Author Topic: History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"  (Read 692 times)

Side-Oilers

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History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"
« on: November 27, 2021, 10:51:39 PM »
https://www.dailybreeze.com/2021/03/29/south-bay-history-imperial-highway-once-figured-as-part-of-a-superhighway-plan/

Pix is from 1987.   Red arrow points to red mark approximately where Shelby American was located: 6501 W. Imperial.
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deathsled

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Re: History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"
« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2021, 08:36:04 AM »
Good history. Offers insight into how and why things get built.
"Low she sits on five spoke wheels
Small block eight so live she feels
There she's parked beside the curb
Engine revving to disturb
She's the princess from his past
Red paint gold stripes damned she's fast"

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Re: History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"
« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2021, 11:00:01 AM »
I have no luck viewing articles on the Daily Breeze website.

Side-Oilers

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Re: History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"
« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2021, 04:56:16 PM »
I'VE COPIED & PASTED THE TEXT FROM THAT DAILY BREEZE ARTICLE HERE: 

To South Bay residents, Imperial Highway is that east-west thoroughfare on the southern border of LAX. Follow it on a map and you’ll see how it wends its way from the Pacific Ocean at Vista del Mar eastward for more than 40 miles before ending unceremoniously in Anaheim Hills, in Orange County.

But its backstory, and its name, actually come from much farther south.

The Imperial Valley took its name from the Imperial Land Co., a subsidiary of the California Development Company charged with reclaiming the water-starved but arable land east of San Diego for agricultural purposes in the early 1900s.

The company began building canals in 1900, diverting water from the Colorado River for irrigation, and forming the Salton Sea in the process.

As early as 1901, San Diegans were warned that unless they built a new road to the Imperial Valley, they would lose out on trade to Los Angeles, whose leaders already were eyeing the productive area.

Angelenos were keen on the idea of patching together a superhighway that would stretch from the Pacific all the way to Brawley in the Imperial Valley, a distance of 215 miles. (The roadway later would extend a few miles farther south to El Centro.)

The most efficient route roughly followed the old Butterfield Stage overland route, established in 1858. This would cut as much as 75 miles from the then-current route, which involved driving down to San Diego before heading east at a right angle to the Imperial Valley.


(Road sign photo)
The early Imperial Highway plans involved connecting a patchwork assortment of roads of varying length and quality, but still would be a great improvement because of its shorter distance and its flatter elevations. Backers calculated that a trip that once took three days by truck could be made in 10 hours once the new route was completed.

A faster route would keep perishable farm crops fresher longer as they were being trucked  back up to the Los Angeles area. Initially, the plan was named the Ocean to Ocean highway, and was to have its terminus in Yuma, Arizona.


The Los Angeles section of road would be mostly a straight shot from LAX to Anaheim, where the proposed road would dip south diagonally before eventually reaching the Imperial Valley.

By the 1920s, the efficacy of the Imperial Highway concept had become apparent, and a new and more forceful private group, the Imperial Highway Association, was formed in 1929 to encourage the regions involved to mount a fully cooperative effort, including working closely with San Diego County, to get the job done.

The association adopted an official route for a more streamlined, uniform highway in 1931 that ran slightly west of the earlier Salton Sea route. The improved roadway, now referred to informally as “the Cannon Ball Road,” would eliminate tight right angle turns that slowed trucks, smooth and widen the various roadways involved, and have new bridges where necessary.

Imperial Highway boosters worked tirelessly over the next three decades to put the pieces of the roadway into place. A major section in Yorba Linda was completed in 1937. Two-lane portions of the highway through Inglewood had to be expanded to four. A  bridge over the Los Angeles River, completed in 1951, eliminated a crucial bottleneck; it replaced an old one that collapsed in 1948.

At long last, the final section of the Imperial Highway as envisioned by the association was completed, and it was dedicated a scenic highway in a ceremony on the Imperial-San Diego county border in December 1961.

Of its 220 total miles, 77 were county roads, with the rest being state highways. The cost to complete the project was estimated at $16 million (about $138 million in 2020 dollars).

Almost as soon as it was completed, though, the lengthy Imperial Highway project began to be chipped away at, with several sections being used for other highway projects.

In 1965, Caltrans planned a new freeway along the path of Imperial Highway, from LAX to Norwalk. It opened in 1993, though Imperial Highway itself remained in place, if somewhat less crucial than it once was.

Major chunks of the roadway through Riverside and San Diego counties were subsumed by newer freeways and highways over the years.

