End of US highway 59
|Approx. time period||North terminus||South terminus|
|1934-1939||Pembina, ND||Port Arthur, TX|
|1939-1955(?)||Pembina, ND||Laredo, TX|
|1955(?)-present||(near Lancaster, MN)||Laredo, TX|
There was an earlier US 59 that was at least proposed by Minnesota, if not actually signposted, but it was never approved by AASHO. At any rate, it lasted only for about one year; you can read about its endpoints here. Roughly the same time it disappeared (1934), today's US 59 was commissioned, and it's been around ever since. My 1947 map shows it heading northwest from Lancaster MN, joining US 75 near Humboldt. But instead of continuing with US 75 to the Canada border at Noyes MN, US 59 split off at St. Vincent and crossed over to Pembina ND. US 59 may have ended right in Pembina at its junction with US 81, or else it continued with US 81 up to the border crossing. This would've been the old crossing, which was located just to the east of the current I-29/US 81 port of entry (you can view photos and get more info on this page).
In about 1955, the north end of US 59 was changed to the route it still follows today: it heads due north out of Lancaster about 9 miles, to terminate at the Canada border:
Morrison, May 2007
The road continues ahead as Manitoba hwy. 59, to Winnipeg and beyond. Heading the opposite direction, the photo below shows the first southbound US 59 marker:
Morrison, May 2007
In 1939 the US 59 designation was truncated at Tenaha and rerouted south and west along essentially the same path it currently follows to Beeville. However, today's US 59 between there and Laredo hadn't yet been built, so US 59 traffic was routed on what is now TX hwy. 359 via Skidmore, Mathis, Alice, San Diego, and Hebbronville to get to Laredo. More information on the historic terminus there can be found on this page.
It was sometime after 1960 that modern US 59 between Beeville and Laredo was completed. The photo below shows the last US 59 sign, on westbound Saunders Street:
The overpass in the distance is I-35/US 83, and the US 59 designation ends at that interchange... which is shown close-up in the photo below:
The frontage road on this side (the east side) of the freeway is San Dario Avenue. Technically, US 59 ends at the intersection on the far side of the freeway (Santa Ursula Avenue, where the red pickup is), because that frontage road provides access to southbound I-35/US 83. One block past there is San Bernardo Avenue, which I believe was the original US 81/US 83 through the city. I wouldn't be surprised if US 59 used to be co-signed with those routes south from here to the Mexico border.
Heading north on I-35, the shot below shows the signage for the beginning of US 59:
Taylor, 2000 (unchanged as of Oct. 2007)
That off-ramp leads to San Dario (the frontage road), and at the stoplight at Saunders one sees the signs in the photo below:
The photo below shows the view as one turns right (east) onto Saunders, at the beginning of US 59:
These photos made me wonder where signage changes from "north/south" to "east/west" - I figured maybe Houston, and someone else wrote suggesting Beeville. However - according to a report and some photos from Steven Nelson - by 2004 signs along the entire route had been changed to "north/south", including those in Laredo. I imagine this could be confusing to some drivers, since US 59 does start out on Saunders, which runs due east-west.