In late 1926, the American Association of State Highway Officials (today's AASHTO) decided that US Highway 16 required a branch highway, one that would run between Ucross and Sheridan in Wyoming. This road was commissioned and, being the first branch of US 16, received the designation of US Highway 116. It was among the original Federal routes.
As originally laid out, US 116 began at a junction with US 16 in Ucross, home of the Ucross Foundation. Built in the late 1970s on a 22,000 acre spread known as Big Red, the Foundation today sponsors conservation initiatives, serves as a retreat for visiting artists and writers, and is still a working cattle ranch.
From Ucross, the route headed west for about ten miles before turning north. After another twenty-five miles or so, US 116 entered Sheridan. Situated amongst the Big Horn Mountains, Sheridan offers the traveler a number of attractions, historical sites, mountain tours, and a chance to experience some of the flavor of the old American West.
For most of its existence, Sheridan represented the end of the line for US 116. In 1933, the route was extended westward on to Cody, replacing the then-existing US Highway 420. This added another 148 miles to US 116's length, and took it through the northern end of the Bighorn National Forest, and through the southern part of what would become, in 1966, the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area. Once the route reached Cody, it ended, again at a junction with US 16.
The next year, in 1934, AASHTO decided to extend US Highway 14 westward, and that extension took over all of US 116's existing pavement. The number was retired after only eight years of existence.
"Rocky Mountain Roads", US Highway 116
. September 22, 2005. <http://www.rockymountainroads.com/us-116_wy.html> (December 2006)
Droz, Robert V., "Sequential List of US Highways", US Highways From US 1 to US 830
. July 2003. <http://www.us-highways.com/us1830.htm> (December 2006)
Sanderson, Dale. "Highway Ends", End of Historic US Highway 116
. 2000-2005. <http://www.geocities.com/usend1019/End116/end116.htm>. (December 2006).