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Last Marker of the Yellowstone Trail

Field review by the editors.

Hettinger, North Dakota

According to its North Dakota boosters, the Yellowstone Trail was the first "organized highway," in America, preceding the Lincoln Highway by a full year (1912 vs 1913). It eventually stretched coast-to-coast, from Boston to Seattle.

The Trail, which in some places was just a dirt road, had its route marked with yellow circles and black arrows, sometimes painted on roadside trees. However, in North Dakota, where the Trail was founded, there weren't many trees, so the circles and arrows were painted on hard-to-miss cone-shaped sandstone pillars, some standing ten feet high.

The Trail, like all of the organized highways, was officially obliterated when the U.S. went to a numbered highway naming system in 1926. The painted markers soon wore out, the trees died, and all of the pillars were eventually bulldozed except for the one in Hettinger. It has been preserved, given a historical plaque, and moved to a place of honor on the courthouse lawn, right along the old Yellowstone Trail.

Last Marker of the Yellowstone Trail

Address:
604 Adams Ave., Hettinger, ND
Directions:
Downtown, on the north side of US-12/Adams Ave., just west of its intersection with 7th St. N.
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Nearby Offbeat Places

Enchanted CastleEnchanted Castle, Regent, ND - 29 mi.
Sir Albert and the DragonSir Albert and the Dragon, Regent, ND - 29 mi.
Enchanted Highway Gift ShopEnchanted Highway Gift Shop, Regent, ND - 29 mi.
In the region:
Fisherman's Dream: Enchanted Highway, Regent, ND - 41 mi.

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