State of the 6
State of the “6” 2013
Hello, members, partners, and affiliates, 2013 was a banner year for Historic Route 6 in Iowa, and we are excited to share the news, but before we get started, let’s jump back in time for a moment … At the beginning of 2012, there were no signs along Historic 6, and no attention paid to these seemingly innocuous county roads.
By the end of 2012, we were able to erect 16 signs between Davenport and Wilton, and County Road F58 once again reclaimed its status as “Historic Route 6”. We made newspapers and television news with our achievement, and by “our” I mean just that. This could not have happened without your help and support.
We didn’t rest on our laurels in 2013. By the end of 2012, we assembled a team of volunteers across the state, and began looking at the next “lost corridor” of Historic 6 - County Road F29, between Ladora and Grinnell. Bypassed in 1956, this beautiful, twisty, hilly specimen of traveling enjoyment serves Victor, Carnforth and Brooklyn, Iowa. With the help of the the city of Grinnell, the Ruritan Club, The Grinnell Vintage Auto Club, Casey’s General Store, grants, and private donations, we were able to sign all of this road, and then continue our way through Grinnell, to the west end of Poweshiek County! That’s right, the communities spoke, and now any current stretch of 6 that is true to the original alignment will get signed.
Thanks to the Iowa City/Coralville Convention & Visitor Bureau, the original alignment into and through Iowa City now has signs. The cities of West Liberty, Anita, Newton and Grinnell have also purchased signs. We now have over 80 signs up across Iowa. All of Cass County and the cities of Ladora, Atlantic, Stuart and Adair are planning for signs as well.
Our goal is to have all of Iowa signed by mid 2014. The signs are only part of the story - this year, we received some statewide and national publicity. Our Facebook and web pages attracted some very important visitors. American Collectors Insurance nominated us along with seven other very worthy scenic roads, and we won the vote for not one but two episodes of American Detours! The American Detours crew came all the way from New Jersey to Iowa in order to film Historic US 6 – our own little romantic highway. These episodes will be viewable online in March 2014 at Americandetourstv.com. We are also working on an arrangement with Iowa Public Television (IPTV) for broadcast across Iowa as well.
Speaking of IPTV, the documentary by Fourth Wall Films is coming along nicely. We have achieved the funding necessary, including a major grant from Humanities Iowa to enable completion of the documentary film “River to River: Iowa’s Forgotten Highway 6” by September 2014. The book is on schedule for 2014 as well. A brochure with a map and businesses and attractions is also in the works. But the publicity doesn’t end there!
This year, we put on the largest of our River to River Cruises ever. With over 200 classic cars participating from five states, and many passengers dressed in period attire, we made a tremendous splash across Iowa. Our favorite highway was the subject of numerous newspaper articles, radio and TV interviews across the state.
We joined with nearly every Convention & Visitors Bureau on Highway 6 across Iowa, and they delivered. We also can now enter into reciprocal arrangements with Chambers. We had greetings from mayors, streets set aside for festivities, and many, many spectators. Next year, we are adding a motorcycle cruise as well. We are getting your highway, your towns, and your businesses into the public eye, and again, by “we”, I mean you and our team. We gratefully thank you for your support, and we hope you will continue to do so in the coming years. Remember that we are member supported. You make this possible. Thank you!
David W. Darby
Iowa US Route 6 Tourist Association