End of US highway 271

View a map showing this route.

Additional research and/or photo credits: James Allen; David Backlin; Robert Brooks; Justin Cozart; Nathan Edgars; Jeremy Lance; Steven Nelson

Approx. time period North terminus South terminus
1926-1930 Fort Smith, AR (downtown) Mena, AR
1930-1934 Fort Smith, AR (2 miles south) Beaumont, TX
1934-1950(?) Fort Smith, AR (2 miles south) Tyler, TX
1950(?)-1976 Fort Smith, AR (4 miles south - old) Tyler, TX
1976-present Fort Smith, AR (4 miles south - new) Tyler, TX

US 271 was an original 1926 route; at the time it was something of a "scenic loop" route off US 71 between Fort Smith and Mena AR (via Poteau OK). Different maps from the late 1920s show US 271 coming into Mena from Oklahoma on different roads (see Jeremy's blog); one is shown below:

ADHT, c. 1929

You can see that US 271 is shown in Oklahoma along with OK 23, becoming AR 88 where it crosses the stateline. Things in this area have changed tremendously since then. OK 23 is now OK 63. AR 88 is now AR 8 (AR 88 is now signed along a different road leading into Mena). And finally, US 71's modern alignment is completely different than its historic alignment. Originally it went south out of Mena by following today's CR 375. US 271 followed today's AR 8 only as far east as the Rocky Cemetery, but then followed today's CR 93 to its junction with old US 71... the alignment of which has been abandoned at that particular point. The photo below is looking northeast on CR 375:

Google Maps Street View, 2008

Today that's CR 375 continuing on the right, but that road wasn't built until the 1980s. Prior to that, CR 375 followed the road to the left, which is now CR 93... and that was the original route of US 71. About a quarter-mile ahead, US 71 veered off to the right on a road that has since been abandoned (behind the fence)...

Google Maps Street View, 2008

...and modern CR 93 continuing to the left could've been the south beginning of US 271 during the late 1920s. To the right, old US 71 re-joined the alignment of today's CR 375 after about another quarter-mile. Below we're looking the opposite direction (south on CR 93):

Google Maps Street View, 2008

This historic junction could've been the south end of US 271. US 71 came in from the left and continued straight ahead (kudos to Jeremy for all that research).

But it's possible that US 271 was never actually signed in that area, because already by 1930, the US 271 designation had been removed from the segment between Poteau OK and Mena. Instead it was signed along its present route from Fort Smith through Poteau and Tyler TX - and then further south, all the way to Beaumont TX, via today's US 69. Based on a TX DoT map from the 1930s, my guess is US 271 would've come into Beaumont using Concord Road, then made a few jogs in town, winding its way over to southeastbound Railroad Avenue, ending at US 90 (College Street). The photos below are from that intersection, but things have changed so much there that the scene today hardly resembles what it looked like back in the 1930s. This first shot is looking east on College:

Nelson, Jan. 2006

College is now one-way eastbound, but it used to carry both directions of US 90. Its grade at this particular intersection is lower than it used to be - it was sunk in order to go under a railroad viaduct. To the left via northbound Spur 380 was once the south beginning of US 271. That street used to be called "Railroad", but now it's known as M.L. King Parkway. Railroad carried both directions of US 271, but now southbound uses Victoria Street (the block behind the camera). If you were to take that left turn, you'd see the perspective shown below:

Nelson, Jan. 2006

There, College is the crossroad, and northbound MLK is ahead (in the distance you can see where traffic splits into the one-way couplet). That was once the southernmost segment of US 271.


In 1934, the south end of US 271 was truncated back to Tyler. The 1936 TXDoT map shows that the route turned off Gentry Parkway onto Valentine Street, then Broadway Avenue, then Bow Street to Bois d'Arc Avenue, where it junctioned US 69. So US 271 could've ended there, but this being Texas, the two were likely co-signed south on Bois d'Arc, with US 271 ending at Erwin Street (which carried TX 31 and TX 64). The shot below is looking east on Erwin:

