!
He tells Joe that he lied.
The devil laughs at Joe, "I tricked you! And now you're mine...FOREVER! HA HA HA!"
The entire world is on the great highway of life, but there is still time for you to take that narrow road to heaven.
Please don't make the same mistake that Joe made!
Receive JESUS today!
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