True or False? Genesee St. from Utica, NY to Buffalo is America’s Longest Street?
Is it possible that Genesee Street, which starts in Utica and travels all the way to Buffalo, is the longest street in America? Many people who called into the Keeler Show on Friday believe it is, and here's everything we know.
There is a Genesee Street in Utica, Syracuse, Geneva, Rochester and Buffalo, among other cities. The streets travel east to west and are often connected by NYS Route 5, and derived from a Revolutionary War era road that stretched from Fort Schuyler, now Utica, all the way to Buffalo.
In 1800, the legislature commissioned to have the thoroughfare or turnpike macadamized to reduce potholes from Utica to Canadaigua, and it was completed in 1808 by the Seneca Road Company. It was a toll road and it would be called Seneca Turnpike, a road that still exists in the Utica area. In 1806, the road company expanded Seneca Turnpike more to the north and it included Syracuse, following the Great Genessee Road.
What's a Street vs a Road?
A street is a "paved public road that only appears in a city or town, not in rural areas," according to Mental Floss. It's a roadway inside an urban setting or city, where a road connects cities and towns. Therefore, by definition, Genesee Street in Utica/New Hartford is a different street than Genesee Street in Syracuse or Buffalo.
It's actually believed, Colfax Avenue in Denver, Colorado is considered the longest street in America. It is 49.5 miles. It's not nearly as long as the trek from Utica to Buffalo (198 miles), but is qualifies as one street.
So, could Genesee Street, or Genesee Road be considered the longest road in America? Unfortunately, it isn't even close. However, America's longest road actually does travel through our region from east to west. U.S. Route 20 which travels through parts of the area including Richfield Springs, West Winfield, Bridgewater, Madison and Oneida, is the longest road in America. Route 20 is 3,365 miles long, stretching coast-to-coast from Boston to Newport, Oregon which ends abruptly at the Pacific Ocean.
Route 20 has its own legendary history. It was completed in 1926 and was considered the main thoroughfare from east to west in the United States. That claim, along with thousands of businesses that fed, supported and profited from the traffic, began a rather swift death when the Thruway system was completed in the 1950s.
So, any way you look at it, while Genesee Streets can be found along the Genesee trail throughout Upstate New York, they are not officially the same continuous street and therefore, none of them are America's longest street or road. So, I'm afraid the answer to the true or false question this morning is an absolute: false.