OK 2 Shield Original Oklahoma Route 2 OK 2 Shield

Overview Map - Click for larger version

Route Description from 1925 State Highway Map:
Beginning at the Kansas state line near Caldwell, via Medford, Jefferson, Pond Creek, Enid, Waukomis, Hennessey, Dover, Kingfisher, Okarche, El Reno, Union City, Minco, Pocasset, Chickasha, Ninnekah, Rush Springs, Marlow, Duncan, Comanche, Addington, Waurika, Ryan, and Terral.

The original Oklahoma Route 2 was the westernmost of the major north-south crossings of the state, but it was only slightly west of Route 4. The reason for this unusually close spacing was the origin of Route 2; much like Route 6, Route 2 followed the general path of a well-established travel corridor. In this case, it was the famous Chisholm Trail, one of the great cattle trails of the late 19th century. The trail, partially blazed by Jesse Chisholm, was used by many cowboys to drive massive herds of cattle from ranches in Texas to railheads in Kansas between the 1860s and 1880s. This heavy traffic naturally led to numerous settlements springing up along the length of the trail to serve the travelers. Eventually, the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad (popularly called simply "the Rock Island") laid a trunk line roughly along the trail, passing through many of the towns and further establishing the travel corridor. This corridor was thus a natural choice for a major state highway, and it was anointed as one of the six major crossings in 1925. The following maps give an approximation of the path of original Route 2 using modern highways.

Map 1 - Click for larger version

If the original State Route 2 existed today, it would begin at the state line south of Caldwell, KS on US Route 81. Route 2 would follow along concurrent with US 81 as the highways travel south through Medford and Pond Creek; shortly after US 60 joins the concurrence, all three highways join with US 64 for the journey south to Enid.

Map 2 - Click for larger version

A theoretical modern alignment of Route 2 would take the business loop through Enid, then rejoin mainline US 81 for the trip further south. The two highways follow along the old Rock Island tracks as they continue through Hennesey and Kingfisher.

Map 3 - Click for larger version

Route 2 would remain concurrent with US 81 as they travel together south through Okarche and El Reno. After junctioning original Route 3 at El Reno, a theoretical modern Route 2 would continue south with US 81 toward Minco.

Map 4 - Click for larger version

A modern Route 2 would remain with US 81 passing through Chickasha, sharing brief concurrences with US 62 and US 277 before following with US 81 south toward Rush Springs.

Map 5 - Click for larger version

After taking the business loop through Rush Springs, Route 2 would rejoin mainline US 81 through Duncan and on toward Waurika. For information on the historic routing in this area, please see the forthcoming US 81 Chickasha to Waurika detail page.

Map 6 - Click for larger version

Route 2 would remain with US 81 through Waurika and on toward the Texas line, reaching its southern terminus at the Red River.

After reading the above description, it should be obvious why the original Route 2 no longer exists. In 1927, the entire path of Route 2 was overlaid by US Route 81, which was not just a US highway but one of the major border-to-border routes, as signified by the final digit of 1. As with the other Great Crossings, Route 2's preeminent status eventually led to its demise, as the new US Route designations naturally took precedence over the state numbers, leading to the major renumbering of the state routes in 1930. We hope you enjoyed this look at the first numbered Chisholm Trail highway.

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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.