Woodbury County will take part in a nationwide effort to promote U.S. Highway 20’s original route by installing historic markers along the section that officials hope will generate tourism.
The original 1926 alignment of U.S. 20 stretches more than 3,000 miles from Boston to Newport, Oregon. It moves through 13 counties in Iowa from the Mississippi to Missouri River, including Woodbury County.
The Historic Route 20 Association wants to mark that original route to promote tourism. Supervisors in Woodbury County approved a resolution this week to place historic signage along the route that will “act as a wayfinding tool to guide tourists and travelers on the 1926 alignment to a local agency.”
Woodbury County Community and Economic Development Director David Gleiser said he believes this will bring people into smaller towns along the route that they may not have ever visited.
“We’re hoping it’s going to give people a reason to hop in the car and go for a road trip, do some sightseeing, maybe get a bite to eat,” Gleiser said, “and enjoy the various quality of life amenities these towns have to offer.”
According to a news release, local efforts for a formal designation of the statewide route began in 2014. City officials from Cushing, a town of more than 200 in Woodbury County, reached out to Bryan Farr, the president of the Historic Route 20 Association, after they saw a news story on Farr’s efforts to promote the route. Farr’s initiative and the association began in 2012.
Gleiser said the county and likely individual communities will put together marketing efforts to help promote the route.
“We think we’re going to see a lot of interest from pleasure travelers and tourists looking for that Americana, kind of classic American road trip,” Gleiser said. “We think that’s sort of the appeal.”
Woodbury County will put up signage within the next year. Gleiser estimated the signage will cost the county around $3,300.
The Historic Route 20 Association wants to “make US Route 20 a popular alternative to its more famous cousin, Route 66,” according to the association’s website. U.S. Highway Route 66 stretches 2,400 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles.