Huttleston Ave., Route 6

Dear Mr. History Person,
U.S. Route 6 was in existence in the 1920s before Huttleston was extended east of Adams Street. Did the highway run though Fairhaven at that time? If so, by what route?
—R.B., Fall River, MA

The Highway Commissioners of the New England states began a system of numbering highways in 1922. What’s now Route 6 in Massachusetts from Cape Cod to Connecticut was NE 3. In 1925, the U.S. Government started a system for Federal highways. Most of New England conformed to the U.S. system from the beginning. Under the Federal system, highways running east and west got even numbers while routes running north and south got odd numbers. NE 3 became U.S. Route 6 or the Grand Army of the Republic Memorial Highway. By 1926, travelers were using U.S. Route 6 to travel from Cape Cod westward through New Bedford, Fall River and Providence to Connecticut and New York.

Huttleston Avenue first opened about the same time as the new Fairhaven-New Bedford Bridge was completed and opened to traffic in 1902. The straight wide avenue laid out under Superintendent of Streets Henry H. Rogers ran only from the bridge to Adams Street.

When NE 3 and U.S. Route 6 were established, its path east through Fairhaven originally followed Huttleston Avenue to Adams Street, Adams Street to Washington Street, and Washington Street to the Mattapoisett line. This route is clearly mapped and outlined in a ALA "Green Book" automobile guide published in 1932.

It wasn’t too long before increased auto traffic brought about the construction of a new section of Route 6. That happened in 1934 when the Levasseur house at the east end of Huttleston Avenue was moved out of the way and Huttleston Avenue was extended. The roadway was curved to cross Bridge Street, connecting to the intersection of Washington and Spring streets.

Until the 1990s, Route 6 in Fairhaven had two names, the western section being Huttleston Avenue and the Eastern section being Washington Street. Today the route’s whole length is Huttleston Avenue.