Route Description from 1925 State Highway Map:
Beginning at the Kansas state line south of Chetopa, via Vinita, Big Cabin, Adair, Pryor, Choteau, Wagoner, Muskogee, Oktaha, Checotah, Eufaula, Canadian, Crowder, McAlester, Savannah, Kiowa, Stringtown, Atoka, Tushka, Caney, Caddo, Durant, Calera, Colbert, and to the Red River bridge north of Denison, TX.
When original State Route 6 was designated in 1925, it was laid along the general path of a travel corridor that had already been long established. In the mid 1800s, the diagonal path that eventually became Route 6 was known the Texas Road, blazed by emigrants from Kansas to Texas during the Mexican War. The Texas Road was later used by both Union and Confederacy for troop and supply movement during the Civil War, and the MKT Railroad eventually laid their mainline almost directly upon the same path as well. When the named "Auto Trails" were established piecemeal across the nation in the 1910s, the Texas Road was rechristened as part of the Jefferson Highway, which ran from Winnipeg, Canada to New Orleans. It was almost inevitable that a major highway would be established by the State Highway Commission upon this well traveled and very old route, and they did not disappoint, giving it status as one of the Great Crossings with the number 6. This very status and long history also led to the demise of the highway's state designation, as it was, like most of its brethren, entirely overlaid with US Highways in 1927. We present below a theoretical modern alignment of Route 6 using modern highways which approximates the path the old highway actually took.
A modern alignment of original Route 6 would begin at the Kansas state line on US Highway 59 and travel concurrent with the US route and modern State Highway 2 south to Welch, then continue south with SH 2 as US 59 splits off to the east. In Vinita, Route 6 would join with US 69 to travel briefly west, then turn south and travel toward Adair.
A modern Route 6 would continue concurrent with US 69 south from Adair through Choteau and on to Wagoner, where Route 6 would leave US 69, join briefly with SH 51, then travel together with modern SH 16 toward Okay.
After following modern SH 16 to Muskogee, Route 6 would take portions of the US highway business loops through Muskogee before rejoining US 69 for the journey further south. After bypassing several towns on the modern limited access freeway, we have shown Route 6 taking the business loop through Checotah, then rejoining the limited access for the trip toward Eufaula. For information on the historic route in this area, please see the forthcoming US 69 Muskogee to McAlester page.
Route 6 would take the business loop through Eufaula, then rejoin mainline US 69 for the journey further south. The highway skips past Canadian and Crowder, then takes the business loop into and through McAlester before rejoining the mainline for the trip further south.
A modern Route 6 would remain concurrent with US 69 as it passed through Kiowa and Stringtown on its way to Atoka. At this point, US 75 joins us, and the three highways would remain together all the way to the Red River. For information on the historic path of Route 6 and US 69 in this area, see the (coming soon) US 69 McAlester to Durant page.
Route 6 would leave the modern bypass routing of US 69/75 to take the business loop through Durant, then rejoin the mainline for the run to the Red River and reach its southern terminus at the state line in the river channel.
As with most of the other Great Crossings, the reason for the demise of Route 6 should be clear by this point. When the US highway system was authorized in 1927, the entire path of Route 6 was overlaid by US highways. Initially, the portion from the Kansas state line to Atoka was signed as US 73, with the portion from Atoka to the Red River being signed as US 75 alone. In the mid 1930s, US 73 was moved and US 69 took over most of the path of what had been Route 6. By that point, the state designation had already been removed as redundant in 1930, giving yet another historic name to a road with many aliases. We hoped you enjoyed this look at one of the most historic of Oklahoma's highways.
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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.