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End of US highway 65

View a map showing this route.

Photos and/or additional research: David Backlin; Monte Castleman; Justin Cozart; Steve Lockwood; Jeff Morrison; Steven Nelson; Alex Nitzman

Approx. time period North terminus South terminus
1926-1934 St. Paul, MN Vidalia, LA
1934-1935 McGregor or
Swan River, MN (?)
Vidalia, LA
1935-1959 Minneapolis, MN New Orleans, LA
1959-1980 Minneapolis, MN Natchez, MS
1980-2005 Albert Lea, MN Natchez, MS
2005-present Albert Lea, MN Clayton, LA

Some of the dates in the timeline above are pure speculation; if you have more accurate info, please let me know!

Originally the US 65 designation went only to Vidalia LA, because there was no bridge across the Mississippi to Natchez. There probably was a car ferry that could be used to connect with Natchez and US 61 (I assume this is how US 84 traffic must've crossed the river when that highway was extended through the area in 1934), but it appears that US 65 was not signed in Mississippi at the time. Below is a photo of the old ferry landing in Vidalia:

Nelson, Feb. 2006

When the first bridge was built in about 1940, US 65 probably would've been co-signed with US 84 to the junction with US 61 in downtown Natchez. Where exactly was that? Well, it's possible that westbound US 84 / southbound US 61 originally came in on Main Street (and it's possible that State Street could've been the eastbound / northbound counterpart). But today Business 61/84 uses Jefferson and Franklin streets (just north of Main/State couplet). At any rate, southbound US 61 would've turned south on Pine Street, but westbound US 84 would've continued straight ahead, then south on Canal Street, then west across the bridge. It seems most likely to me that the US 65 designation would've begun with US 84 as soon as it crossed Pine, at the corner where US 61 split off. Below is a shot of that corner (or at least the modern equivalent of that corner):

Cozart/Nitzman, June 2004

That's looking west on Jefferson (westbound Bus. 84 / southbound Bus. 61.) Bus. 61 turns south here on Pine, but Bus. 84 continues straight ahead. Presumably US 65 would've begun straight ahead with 84.

Below we're looking the opposite direction:

Cozart/Nitzman, June 2004

That's east on Franklin (Jefferson's counterpart), which is eastbound Bus. 84. This is where old US 84 would've met US 61, and US 65 probably would've been signed with 84 to this point...

...but it wasn't long afterwards that the US 65 designation was extended further south: co-signed with US 61 all the way down to New Orleans (you can view photos from there on this page).

In 1951 the US 65 designation was truncated back to Natchez. At first the south terminus was probably downtown (see photos above), but today thru traffic is routed onto a couple bypasses that skirt the city - you can view photos from there on this page.

A photo of the historic terminus in St. Paul can be viewed on this page, and the old ending in Minneapolis can be viewed on this page. Steve has a 1934 Minnesota state highway map that shows US 65 extending northward to US 210 at McGregor (now MN 210). Apparently there are other maps from the same year that indicate US 2 at Swan River was the northern terminus. However, it's unlikely that the route was ever actually signed north of the Twin Cities, and even if it was, it only lasted for about a year. The north end of US 65 remained in Minneapolis from the mid-1930's until 1980, when it was truncated to Albert Lea MN. Today the last northbound reassurance marker is heading eastward between MN hwy. 13 and CSAH 46:

Morrison, May 2006

This next one shows the north end of US 65, where it merges with I-35 at interchange 12:

Castleman, summer 2001

The car at left is on northbound I-35; the green signage in the distance is for the cloverleaf at I-90. Below is the signage from southbound I-35 for the north beginning of US 65:

Castleman, summer 2003

In 2005, the south end of US 65 was truncated at Clayton LA. It's a long story, but here it is in the words of a reply to my e-mail from a LADoTD official:

"...the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development has submitted an application to AASHTO requesting that US 425 be extended from its intersection with US 165 in Bastrop along US 165 to Mer Rouge, then along LA 133, LA 137, LA 15 and US 84 to US 61 in Natchez. We have also requested that US 65 end at Clayton instead of at US 61 in Natchez. This would hold the number of route designations to two in Mississippi. The purpose is to facilitate travel between the capitals of the States of Louisiana and Arkansas. Currently travel from Baton Rouge to Little Rock involves seven different route designations. Under this request, travel from Baton Rouge to Little Rock could be accomplished via three US routes, namely US 61 and US 425 in Louisiana and US 425 and I-530 in Arkansas."

I agree with the desire to unify that corridor with a single US route number, but I disagree with the specifics of that proposal (see my US 425 page for what I think would've been a better idea). However, AASHTO rubber-stamped the proposal, so US 65 now ends disgracefully at a 3-digit branch route with an illegitimate number. Some of the photos below were taken back when US 65 still went further south from Clayton, into Natchez. This first one was looking south on US 65:

Cozart/Nitzman, June 2004

The US 425 designation now runs through this area along with LA hwy. 15. Historically US 65 continued to the left (south), but that junction is now where US 65 ends. (Incidentally, it seems odd to me that the blue evacuation route sign pointed south, towards the Gulf. Seems like you'd want to evacuate away from hurricanes, but maybe that sign was for people who wanted to evacuate Arkansas?...) Anyway, this junction has been reconfigured, as a result of recent upgrades in this corridor. US 425 is now a four-lane divided highway in this area, and the opposing lanes bifurcate through Clayton. The original two-lane segment now carries northbound traffic only. Southbound is on new pavement, built on an historic railroad right-of-way. The photo below shows what the old junction looks like now:

Backlin, Dec. 2008

Northbound LA 15 is still to the right (as well as northbound US 425). But for southbound, you have to continue ahead, and then turn left, so that's where US 65 ends now. Below we're looking north on what was US 65:

Cozart/Nitzman, June 2004

That's now northbound US 425, and the south beginning of US 65 is to the right:

Backlin, Dec. 2008

The shot below was from southbound on LA 15:

Nelson, Feb. 2006

Southbound US 65 used to continue ahead, but now that's southbound US 425, and US 65 begins to the left:

Backlin, Dec. 2008

If you make that left turn, you soon come to a stop sign at the intersection with the northbound lanes of US 425:

Backlin, Dec. 2008

Straight ahead is the first northbound US 65 sign, shown close-up below:

Backlin, Dec. 2008

That's a replacement of the old confirming assembly that was photographed below:

Cozart/Nitzman, June 2004