Some 1934 maps showed new US routes in Minnesota and/or extensions of US routes. This was due to a series of errors and misunderstandings involving AASHO, MNDoT, and commercial map publishers. By 1935 all of these misprints had been corrected. I will explain in more detail below, but first I will jump ahead to the final analysis:
In the original US route system (implemented in late 1926), US 10 had a split route in Minnesota between St. Cloud and Moorhead. US 10-N followed what is now vanilla US 10 (through Little Falls, Motley, Wadena, and Detroit Lakes). US 10-S essentially followed what is now the I-94 corridor (through Sauk Centre, Alexandria, and Fergus Falls). Split routes quickly proved to be confusing to the driving public, and soon AASHO was encouraging the state DOTs to eliminate them (either by giving one of the branches an "Alternate" banner or else assigning one of the branches a completely different number). MNDoT agreed and attempted to come up with their own solutions.
October 1933, first proposal
At the time, the north terminus of US 55 was in Minneapolis. MNDoT contacted AASHO to suggest that the US 55 designation be extended northwest from there, replacing US 10-N (and US 10-S would then become simply US 10). Incidentally, the same letter proposed some additional changes:
October 1933, second proposal
MNDoT addressed some of AASHO's concerns as follows:
November 1933 proposal
MNDoT expressed their desire to extend US 212 further east from Chaska, through the Twin Cities and to the Wisconsin border at Stillwater. AASHO's response again indicated favorability, but again contingent upon approval.
January 1934 proposal
MNDoT contacted AASHO again, noting that Minneapolis interests were opposed to removing the US 8 designation from their city, so instead this time it was the US 218 designation that MNDoT proposed as a replacement for US 10-N (it is unclear why they suggested that, instead of going back to the earlier US 55 proposal). They also included some other ideas in this letter:
Minnesota Highway Department's infamous May 1934 map
Unfortunately MNDoT went rogue by opting to include some of their proposed route changes on their 1934 map. This was printed in May prior to AASHO's June meeting, during which these suggested routes would be rejected. One of these errors was a "US 59" running north and south out of Rochester to the borders of Wisconsin and Iowa:
That same inset map also showed the US 212 designation extending through St. Paul to Stillwater:
These errors were not confined only to MNDoT's map. They were also shown on some commercial maps (which is understandable since publishers relied heavily on state maps for source material). For example, here is a 1934 Rand McNally that showed US 65 north of Minneapolis; US 212 to Stillwater; and US 218 north of Owatonna:
On that map US 218 was shown ending in the Twin Cities (instead of continuing up to Brainerd), and US 65 was shown to end at US 210 in McGregor. That same map also showed "US 59" in the southeastern part of the state. And there was at least one more 1934 commercial map (Gallup) that also showed those same errors, including US 212 to Stillwater, and US 59 along the Rochester corridor:
Communication and decisions through the rest of 1934 and into 1935
At the time of this writing (Jan. 2021) some of the relevant documents were missing from the database I used for research. Nevertheless, I believe I have been able to piece together most of what happened with regard to the routes in question.
In other words, the 1935 map corrected the mistakes shown on the 1934 map, on which MNDoT had made some erroneous assumptions about the US route decisions that AASHO would make later in 1934. So, even though some maps suggest otherwise, US 59 only existed in western Minnesota, never in the southeastern part of the state. US 65 never went further north than Minneapolis; US 212 never went east of the Twin Cities; and US 218 never went north of Owatonna.
AASHO Route Numbering Archive
MNDoT historic state highway maps
Rand McNally 1934 atlas
Gallup 1934 atlas (physical copy)
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