Topping in at 15.25 miles, this highway is unusual in that it has six miles of gravel road, something only shared with two other mainline highways (N-18 and N-67) and its own spur, S-67C. N-65 was first established in 1921 between Valentine and Ainsworth; this was replaced in 1925 by N-1 and N-1B and later U.S. 20. It then popped up around 1927 between Merriman and the South Dakota state line before being replaced by N-61 in the 1930s. It now exists much farther away from its previous positions, traveling from the Kansas state line through Pawnee City and into Table Rock. While it does not continue as a state highway into Kansas, the road leading south eventually leads to Baileyville. What is interesting is that while the road into Baileyville is paved, it is not a state highway, while N-65 is a state highway but is not paved.
N-65 runs concurrent with N-8 into Pawnee City before turning north concurrent with N-50. The entire length of N-65 is in Pawnee County.
This is one highway that I’m not even sure why it still exists. It seems to be a remnant of someone’s idea that got forgotten about, hence why a six mile portion never got paved. I suspect that the original idea was to have a state highway to run between Baileyville and Table Rock, but Kansas opted not to move state funds for their portion. Why its spur, S-67C, is still funded, I have no idea. I have researched this road several times and traveled it myself to see if seeing it in person could answer my questions, and I cannot figure out why this three mile stretch of gravel road receives state funding. There is nothing at the end of this highway, and it just continues on as a county gravel road. As a result, I advocate that we stop wasting state taxpayers’ money on N-65 (which only serves Pawnee County anyway) and S-67C and decommission them. This solves the odd southern end to N-65 and it runs concurrent with N-8 and N-50 through Pawnee City so services would not be interrupted. This leaves the four mile stretch between N-50 and N-4; I recommend changing this to L-67C (as the C suffix would be opened up by decommissioning S-67C). Four miles is not long enough to merit mainline designation, yet it is a useful and often-traveled shortcut between Table Rock and Pawnee City.
Bucket List Status
I have (unfortunately) traveled the entire length of N-65.
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