The Grand Army of the Republic Highway, also known as the GAR Highway, is a historic road in the United States that was dedicated to the memory of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR), a fraternal organization of Union veterans of the American Civil War. This highway was established in the early 20th century to honor the veterans of the Civil War and commemorate their service.
The GAR Highway ran from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, to San Francisco, California, spanning nearly 3,400 miles. Along its route, it passed through various towns and cities, connecting key points of interest related to the Civil War.
In Omaha, Nebraska, the GAR Highway was a notable part of the city's road network. It would have followed a route through Omaha as it made its way westward. While the GAR Highway was significant in its time, its importance has diminished over the years with the development of modern highways and transportation infrastructure.
Today, many parts of the original GAR Highway have been absorbed into the U.S. highway system or other road networks. It is still possible to find markers and memorials along the old GAR Highway route, serving as reminders of the sacrifices made by Civil War veterans.
Creation and Purpose: The idea for the GAR Highway was conceived in the early 20th century as a way to create a transcontinental highway that would both honor the memory of Civil War veterans and serve as a tourist route connecting important historical sites and landmarks related to the Civil War.
Route: The GAR Highway ran from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on the eastern end to San Francisco, California, on the western end. It passed through several states, including Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado, among others. In Omaha, Nebraska, it would have followed a specific route through the city.
Markers and Memorials: Along the route of the GAR Highway, markers and memorials were placed to commemorate the sacrifices of Union soldiers and the history of the Civil War. These markers often provided information about the significance of nearby historical sites.
Historical Significance: The GAR Highway was an early example of a themed tourist route in the United States. It aimed to promote tourism and encourage travel along its path while educating people about the Civil War and its veterans.
Legacy: Over time, many parts of the original GAR Highway have been integrated into the U.S. highway system or other state and local roads. The highway's historical significance remains, but it has been largely replaced by modern transportation infrastructure.
Commemorative Efforts: Efforts have been made by historical societies and preservationists to restore and maintain sections of the GAR Highway and its associated markers and memorials. These initiatives seek to preserve the memory of the Civil War and the contributions of its veterans.