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I will never forgive myself for tossing out my outdated maps years ago, before I realized how much history I was throwing into the trash. :( Now trying to replace some of them, I haven't a clue where to begin the hunt. Currently, I'm trying to find 1940s and especially 1950s road maps of California and southern California. Anyone able to help a new searcher?

 

Dolores

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I will never forgive myself for tossing out my outdated maps years ago, before I realized how much history I was throwing into the trash. :( Now trying to replace some of them, I haven't a clue where to begin the hunt. Currently, I'm trying to find 1940s and especially 1950s road maps of California and southern California. Anyone able to help a new searcher?

 

Dolores

 

I don't know how you feel about buying things online. I've only managed to use eBay to buy items eight times in two years, and only three of those were road-related (a 1926 Automobile Blue Book, a 1932 map of Mississippi and a 1957 national Rand McNally atlas). I have never had a problem. Just be sure to read the seller's feedback, if there is any. Set a limit on how much you want to spend, and decide if an item is really worth the listed price. With maps of Mississippi being listed nearly every day, I'm sure many more of California are sold. I know people here have much more experience than I do.

 

If you don't like the idea of purchasing online (and even if you do), unexpected surprises can be found in flea markets, yard sales, etc. An advantage is that you can actually inspect an item for yourself before deciding to purchase it.

 

I hope this helps, and I hope you can build a new collection.

T. Michael

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I will never forgive myself for tossing out my outdated maps years ago, before I realized how much history I was throwing into the trash. :( Now trying to replace some of them, I haven't a clue where to begin the hunt. Currently, I'm trying to find 1940s and especially 1950s road maps of California and southern California. Anyone able to help a new searcher?

 

Dolores

 

 

Great sources for old maps are roadside antique stores, gift/novelty shops, or flea markets. Other sources include yard sales and car show swap meets. The latter includes all sorts of car-related stuff that guys have gathered from home and Grandma's house wanting to make a quick buck on. I found a wonderful U.S. road atlas on three occasions at a swap meet (total cost was $20) and several state road maps in antique shops. Some are pricey and some are fairly cheap. Good luck with your quest.

 

Other great flea market finds include Elvis 8-tracks for our '77 Monte for $2 and an awesome set of old iron skillets in graduated sizes that we use regularly for $5 in Cuba, MO - - right on 66....Bliss

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I will never forgive myself for tossing out my outdated maps years ago, before I realized how much history I was throwing into the trash. :( Now trying to replace some of them, I haven't a clue where to begin the hunt. Currently, I'm trying to find 1940s and especially 1950s road maps of California and southern California. Anyone able to help a new searcher?

 

Dolores

 

Ebay is an excellent source - I've found most of what I have on there. Condition is, however, a matter between seller and buyer. A seller's description may not match a buyers expectations. Quality in what I've bought has ranged from excellent to so-so (minor tears and rips, fading, etc.)

All my ALA green tour books and AAA tour books have come off ebay - again you have to accept what you're buying. A few of the books are missing the key maps in the back, so you have to search thru the book for a particular routing (HINT: use the city/town index in the back).

Happy hunting.

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

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You may also want to check out the Road Map Collectors Association for info. http://www.roadmaps.org/. If you do check them out - tell them you heard about them through American Road. And, let them know they are welcome to join our Forum to share their expertise! I know that we have some subscribers who belong to the club - they have been very helpful to us in the past.

 

Best,

Becky Repp

General Manager

becky@americanroadmagazine.com

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Isn’t it always the case that when you throw out something your have saved for years, you need it next week!

 

Start with maps under $10. In fact you should be able to buy many California oil company maps of the 1940’s and 50’s for about what you would pay for a modern map of the same area (under $5).

 

I have the impression that you want to follow the old roads. That’s what I do. As a practical matter, most state level oil company maps won’t be the most helpful because they don’t have the detail you may want. However you do need a couple so you get the idea of the general routes.

