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HWY 89 Digital Collections

Roads are an integral part of the American experience. They bring people together in a literal sense, but also through their stories. In certain circumstances a road may even capture a unique cross section of America. Highway 89, forming the backbone of the Intermountain West, is just such a road. It is vitally important to Utah state tourism, chambers of commerce, state and regional historians, as well as to those who live along its route. However, due to geographic and sometimes cultural distances the full story of US 89 has yet to be told.

While U.S. 89 has hardly received the nostalgic attention given fabled thoroughfares like Route 66 or the Lincoln Highway, it is nevertheless central to the identity of the American West. It travels from high mountains to low desert; across five states: Arizona, Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, and Montana; and through or adjacent to seven national parks: Saguaro, Grand Canyon, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Glacier. It is no wonder that University of Wisconsin geographer Thomas R. Vale once called U.S. 89 “a cross section of the West.”

This project will develop an online aggregator and exhibition that brings together the stories of US 89, as it travels through the state of Utah. Our intention is to aggregate existing images, texts, and oral histories related to US 89 while simultaneously identifying and digitizing additional relevant collections. Through online geospatial identification applications, we also hope to create a collaborative space where community members can add their own contemporary stories through both image and text.

View a copy of our Highway 89 Digital Collection: Metadata and Submission Guidelines or see the metadata template


Highway 89 Digital Collections was created through a cooperative effort among special collections and archives in Utah and Northern Arizona. Future phases of this project will seek out the participation of institutions in other states along Highway 89.

Phase 1 contributors include:


Brad Cole Utah State University
Cheryl Walters Utah State University
Clint Pumphrey Utah State University
Dustin Olson Utah State University
Greg Thompson University of Utah
Jeff Anderson LDS Church History Library
Jim Kichas Utah State Archives
Karri Krattley Salt Lake County Archives
Liz Woolcott Utah State University
Paula Mitchell Southern Utah University
Russ Taylor Brigham Young University
Sarah Langsdon Weber State University
Sean Evans Northern Arizona University
Terry Nelson Salt Lake County Archives