The Imperial Highway project may be mostly fragmented and forgotten today, but its proponents succeeded in opening up a vital trade route connecting Los Angeles and the farming land of the Imperial Valley. The Imperial Highway Association worked on a variety of other projects before disbanding in the 1980s.

The 41-mile Los Angeles stretch, which passes through El Segundo, Hawthorne, Inglewood, South Los Angeles, Lynwood, South Gate, Downey, Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs and La Mirada, retains the original Imperial Highway name, as does a section of California State Highway 86 in El Centro (also known as Imperial Avenue).
Current:
Kirkham Cobra with 482-inch aluminum side-oiler
Formerly:
1968 GT500KR #2575 (1982-2022)
1970 Ranchero GT 429
1969 LTD Country Squire 429
1962 T-bird with 13k original miles
1957 T-bird E-model, dual fours, 3-speed stick

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Re: History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"
« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2021, 10:19:28 PM »
Thank you

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Re: History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2021, 07:56:49 AM »
Thanks for sharing
These cars are meant to be driven so enjoy the hell out of all of it. Not just the look of it when its all cleanCS

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Re: History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"
« Reply #6 on: November 29, 2021, 02:06:57 PM »
Pat Ganahl has a blog that visits historic places events etc https://patganahl.com/2021/11/29/covid-cruise-alger-street/
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Re: History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"
« Reply #7 on: November 29, 2021, 02:25:47 PM »
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Author Topic: History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"  (Read 127 times)

Side-OilersSAAC MemberHero MemberPosts: 1894SAAC member since 1981. 

History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"

« on: November 27, 2021, 10:51:39 PM »

Quote

https://www.dailybreeze.com/2021/03/29/south-bay-history-imperial-highway-once-figured-as-part-of-a-superhighway-plan/

Pix is from 1987.   Red arrow points to red mark approximately where Shelby American was located: 6501 W. Imperial.


 Imperial Highway 1987 - red mark at Shelby American.jpg (85.49 kB, 798x600 - viewed 32 times.)

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Re: History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"

« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2021, 08:36:04 AM »

Quote

Good history. Offers insight into how and why things get built.

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"Low she sits on five spoke wheels
Small block eight so live she feels
There she's parked beside the curb
Engine revving to disturb
She's the princess from his past
Red paint gold stripes damned she's fast"

sd427SAAC MemberFull MemberPosts: 124Member LA SAAC  

Re: History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"

« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2021, 11:00:01 AM »

Quote

I have no luck viewing articles on the Daily Breeze website.

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Side-OilersSAAC MemberHero MemberPosts: 1894SAAC member since 1981. 

Re: History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"

« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2021, 04:56:16 PM »

Quote

I'VE COPIED & PASTED THE TEXT FROM THAT DAILY BREEZE ARTICLE HERE: 

To South Bay residents, Imperial Highway is that east-west thoroughfare on the southern border of LAX. Follow it on a map and you’ll see how it wends its way from the Pacific Ocean at Vista del Mar eastward for more than 40 miles before ending unceremoniously in Anaheim Hills, in Orange County.

But its backstory, and its name, actually come from much farther south.

The Imperial Valley took its name from the Imperial Land Co., a subsidiary of the California Development Company charged with reclaiming the water-starved but arable land east of San Diego for agricultural purposes in the early 1900s.

The company began building canals in 1900, diverting water from the Colorado River for irrigation, and forming the Salton Sea in the process.

As early as 1901, San Diegans were warned that unless they built a new road to the Imperial Valley, they would lose out on trade to Los Angeles, whose leaders already were eyeing the productive area.

Angelenos were keen on the idea of patching together a superhighway that would stretch from the Pacific all the way to Brawley in the Imperial Valley, a distance of 215 miles. (The roadway later would extend a few miles farther south to El Centro.)

The most efficient route roughly followed the old Butterfield Stage overland route, established in 1858. This would cut as much as 75 miles from the then-current route, which involved driving down to San Diego before heading east at a right angle to the Imperial Valley.


(Road sign photo)
The early Imperial Highway plans involved connecting a patchwork assortment of roads of varying length and quality, but still would be a great improvement because of its shorter distance and its flatter elevations. Backers calculated that a trip that once took three days by truck could be made in 10 hours once the new route was completed.

A faster route would keep perishable farm crops fresher longer as they were being trucked  back up to the Los Angeles area. Initially, the plan was named the Ocean to Ocean highway, and was to have its terminus in Yuma, Arizona.


