Route Description from 1925 State Highway Map:
Beginning at the Arkansas state line at Ultima Thule, via Eagletown, Broken Bow, Idabel, Valliant, Fort Towson, Hugo, Soper, Boswell, Bennington, Bokchito, Durant, Mead, Madill, Mannsville, Ardmore, Lone Grove, Wilson, Ringling, Waurika, Addington, Comanche, Walters, Frederick, and Davidson, to the state line near Vernon.
Route 5 in the original Oklahoma State Highway system was the southernmost of the Great Crossings, forming the main east-west pipeline for travelers in the Red River valley. Passing from mountainous areas in the east to open plains in the west, the highway connected the towns near the state's southern border with each other and with the various north-south highways to reach the other regions of Oklahoma. Before the advent of numbered highways, this path was also known as part of both the Lee Highway and the Bankhead Highway, transcontinental "Auto Trails" between Washington, D. C. and San Diego. The following is an approximation of the path of original Route 5 using modern highways.
A theoretical modern version of Route 5 would begin at the Arkansas line on US 70 and travel with the federal route to Broken Bow, where US 259 and modern SH 3 would join the road for the trip south to Idabel. At Idabel, the other two highways split off and Route 5 is once again concurrent only with US 70 as they head west together through Valliant and Ft. Towson.
At Hugo, Route 5 follows the business route through town, where US 271 joins the road briefly before splitting off again a few miles to the west. After the split, Route 5 is again alone with US 70 as the two track toward Durant. For the historic route in this area, please see the US 70 Durant to Hugo detailed route page.
After junctioning original Route 6 in Durant, Route 5 would continue following US 70 west to Kingston before turning north toward Madill. At that point, Route 5 would split from US 70 and instead follow US 177 and SH 199 toward Mannsville. Shortly thereafter, US 177 splits off north while Route 5 follows with SH 199 to Ardmore. For the historic routing in this area, please see the forthcoming US 70 Ardmore to Durant detail page.
Making its way through Ardmore, Route 5 would again join with US 70 for the trip further west through Lone Grove and Ringling, eventually reaching Waurika. At that point, Route 5 would turn to follow with US 81 north to Comanche, where Route 5 would join modern SH 53 to continue west.
Route 5 would follow with SH 53 to Walters, where SH 53 ends and the modern version of SH 5 rejoins its original path. Between this point and Frederick, no "theoretical" qualifier is necessary as Route 5 still follows the same path it has since 1925. At Frederick, however, a modern version of the original Route 5 would turn south away from SH 5 to instead join US 183 for the journey to the Red River, where Route 5 would find its western terminus at the Texas border.
As with the other Great Crossings, the reason for the demise of Route 5 as a full crossing of the state is easy to discern. In 1927, US 70 was designated along the path of Route 5 from the Arkansas border to Walters; this led to the removal of the state number from that section of the route in 1930 as the federal route numbers quickly took precedence. However, Route 5 is the only one of the six Great Crossings to retain its original number for at least a portion of its path to the present day; this fact alone makes Route 5 worthy of special recognition in the history of Oklahoma highways. We hope you enjoyed this look at the early southern trunk line of Oklahoma.
Back to 1925 State Routes 1 to 6 Index
Back to Main Page
Base Map Data Copyright DeLorme USA, http://www.delorme.com
State Highway Shields created by Ken Parker of Oklahoma Bridge & Highways Group.