End of historic US highway 241 [i]
To get between Nashville and Hopkinsville today, a driver would most likely use I-24. But before that freeway was built, there were two options between those cities: a western route via Clarksville, and an eastern one via Springfield.
...and the US route labels on some early maps were based on that description. However, Tennessee never actually signposted the routes that way. Instead, they wanted the two routes to be designated as if they were equally-viable options (i.e. US 41E and US 41W). Eventually AASHO allowed that, and only then did Tennessee begin signposting their US routes (more info on this page).
At its south end, US 241 would have come into Nashville via the Woodland Street bridge. In this photo, we have just crossed that bridge, heading southwest. Today traffic veers left and then right again on Union Street, around Public Square Park. But originally the road continued straight ahead, connecting with Deaderick Street (which runs just to the right of the tallest building visible in the photo). Just ahead that direction, at 1st Avenue (which is also vacated now) would have been the end of US 241. Straight ahead on Deaderick was northbound US 41 (which then turned north on 5th Avenue), while southbound was to the left on 1st:
It seems likely US 241 was signposted in Kentucky; and if so, this image shows its historic terminus in Hopkinsville. This is looking southeast on 9th Street, which serves as southbound US 41 and eastbound US 68. Originally US 41 continued to the right on Virginia Street, while straight ahead would have been the north beginning of US 241:
US 41 essentially followed what is now US 41 Alternate. But today that route no longer splits from US 41 there; that junction is now about five blocks ahead:
About a half-mile to the right on Walnut Street is 21st Street, where today's Alt. US 41 rejoins the original routing of US 41.
US 241[i] was shown on maps until 1929. Later its number was recycled and applied to a different highway serving another part of Tennessee (it is now decommissioned as well; more info on the US 241 [ii] page). The two routes between Nashville and Hopkinsville were finally numbered as US 41-E and US 41-W. That lasted until the mid-1940s, when the routes were renumbered again, to the way we know them today. Now mainline US 41 traffic is directed along the eastern route (via Springfield), while the western route through Clarksville is numbered as US 41 Alternate.
Research and/or photo credits: Robert Brooks; Nathan Edgars; Karin and Martin Karner; Mike Roberson; Dale Sanderson; Michael Summa; Sandra Tidwell
Page originally created 2005;
last updated Aug. 16, 2023.
last updated Aug. 16, 2023.