The Los Angeles section of road would be mostly a straight shot from LAX to Anaheim, where the proposed road would dip south diagonally before eventually reaching the Imperial Valley.

By the 1920s, the efficacy of the Imperial Highway concept had become apparent, and a new and more forceful private group, the Imperial Highway Association, was formed in 1929 to encourage the regions involved to mount a fully cooperative effort, including working closely with San Diego County, to get the job done.

The association adopted an official route for a more streamlined, uniform highway in 1931 that ran slightly west of the earlier Salton Sea route. The improved roadway, now referred to informally as “the Cannon Ball Road,” would eliminate tight right angle turns that slowed trucks, smooth and widen the various roadways involved, and have new bridges where necessary.

Imperial Highway boosters worked tirelessly over the next three decades to put the pieces of the roadway into place. A major section in Yorba Linda was completed in 1937. Two-lane portions of the highway through Inglewood had to be expanded to four. A  bridge over the Los Angeles River, completed in 1951, eliminated a crucial bottleneck; it replaced an old one that collapsed in 1948.

At long last, the final section of the Imperial Highway as envisioned by the association was completed, and it was dedicated a scenic highway in a ceremony on the Imperial-San Diego county border in December 1961.

Of its 220 total miles, 77 were county roads, with the rest being state highways. The cost to complete the project was estimated at $16 million (about $138 million in 2020 dollars).

Almost as soon as it was completed, though, the lengthy Imperial Highway project began to be chipped away at, with several sections being used for other highway projects.

In 1965, Caltrans planned a new freeway along the path of Imperial Highway, from LAX to Norwalk. It opened in 1993, though Imperial Highway itself remained in place, if somewhat less crucial than it once was.

Major chunks of the roadway through Riverside and San Diego counties were subsumed by newer freeways and highways over the years.

The Imperial Highway project may be mostly fragmented and forgotten today, but its proponents succeeded in opening up a vital trade route connecting Los Angeles and the farming land of the Imperial Valley. The Imperial Highway Association worked on a variety of other projects before disbanding in the 1980s.

The 41-mile Los Angeles stretch, which passes through El Segundo, Hawthorne, Inglewood, South Los Angeles, Lynwood, South Gate, Downey, Norwalk, Santa Fe Springs and La Mirada, retains the original Imperial Highway name, as does a section of California State Highway 86 in El Centro (also known as Imperial Avenue).

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Re: History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"

« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2021, 10:19:28 PM »

Quote

Thank you

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FL SAACSAAC MemberHero MemberPosts: 11531original posts more than McDonalds over 1 billlion  

Re: History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"

« Reply #5 on: Today at 07:56:49 AM »

QuoteModifyRemove

Thanks for sharing

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These cars are meant to be driven so enjoy the hell out of all of it. Not just the look of it when its all cleanCS

A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs.It's jolted by every pebble on the road

Florida S.A.A.C Love All-Serve All, Take Time To Be Kind

I have a UNGOLD car

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Re: History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"

« Reply #6 on: Today at 02:06:57 PM »

Quote

Pat Ganahl has a blog that visits historic places events etc https://patganahl.com/2021/11/29/covid-cruise-alger-street/

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Previous owner 6S843 - GT350H & 68 GT500 Convert #135.
Mine: GT1 Mustang Track Toy, 1998 SVT Cobra, Wife's: 2004 Tbird
Member since 1975 - priceless

FL SAACSAAC MemberHero MemberPosts: 11531original posts more than McDonalds over 1 billlion  

Re: History of Imperial Highway -- aka "The Cannon Ball Highway"

« Reply #7 on: Today at 02:20:06 PM »

QuoteModifyRemove

Love the way "Pat" thinks and improvises

" What I’m talking about, of course, is Covid, specifically the period when we were “locked down,” relegated to staying inside our homes, not going anywhere, not mingling with any other people.

Well, being a hot rodder, I like to improvise, be creative, find alternatives. And being a hot rodder, I had a topless, fenderless Deuce roadster sitting in the garage, in as much need of exercise as I was. The Covid lock-down didn’t specifically say we had to stay inside our houses. We could go outside. We just couldn’t go where other people were "

These cars are meant to be driven so enjoy the hell out of all of it. Not just the look of it when its all cleanCS

A person without a sense of humor is like a wagon without springs.It's jolted by every pebble on the road

Florida S.A.A.C Love All-Serve All, Take Time To Be Kind

I have a UNGOLD car