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End of US highway 33

View a map showing this route.

Photo credits: Marc Fannin; Karin and Martin Karner; Robert Mortell; J.P. Nasiatka; me
Additional research: Chris Bessert; Marc Fannin

Approx. time period East terminus North terminus
1938-1951 Richmond, VA St. Joseph, MI (Port)
1951-1960 Richmond, VA St. Joseph, MI (Niles)
1960-1986 Richmond, VA Lake Michigan Beach, MI
1986-1998 Richmond, VA Niles, MI
1998-present Richmond, VA Elkhart, IN
Point where signage changes from "North/South" to "East/West": IN/OH state line

The east end of US 33 has been in Richmond VA since the route was first commissioned in 1938. It's a pretty complicated story, so I have a separate page for Richmond here.

Until 1960, the north end of US 33 was in St. Joseph. From 1951 to 1960, US 33 ended at the intersection shown below:


That's looking north on Main Street (which used to be US 12/31). US 33 came in from the right on Niles Avenue, and ended here. You can see how M-63 turns north and is co-signed with Business 94 through downtown. That's what US 33 originally did, too, from 1935-1951. The designation ended where eastbound US 12 split off from northbound US 31 at Port Street. The photo below is looking north on Main:


Today Port is one-way westbound, so Business 94 heads east on Ship Street, one block to the south of Port. US 33 originally ended one block ahead, when Port ran both directions.

From 1960-1986, US 33 was signed yet further north. Whereas US 31 is now on a newer bypass to the west of Niles, it used to be co-signed with US 33 on 11th into downtown Niles. There, these two designations follwed Main Street to the west, then Front Street northwest to Berrien Springs. In town, US 31/33 used Ferry Street and Cass Street, and then continued northwest into St. Joseph. Back then, today's US 12 was US 112; US 12 instead followed basically the same corridor as modern I-94 from Detroit through St. Joseph. There, US 12 was routed along today's Business I-94, and US 31/33 came in from the southeast on what is now MI hwy. 63. But in the early 1960's, US 31 was rerouted around St. Joseph/Benton Harbor via a new freeway (on which it is still routed today, but the road is now better known as I-94 and I-196). So then US 33 was signed along US 31's old route (modern M-63), along the shore of Lake Michigan all the way to its junction with the "new" US 31 at Lake Michigan Beach (today's I-196 interchange 7). Here's a map scan from that timeframe:


Note the US 33 shield way up by Lake Michigan Beach. The shot below is looking north at the end of modern M-63:

me, June 2001

This used to be US 33; it took a right here and ended at US 31 (today's interchange 7 at I-196). County road A2 (straight ahead) was the original route of US 31. The shot below is looking south on I-196/US 31:

me, June 2001

Back when this was just US 31, that exit marked the north beginning of US 33.

In 1986, the US 33 designation was truncated to Niles MI. From its current north end in Elkhart IN, US 33 extended further north along Main to Lusher Avenue, and then west. At Nappanee Street (IN hwy. 19), it jogged north across the railroad, and then west again on Lincolnway, following the route which is now signed IN hwy. 933 into South Bend. In downtown South Bend, IN 933 leaves Lincolnway to continue west on Sample Street, and then heads north via Michigan Street (southbound uses Main Street) and the Dixie Highway. At the Michigan line, the route becomes M-51. This was the former route of US 33. It ended at the junction with modern US 12 (or the Pulaski Highway), which is a bypass outside Niles. The photo below shows the former north end of US 33:


US 12 is the overpass. Straight ahead is 11th Street, heading towards downtown Niles. The photo below was taken from the opposite direction, looking towards the former north beginning of US 33:


Since 1998, the north end of US 33 is in the outskirts of Elkhart IN, at its junction with modern US 20 (known locally as the St. Joseph Valley Parkway). This first shot is approaching Elkhart from the south on US 33:


Note the "End US 33" sign at lower right, and the "West US 20" sign that used to be right next to it. Now there's only the "End" sign:

Karners, Jul. 2010

That car is heading north on Main Street, towards downtown Elkhart. Strangely, there's a second "End" sign just a bit further north, at the on-ramp to westbound US 20:

Karners, Jul. 2010

Heading the opposite direction (south out of Elkhart on Main), one finds themselves at the north beginning of US 33 when they reach the US 20 interchange:

Fannin (unchanged as of Jul. 2010)

At lower right is the first southbound US 33 sign. It's shown close-up below:

Mortell, Aug. 2005 (unchanged as of Jul. 2010)

Heading that way, US 33 is signed as a north-south route only through Indiana. In other words, the "south end" of US 33 is technically at the Ohio line...

Mortell, Aug. 2005

...because from there onward, despite its number, it's signed as an east-west route.