End of US highway 23

View a map showing this route.

Additional research and/or photo credits: Christopher Bessert; Neil Bratney; Justin Cozart; Mark Eitel; Brent Ivy; Karin and Martin Karner; Mark Long; J.P. Nasiatka; Alex Nitzman; me

Approx. time period North terminus South terminus
1926-1929 Mackinaw City, MI Portsmouth, OH
1929-1930 Mackinaw City, MI Pineville, KY
1930-1950 Mackinaw City, MI Atlanta, GA
1950-1958 Mackinaw City, MI Jacksonville, FL
1958-present Mackinaw City, MI Jacksonville, FL

US 23 was an original 1926 route; back then its southern terminus was at US 52 in Portsmouth OH. Today US 52 is on the one-way couplet of 11th and 12th streets - I took this photo there (mostly because of the unusual Business 23 signage, and because of the fact that it's co-signed with the mainline):

me, Oct. 2002

Westbound 52 is behind the camera on 12th; the next intersection is 11th. US 23 is split into one-ways too. Northbound is one block to the east (left) on Gay Street, but this is south on Chillicothe Street, which I believe would've been the original US 23 (it aligns with the old bridge into Kentucky). However, I doubt this was ever a terminus for US 23. Instead, I'm guessing US 52 used Gallia Street to get downtown, so US 23 would've ended there (about six blocks ahead). The photo below was taken from that area:

Eitel, Dec. 2007

In the distance, you can see the modern bridge over the Ohio. US 23 would've ended just ahead, where US 52 came in from the left on Gallia. But that didn't last long at all...


...in 1929 the south end of US 23 was extended to Pineville KY (from Jenkins KY, US 23 was routed along today's US 119 - you can view photos from Pineville on this page). But that didn't last long either: the next year, US 23 was truncated at Jenkins and instead extended south to Atlanta. Based on the historic maps I've seen, the endpoint was originally on Peachtree Street at Marietta Street. The shot below was taken from northbound Peachtree, approaching that intersection:

c. 1950; Special Collections Dept, Pullen Library, Georgia State University

That gives a pretty good feel for how this junction must've looked back when US 23 began here. From the right, behind the camera, westbound US 78 came in on Wall Street, then this way on Peachtree, and then west again by turning left on Marietta (the intersection in the middleground). Straight ahead on Peachtree was the south beginning of US 23. The shot below shows roughly the same view today:

Karner, May 2013

That's right at Five Points, which is not only the center of Atlanta's street address system, but also the vernacular center of the city. By the time of my 1947 atlas, the terminus had moved to Piedmont Avenue at Ponce de Leon Avenue (US 29/US 78). The shot below is looking north on Piedmont:

Cozart/Nitzman, Jan. 2004

Today this is US 29/78/278, each of which continue to the right - the signage near the gas station is shown close-up below...

Karner, May 2013

...but back then, the cross-street (Ponce de Leon) carried US 29/78, and straight ahead was the south beginning of US 23. The shot below is looking the opposite direction (south on Piedmont):

Karner, May 2013

That was where US 23 ended for about five years.


Since sometime around 1950, the south end of US 23 has been in Jacksonville FL. According to a late-2001 article in Jacksonville's newspaper, the terminus of the US 23 designation is still officially at US 1/US 17 (which at that point uses Main Street southbound and Ocean Street northbound). Apparently there used to be an "End" sign, but it was knocked down and never replaced. A state transportation engineer was quoted as saying: after they're done with a project to resurface State and Union streets, a new "End" sign (and also a "Begin" sign) will be posted. However, this had not happened by the time I was there in 2003. In fact, my recollection is that the sign shown in the photo below was the only one that even mentioned US 23 downtown:

me, Oct. 2003

That was looking south on Main; northbound US 23 begins to the right on State Street. By 2008 that assembly had been replaced, and US 17 had been rerouted - here's a more recent photo:

Karners, Dec. 2009

(Also, at least a couple more US 23 signs have been added in this area since then - one of which you'll see below.) Main and State are both one-ways; southbound US 23 uses Union Street (one block ahead) and ends at Ocean (one block to the left). In the past, a driver approaching from the left on State had this perspective:

Nasiatka, Aug. 2002

That was looking west on State at Main. Northbound US 23 begins straight ahead, but there was no mention of that here. Also - while southbound US 17 used to be to the left, it is now straight ahead. The first confirming assembly is now posted just ahead...

Karners, Dec. 2009

...although that's somewhat recent. When I was there in 2003, I had to drive over a mile before finding a confirming marker:

me, Oct. 2003

That was on State (which may be called Kings Road at this point), posted just before Myrtle Street (the intersection in the background, which is historic US 1). Heading the opposite direction, US 23 was well-signed where Kings splits into State and Union and goes under I-95. But east of there, there was no more indication that I was even on US 23. Below we're looking east on Union at Main (which at the time of this photo was southbound US 1/17):

Nasiatka, Aug. 2002

The south end of US 23 is a block ahead, at Ocean (northbound US 1/17):

Karners, Dec. 2009

US 17 and US 90 both used to end in Jax; you can view more photos from there on this page.


The north end of US 23 has been in Mackinaw City MI since the beginning - although the exact location of its terminus has changed over the years. The photo below is on southbound I-75 at the exit to the north beginning of US 23:

Ivy/Nitzman, 2009

That's a replacement for what was there a few years earlier:

Bratney, June 2002

After traffic exits to the right, the road curves around and uses the blue overpass in the distance. If you head that direction, you soon reach a trailblazer that looks like this:

Long, July 2006

To the south on today's M-108 was originally US 31. Below we're on northbound US 23, approaching the interchange at I-75:

Ivy/Nitzman, 2009

That's posted a bit prior to where it used to be:

Bratney, June 2002

Since 1958 US 23 has been routed onto this connector that keeps traffic out of downtown Mackinaw City. But the highway used to continue to the north (a bit behind the camera and to the right) along Huron Avenue, and US 23 ended (along with US 27 and US 31) at the ferry landing (you can view photos from there on this page). This is the same place where today's ferries depart for Mackinac Island. But back then the ferry was the only way to get your car over to Michigan's Upper Peninsula. They crossed the Straits of Mackinac and provided a connection with US 2 at St. Ignace. In 1958, the Mackinac Bridge (over which I-75 is routed today) eliminated the need for that ferry service. At its dedication, each of Michigan's 83 counties chose a "Queen" to represent them; my very own mother was voted "Miss Missaukee County" (lots of old photos and news clippings here). In the photo above, you can see one of the bridge supports in the background.