Google Maps Street View, Mar. 2013

To the left on Bois d'Arc was the south beginning of US 271. That was also northbound US 69; southbound continued to the right on Bois d'Arc, then east on Front Street, then south on Broadway. That was the case until 1944, which is when (according to TXDoT's highway designation file for Spur 147) US 69 traffic was rerouted to bypass downtown via Glenwood Boulevard and the 4th/5th Street couplet. But by then, Beckham Avenue's 1937 viaduct over the railyards had been built (presumably to divert eastside traffic away from downtown as well). So for a few years, US 271 probably went south on Beckham to Erwin, then west to the same terminus. But after US 69 was changed, the 1949 USGS topo shows that US 271 was extended down Beckham, west on Front, and south on Broadway, ending at 4th/5th:

Google Maps Street View, Mar. 2013

The photo below is looking the opposite direction (north) on Broadway, or US 69:

Nelson, Aug. 2007

US 69 continues to the left on 4th/5th, but straight ahead on Broadway was once the south beginning of US 271. That lasted until sometime during the 1950s, when US 271 was truncated to its current terminus. The photo below is looking south on Beckham (US 271/TX hwy. 155) at Front (TX 31):

Backlin, May 2008

TX 155 continues straight ahead, but not US 271. It's not very common for a US route to terminate at a state route, but for much of US 271's history, its Tyler endpoint has been an exception. Except for the lack of an "End" assembly, this junction is impeccably signed, as you'll see below. This next shot is looking east on Front; the south beginning of US 271 is to the left on Beckham:

Brooks, Nov. 2012

The photo below was taken from the opposite direction...

Backlin, May 2008

...and this next one is looking north on Beckham:

Backlin, May 2008

If you continue ahead, the first northbound confirming assembly looks like this:

Backlin, May 2008

Fort Smith AR is about 300 miles ahead. Although staying on US 271 the entire distance isn't the fastest route to get there, it certainly is a scenic way to get there.


The north end of US 271 has always been in Fort Smith, but here too, the exact location of its terminus has changed over the years. David Backlin reports that the original endpoint was at the corner of Towson Avenue and Garrison Avenue. The photo below was taken looking east on Garrison (eastbound US 64):

Backlin, Feb. 2008

US 64 continues by turning left on 11th Street. Northbound Business 71 also goes that way, while southbound is to the right on Towson. Below is a close-up of the sign assembly:

Backlin, Feb. 2008

The US 271 sign is no longer accurate, but it is fitting, because to the right used to be the north beginning of that route (now it begins about 4 miles that direction). The backside of that assembly is visible at far left in the photo below:

Backlin, Feb. 2008

That's looking north on Towson. Just before reaching Garrison, traffic makes a gentle angle onto 11th - the signage at that intersection is shown below:

Backlin, Feb. 2008

That's the original north end of US 271, at its junction with US 64.

Then, sometime in the 1930s, the terminus was changed to the intersection of Towson and Y Street (about 2 miles south of the intersection pictured above). The photo below is looking east on Y St:

Backlin, Feb. 2008

US 271 approached Ft. Smith via what is now OK hwy. 9A, which becomes Y St after crossing the stateline. US 271 ended at its junction with Towson, which was US 71. That junction was probably at the Y-intersection visible in the distance. However, the road visible at lower left (W Street) may have been involved, too (it's a diagonal that connects to Towson just north of here). The photo below is looking the opposite direction (west on Y St from Towson):

Nelson, Apr. 2006

That was once the north beginning of US 271, which started here at US 71. About where the trees are in the distance, this road crosses into Oklahoma and serves the little town of Arkoma, which is situated on a narrow strip between the Poteau River and the stateline.

It wasn't until about 1950 that US 271 was removed from OK 9, instead crossing the Poteau via its current bridge (about five miles further south). In the area where it ends at Business 71 (formerly mainline US 71), the road alignments have changed. Initially, after crossing to the north of Zero Street, US 271 was routed along what is now Towson Place, ending where that becomes Towson Avenue:

Backlin, Feb. 2008

Straight ahead is north on Towson and Business 71; southbound angles off to the lower right. The photo below is looking the opposite direction (south on Towson):

Backlin, Feb. 2008

US 271 used to begin straight ahead on Towson Place. In about 1976 this configuration was changed, and now US 271 begins about a block to the left. Continuing that way, we see the assembly shown below:

Backlin, Feb. 2008

That's looking southeast on southbound Business 71; US 271 begins to the right. The photo below is looking north on US 271 where it ends:

Backlin, Feb. 2008

Business 71 is on a diagonal road at this point - a connector between Towson and Zero Street. Street signs refer to this segment simply as "Highway 71".