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(October 26, 1937-July 1, 2003)

NORTH End: Stop sign, US 30, Benton County

Facing north on 131 (December 2001)

Photo by Jason Hancock

Facing north on 131 (November 2002)

LGS in above picture(s)

The curve of the farm field fence just to the right may mean that, since the road to the west was built later, the original alignment had a curve here.

Facing east on 30

Facing west on 30

Photo by Jason Hancock

When they finished blasting through the "Bohemian Alps" for a straight US 30 through Tama and western Benton counties in the mid-1930s, some renumbering took place. In fact, the official alignment changed the same week the King Tower Cafe opened in Tama! Both announcements are on the same front page of the Tama News-Herald, a copy of which is in the cafe. On October 26, 1937, the original Lincoln Highway west of Belle Plaine became IA 212 (which had other major reroutings in the '30s), and east of Belle Plaine it became 131. This (131) is the only piece of the Lincoln in Benton County that isn't still 30 or parallels 30 closely.

SOUTH End (2001-03): Stop sign/T intersection, E66, Benton County

Facing south on 131

Photo by Jason Hancock

In 2000 and 2001, 131 was completely detoured along IA 21 and US 30 for rehabilitaion. The result of said rehab is that the east-west segment of 131 was turned over to the county and Belle Plaine, and 131 came to an abrupt and undignified end at E66. Before then, 131 continued to the right into Belle Plaine. Mile markers were not changed; MM 3 is about one mile north.

Facing south on 131 (November 2002)

Two small things differ between the pictures. The lesser-visible one is tacked on the pole to the right of the pickup. On top of a Lincoln Highway logo with a right arrow on the pole is a tacky sign advertising health insurance. The other is that the grass in the foreground has been mowed.

Facing south on 131

Facing west on E66

I believe that the pole sticks up because a "Detour" sign was put here in 2000. An identical arrangement except without the "Jct" appears on old 131 eastbound. The separate assemblies on the county road (one is at the intersection) and the up-and-right arrow aren't usual signage. The Belle Plaine city limits are actually just over the hill.

Old SOUTH End (1937-2001): 4-way stop, IA 21 N/13th St. and IA 21 S/7th Ave., Belle Plaine, Benton County

Facing west, but heading south, on 131 (December 2001)

Photo by Jason Hancock

The red pickup has just passed the end of 131. The 21 signs and bracket still stood when Jason took this picture (see below).

Facing northwest-ish (November 2002)

The highway signs, right to left, are the one that still had brackets when Jason took the picture, the assembly for northbound 21 (compare to below as well), and a "To 30" that could instead have a double arrow or be broken into "To West 30 <- / To East 30 ->".

Facing west, but heading south, on 131

This LGS and the city limits sign remain. From the city limits sign to about halfway to here the road was newly reconstructed, complete with curbs. That's probably why Belle Plaine took over the road, to do improvements.

Facing north on 21

Facing north on 21

Photo by Jason Hancock

A "131" with a right arrow sat aside the 21 sign, thus the non-centering. By November 2002 an Iowa Scenic Byway sign had been placed on the right (see above). Notice the old Standard sign; the red portion at the top has fallen off here but is still on the other side. The station has since been BP-ified.

Facing east, but heading south, on 21 (2002 / 2006)

Comparatively, northbound 21 traffic is told to come this way for 30, or was until after 2003. Highway 21 LGSs include Elberon and Victor, although it never entered the former and has bypassed the latter. (Did you notice that on this page, it's always Christmas in Belle Plaine?)

Last seen: 2003

The 2003 map was the only one to note a truncated 131, still showing 7 miles to Belle Plaine.

Pictures by Jason Hancock: First, fifth, sixth, ninth, and thirteenth, 12/2/01

Pictures by me: Second-fourth, seventh, eighth, tenth, eleventh, and fourteenth, 11/29/02; twelfth and fifteenth, 11/22/06

Page created 2/3/02; last updated 4/30/07

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