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An historic US highway endpoint at Pembina, ND

Photo credits: Jeff Morrison

Highway Approx. time period
US 81 1926-1960s
US 59 1934-1955(?)

The north end of US 81 has always been in Pembina, and US 59 ended there for several years as well. However, before I-29 was built, there was an older port of entry that marked the terminus for about 30 years. The photo below is looking west along Stutsman Street:

Morrison, May 2007

Northbound US 81 traffic came in from the left on Beaupre Street, then turned and continued ahead. Behind the camera is the Red River of the North, as well as the location of an historic bridge. Originally US 59 traffic came in from Minnesota, crossed the river behind the camera, and reached this intersection. It's possible that US 59 ended here, where it junctioned with US 81. But I think it's more likely that US 59 continued ahead, co-signed with US 81. The bridge visible in the background spans the Pembina River. The third block past that is 3rd Street - US 81 traffic was directed right (north) there, and continued another three miles or so to the original Pembina border crossing. North from Pembina, Jeff reports the old highway is in pretty bad shape. It's no longer maintained - it's been obsolete ever since I-29 opened to traffic. The photo below was taken looking north on the old highway, approaching the Canada line:

Morrison, May 2007

The border is not far ahead - that's where US 81 originally ended (and most likely US 59 as well). It was probably during the mid-1950s when US 59 traffic was redirected along its current route (north of Lancaster MN - click here for photos). US 81 still ends at the Port of Pembina, but that's now located a bit west of the original crossing pictured above (you can view photos from there on my main US 81 page).