Columbus, Ohio

Ohio Route 1

Welcome to the Ohio Route 1 page. This page was created in the intent to inform and obtain the history of the modern Ohio Route 1.

The Ohio route system as we know it today was created in 1926 when the previous road numbering scheme conflicted with the new U.S. Highway system. The original Ohio Route 1 followed what is now U.S. route 40. Ohio routes 2, 3 kept their numbers, but Ohio Route 1 disappeared. Ohio Route 1 would not reappear for another 34 years.

The modern Ohio Route 1 reappeared in 1959. This new route conveniently passed near or through most of the major cities in Ohio including Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus, Mansfield, Akron, and Cleveland. From Cleveland, Ohio Route 1 continued Northeast toward Erie, PA.

What route did Ohio Route 1 take?
Route 1 started in Cincinnati and followed the newly opened Interstate 75 North to Dayton. From Dayton, Route 1 followed the existing U.S. 40 (soon to be Interstate 70) corridor East to Columbus. From Columbus, Route 1 followed the newly opened Interstate 71 Northeast to Medina (exit 218). From Medina, Route 1 followed Route 18 East to Montrose. From Montrose, Route 1 followed Route 21 North to Brecksville. From Brecksville, Route 1 followed Route 82 East to Aurora. From Aurora, Route 1 followed Route 306 North to then Route 84 (Close to Kirkland Hills and Mentor). From near Kirkland, Route 1 followed Route 84 Northeast about 6 miles close to Painsville. From just South of Painsville, Route 1 had its own 2 mile segment South to connect with the newly opened Interstate 90. Route 1 finished its route following Interstate 90 Northeast to Erie, PA.

Known Facts

  • As of today, there is no Ohio Route 1.
  • Route 1 followed 3 Interstates, 2 U.S. highways, and 5 state routes.
  • Only about 2 miles of Route 1 were of its own. All other portions of Route 1 followed already defined routes.
  • Route 1 was commissioned sometime in 1959.
  • Route 1 was decommissioned by 1964.
  • Route 1 went though many Ohio cities including Cincinnati, Dayton, Springfield, and Columbus
  • Route 1 came within 15 miles of many Ohio cities including Akron, Cleveland, and Mansfield.
  • Route 1 connected Interstate 71, 75 and 90 (incomplete at that time) with existing Ohio and U.S. routes.
  • Route 1 connected the farthest completed northern portion of I-71 (near Medina, OH) with the farthest completed western portion of I-90 (near Kirkland, OH) from Erie, PA.
  • Route 1 followed routes that are today some of the most congested in Ohio.

Unanswered Questions

  • Why was Route 1 decommissioned?
  • Was Route 1 an East/West route or a North/South route?
  • Why did Route 1 conveniently ‘snake’ through most of the major Ohio cities?
  • Was the routing of Route 1 political?
  • When was Route 1 planned?
  • Why has Ohio not reused the route number 1 like it has reused other route numbers?
  • Why does this drive me crazy?

Why do I care if there’s an Ohio Route 1 ?
When I was a child, I loved to study maps. Growing up in Ohio near Interstate 71, 271, and Ohio Route 18, I was constantly curious what each route number stood for and where they came from. As I learned of other routes, particularly Ohio routes 2 and 3 in Northeast Ohio, I started to study Ohio road maps in search of Ohio Route 1. I never found Route 1 on these maps, though I found neighboring states had their own Route 1’s. Since then, I have wondered why this Ohio route number is not in use today.

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