Route Description from 1925 State Highway Map:
Beginning at the Kansas state line south of Coffeyville, via Lenapah, Delaware, Nowata, Oologah, Collinsville, to Tulsa.
The original Oklahoma Route 16 was a relatively short connector highway in the northeast corner of the state which connected several communities, but primarily served as the Oklahoma portion of a direct route between Tulsa and Kansas City. The following is a theoretical modern version of Route 16 if the original numbering system had been retained to the present day.
A hypothetical modern version of Route 16 would begin at the Kansas state line on US 169 and travel with the federal route south toward Nowata, briefly sharing the road with modern SH 10 as well north of Lenapah. After passing through Nowata, Route 16 would continue following US 169 as the highways make their way south toward Oologah.
Route 16 would remain concurrent with US 169, passing through Oologah, sharing a short concurrence with SH 20 near Collinsville, and then following the limited access Mingo Valley Expressway into greater Tulsa. At a large expressway junction, Route 16 would leave US 169 and instead follow I-244 into downtown Tulsa, where Route 16 would reach its southern terminus. For information on the historic path of Route 16 and US 169, please see the forthcoming US 169 Tulsa to Coffeyville, KS detailed route page.
The preceding description should make obvious the reason for the removal of original Route 16 from the numbering system; when US 169 was designated in 1936, the aforementioned direct route between Tulsa and Kansas City gained a federal route number that crossed state lines and made the state number obsolete. Though the states had cooperated and made their respective state highway numbers match, the single federal number for the route made all of the state routes superfluous and they were removed. US 169 as originally designated actually traveled into downtown Tulsa to reach its southern terminus, and it still ends in Tulsa today despite its actual terminus point moving around town over the years. Here we see an example of the cooperation of multiple state highway commissions in the years before federal highways, as the states sometimes worked together to create single numbered interstate routes between major cities before the federal government took any action on the matter, which often were converted into US routes over time once the federal system came into being. Thanks for reading.
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Base Map Data Copyright DeLorme USA, http://www.delorme.com
State Highway Shields created by Ken Parker of Oklahoma Bridge & Highways Group.