Historic Auto Trails

Great White Way


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Great whiteThis route was originally the White Pole Road designated such in 1910 by the White Pole Auto Club (formerly known as the Southwestern Iowa Auto Club). It first followed along the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad from Des Moines to Council Bluffs. The route promised motorists a straighter, leveler and shorter route across the state with a town every five to six miles along the way. Poles along the route were painted white and auto tourists were encouraged to travel the "Great White Way."

In the fall of 1912, the road was extended east from Des Moines to Davenport to encompass the entire state, with plans to eventually extend from Chicago to Denver. When the Iowa Legislature in passed the Iowa Highway Route Registration Act, the Great White Way

Association applied on October 6, 1913; paid the $5 fee and was awarded a certificate on July 30, 1914, making it the first certified route under the provisions of the Iowa State Highway Commission's rules.

In 1922, the Great White Way Highway merged with the rival River-to-River Primary No. 7 Highway to form the new Whiteway-7-Highway... only to be changed again to U.S. Highway 32 in 1926. In December 1931, sections of the White Pole Road became part of U.S. 6, which at one point was the longest continuous east-west route in the United States stretching from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to Long Beach, California.

In 1947, Iowa joined other states in officially designating U.S. 6 the Grand Army of the Republic Highway at the urging of an association of Union veterans of the Civil War. In 1965, Interstate 80 was completed and the popularity of this once important highway diminished.

In 1980, the section of highway in this area was renumbered Iowa 925. In 2003, Iowa 925 was transferred to the area counties and was officially renamed the White Pole Road. This route has gone full circle over the past 100 years. Poles along a 26-mile stretch of the route have been painted white and once again. For more information about the promotion of this route visit the White Pole Route Development Corporation’s Web site at: http://www.whitepoleroad.com.

The White Pole Road Development Corporation announces a new tool to help visitors navigate their 26-mile scenic and historic route just west of Des Moines. Read more (pdf)

Sponsored by the Great White Way Association of Iowa, Inc.