End of US highway 260

View a map showing this route.

Additional research and/or photo credits: Nathan Edgars; Alan Hamilton; Karin and Martin Karner; Russell Lee; my parents

Approx. time period East terminus West terminus
1932-1936 Springerville, AZ Holbrook, AZ
1936-1962 Deming, NM Holbrook, AZ

In the original 1926 route plan, it was US 70 that began at US 66 in Holbrook AZ and headed east. But in 1932, US 70 was drastically rerouted, far to the south of Holbrook. So US 260 was commissioned to replace the former US 70 starting at Holbrook - you can view photos from there on this page.

Originally the east end of US 260 was in Springerville AZ, at the junction with its implied "parent" route, US 60. During this timeframe, however, US 60's current route between Springerville and Globe was under construction and not yet open to traffic. So from Globe, US 60 traffic was directed along what must've been an incredibly hellish road back in the 1930s: west to San Carlos; north and west to Ft. Apache; north along today's AZ hwy. 73 to McNary; and west along today's AZ 260 to Eagar. In Eagar, US 60 would've been directed north on Mountain Avenue, until reaching the junction with Main Street Springerville:

my parents, Mar. 2007

Here, eastbound US 60 traffic would've been directed to the right on Main... but to the left was the east beginning of US 260. Below is a close-up of the signage on the far side of the road:

my parents, Mar. 2007

US 260 went through St. Johns on its way to US 66 at Holbrook. The photo below shows the perspective at the historic east end of US 260:

my parents, Mar. 2007

That's looking east on Main. Straight ahead was eastbound US 60, while westbound was to the right on Mountain. A close-up of the sign assembly is shown below:

my parents, Mar. 2007

Today Main carries US 60/180/191, but they neglected to sign US 191 on this post. After modern US 60 was complete between here and Globe, old US 60 (to the right on Mountain) was signed as AZ 260. But today mainline AZ 260 is signed along Central Avenue in Eagar - the junction with which is about 1.5 miles to the right.

It wasn't long before US 260 was extended southward out of Springerville. I'm pretty sure the photo below was taken looking that direction:

Lee, 1940 (detail; Library of Congress photo)

That was shot just four years after the east end of US 260 had been extended down to US 70/80 at Deming NM (although this segment may have been signed north/south). In the photo below, we're in Deming, looking west on Spruce Street:

Google Maps Street View, June 2013

Originally east/west highway traffic was directed to use Spruce through Deming. So Deming's first US 260 terminus was to the right on Gold. But at some point, US 70/80 traffic was moved to Pine Street, which runs one block to the north (right). The photo below is looking the same direction on Pine:

my parents, Apr. 2006

That's westbound US 70 (and also US 180 and Business I-10), and as I said, Pine also used to be US 80, so US 260 began to the right. The shot below is looking the opposite direction (east on Pine):

Hamilton, Aug. 2000

To the left on Gold used to be the east (south?) beginning of US 260. Signage heading that direction had changed a bit by 2006...

Karners, Dec. 2011

...for one thing, it's now marked Gold Street (instead of Avenue). Whereas before there was just a cryptic NM 11 marker, it's nice to know that route begins to the right. But the NM 26 marker that used to be mounted on this post is missed: even though Gold to the left is not technically designated NM 26, the route does begin just a few blocks that direction (I-10's interchange 82 is that way, too). The big panel shown behind the I-10/BL 10 assembly is the backside of the green sign shown in the westbound photo above. (You may be tempted to ask why these routes are signed so differently heading opposite directions on the same street. But you don't need an explanation, amigo... just remember: this is New Mexico.)

In the early 1960s, the US 180 designation was extended west from its former terminus in El Paso. It was (and still is) co-signed with other routes along the entire distance between El Paso and Deming. As you can see, that designation heads north out of Deming - it goes all the way up to Holbrook, and then beyond (to the Grand Canyon), so that's how the US 260 designation became unnecessary and was eliminated.

I'm not sure what the rationale was for that change, though: the El Paso-to-Deming corridor already had a route number, so what was the purpose in having US 180 make a sharp change in direction at El Paso just to get to this point, over 100 miles distant? Wouldn't it have made more sense to simply extend the US 260 designation west from Holbrook to the Grand Canyon? Maybe AASHTO wanted to conserve route numbers - but US 260 has never been recycled. Or maybe Arizona wanted the number "260" for one of its state routes - but they could've come up with an equally valid number. Undoubtedly my opinion would've been sought, except that I hadn't born yet...