• Length 13.17 miles; 10.97 miles in Connecticut
  • From Route 171 in Union, Conn.
  • To MA 12 in Webster, Mass.

Route 197 is a rural highway in northeastern Connecticut, serving Union, Woodstock, and Webster, Mass. Two notes from the road's past may appeal to highway historians:

Also, in Thompson is a sign for Route 31: actually for Massachusetts Route 31, which starts 250 feet north, at the state border.

CT 197 History

A little confusion
Route 197 splits in two at Mass. lineIn this 1934 Texaco map (Rand McNally), Route 197 east leaving Quinebaug seems to take two directions.

In the 1920s, State Highway 151 was a 22-mile route in northeastern Connecticut, leading from Route 32 in Willington to the Massachusetts state line via Westford, North Ashford, and North Woodstock. For most or all of that time, only the segment east of today's Route 169 was signposted.

On Jan 1, 1932, most or all of SH 151 became Route 197. The 1942 highway log defines Route 197 as starting 1.34 miles west of Route 89 in Ashford, near the corner of Armitage Road and Turnpike Road. Route 197 continued 17.03 miles along Turnpike Road, Boston Hollow Road, Centre Pike and Old Turnpike Road to the state line. (See "Drive It", below, for details on following this old route.)

In 1941, most of the section between Routes 32 and 89 was dropped; the official route started 1.34 miles west of Route 89, and continued 17.03 miles to the state line.

In 1947, most of Route 197 was turned over to town maintenance. The new definition was Route 93 (now Route 169) to the state line, for a total of 3.78 miles.

In 1962, Route 197 was extended west to Route 171, as part of the statewide Route Reclassification.

The very last unpaved segment of the state highway system was a 1-mile stretch of Route 197 in Woodstock. In late 1965, the state put to bid a project to pave this stretch, extending from 800 feet west of Center Road to about 250 feet east of Brickyard Road. To be fair, this had been a town road until it was transferred to the state a few years earlier.

CT 197 Drive it

Driving the Old Route 197

Although the route between Routes 32 and 320 was buried by the Wilbur Cross Highway in the 1940s, you can still drive most of the old Route 197/Center Pike through Ashford and Woodstock.

Get off I-84 at Route 320; proceed south. Turn left on Old Turnpike Road, just south of I-84. This is the start of the remains of the old Route 197.

As you approach Westford, Route 89 will join you from the left, and veer to the right about a mile later. Keep going straight. The road will become Boston Hollow Road, then Centre Pike.

At North Ashford, you'll intersect Route 171. Continue straight. The road will become Old Turnpike Road as you enter Woodstock.

In a few miles, you'll meet the modern Route 197. The old Route 197 continued into Massachusetts as well.

CT 197 Sources