Born in Stevensville, Pennsylvania in 1871, Cyrus Avery moved as a teenager to the Indian Territory of Cherokee Nation. After growing up on his family's farm, Avery received a college degree from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri. He then married Essie McClelland. Together, the new couple moved in 1902 to Tulsa, Oklahoma where they resided most of their lives. During his initial years in Tulsa, Avery organized a realty firm and coal company. He also aquired oil leases and a zeal for developing roads and highways. He wanted economic prosperity brought to the barren country land surrounding him. This local interest spurned a desire to create national highways stretching across the continent. Elected and appointed to numerous highways and road associations throughout the 1920's, Avery had numerous outlets for his roadway passion. He wanted a route passing from the Midwest connecting cities and bringing prosperity to the West, and more specifically, his hometown.