In 1910, California voters approved a bond issue to acquire and construct a State highway system. At the insistence of the Inyo Good Road Club, the 220 miles of road between Mojave and Bridgeport was included in the first highway plan. The first work done in the Eastern Sierra was a 10-mile stretch of the Sherwin Hill wagon road.
When that work was completed in 1916, and the road had been graded and oiled, the project was celebrated with a barbecue in Rock Creek Canyon–attended by nearly a thousand people. It was now possible to travel from Bishop to Mammoth in only two and one-half hours.
Over the next 15 years, parts of the route south of Bishop were either paved or oiled, and by 1931, a hard-surface road was completed from Los Angeles to Bishop. Highway 395 was first known as “El Camino Sierra,” the Sierra Highway