About Route 6 History

US Route 6 in Pennsylvania enjoys a storied past. The route can be traced back to 1807 when state officials mandated a road be cut through the Moosic Mountains to enable easier travel to the western parts of the state. As the state and nation grew, so too did the road. Carved out of hundreds of miles of wilderness, the road eventually united most of the county seats in Pennsylvania’s northern tier. The fledgling highway quickly became a vital link between the industry of the west and the railroads in the east. Along its length sprung up charming villages, plentiful farming communities and thriving towns.


In 1925, Route 6 in Pennsylvania was incorporated into a highway system that would connect the United States from coast to coast. Named US Route 6, the road stretched from Cape Cod, Massachusetts to Long Beach, California. It became one of America’s first transcontinental highways.  Today the road remains one of the longest highways in the nation.

Approximately 3.5 million people travel the historic highway through Pennsylvania each year to visit the historic sites, national and state parks, artist studios, and quaint towns that remind us of the true America.

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Important dates:

  • 1927: American Association of State Highways Officials extend US Route 6 from Provincetown, MA to Erie, PA
  • 1937: American Association of State Highway Officials extended US Route 6 to Long Beach, CA. In 1965, the western terminus was shifted to Bishop, CA.
  • 1948: Pennsylvania designates Route 6 as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway (GAR) after an 11-year campaign by the Sons of the Union Veterans of the Civil War.
  • 1953: All 14 states officially recognize US Route 6 as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway.
  • 1957: Attempts to have Route 6 in PA named part of the Interstate Highway Program fail. To the south of Route 6, I-80 running from Stroudsburg to Sharon was designated. The reason it failed – the interstates ban on commercial business would hurt existing businesses.
  • 1985: Route 6 is named by Car & Driver Magazine as one of the top scenic routes in the US.
  • 1987: Route 6 is chosen by Harley Davidson as Pennsylvania’s Best Touring Route.
  • 1994: US Route 6 in Pennsylvania is designated a National Recreational Trail.
  • January 13, 2005: Governor Edward Rendell designates Route 6 a Pennsylvania Heritage Area.
  • 2015: PA Route 6 celebrates its 10th anniversary as a designated Pennsylvania Heritage Area.

Related Links

Explore Heritage and History

PA Route 6 Alliance