 

The Automobile Club of Southern California (ACSC)(AAA) published wonderful detailed maps at the county and regional level in the period you are interested in (1940’s and 50’s). They are fairly common on Ebay, and often quite cheap, depending on condition. You can recognize them by the large image of a mission style building on the front panel. You should be able to pick them up under $10 each, perhaps much less.

 

You don’t need to pay the price of a mint collector’s map to follow the old roads, and who wants to subject one to travel abuse anyway? BTW, the California Automobile Club (San Francisco) also published beautiful maps for Northern California in the same period, but they are less common and therefore often more expensive.

 

I wouldn’t worry too much about buying on Ebay. I have purchased hundreds of maps there and have never lost a nickel. I pay with personal check or Paypal. Just be sure to check the price of postage before you bid, and use the same common sense you would exercise in any other transaction.

 

Its fun to discover something at a flea market or antique mall, and I do sometimes, so I don’t knock that approach. But I often find that antique dealers have an unusually high opinion of their old maps, at least judging by the asking prices. I know what I’m doing when it comes to maps, and most of the time you will do better on Ebay. Besides you will have many more to choose from. Still I admit I love the thrill of a lucky find at a show or market.

 

Finally, if you keep us up to date on your old road travel, and share your adventures on the Forum, I bet some of us can find some old stained or misfolded maps we will be happy to send a new roadie for free to encourage your efforts. We have to Keep the Show on the Road!!

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I've bought a couple old maps from swap meet vendors at large car shows and similar events. Keep an eye out for large national car shows, racing events, and the like, and very often there will be swap meets included among the events.

 

Now, I've never seen anything quite that old, but you never know. FWIW I've found a nice IL map from 1972 and a "Central United States" map from 1963. Fascinating! HTH, and good hunting.

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Finally got a chance to follow up on your good suggestions and visited ebay for old maps. I found several good prospects and I think it'll be fun hunting. Thanks for the help. :)

 

 

Dolores

Edited by Roadrunner

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American History magazine had an article of vintage road maps in the June 2007 issue. There was not a lot of text, but a nice few pages of graphics. They also have now posted some map artwork on their web site. Check out http://www.historynet.com/photogallery/6850362.html if you are interested.

Edited by Dave Reese

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American History magazine had an article of vintage road maps in the June 2007 issue. There was not a lot of text, but a nice few pages of graphics. The also have now posted some map artwork on their web site. Check out http://www.historynet.com/photogallery/6850362.html if you are interested

 

Thanks, Dave. That was fun. I love the old graphics. Too bad current map covers are generally so boring.

 

Dolores

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American History magazine had an article of vintage road maps in the June 2007 issue. There was not a lot of text, but a nice few pages of graphics. They also have now posted some map artwork on their web site. Check out http://www.historynet.com/photogallery/6850362.html if you are interested.

Thanks for the tip!

 

The old maps and travel ephemera often have beautiful travel graphics. Many of them are collectable in their own right.

 

When I was a kid, Chevron was publishing maps with touring scenes on the face and touring destinations with tiny graphics on the inside non map panels. I think they helped make me a roadie!

 

You have given me an idea. I think I will put a few map and travel graphics in the gallery.

 

Here’s a quick sample over the years

 

1906 Grays Southern California tour atlas

1927 Clauson’s Atlas cover

1937 Richfield Oil map

GraysSoCal1906.jpg

 

Clasons1927.jpg

 

Richfield1937.jpg

 

I’ll put a few up in the gallery.

 

Thanks again!

 

Keep the Show on the Road

Edited by Keep the Show on the Road!

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Thanks for sharing those. I love those cover graphics as well. They would make a great montage framed on the wall of a study or family room...I remember them more from the 50's and 60's, but I think mom sold them all at a garage sale when I saw no need to keep them. Oh well!

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Thanks for the tip!

 

The old maps and travel ephemera often have beautiful travel graphics. Many of them are collectable in their own right.

 

When I was a kid, Chevron was publishing maps with touring scenes on the face and touring destinations with tiny graphics on the inside non map panels. I think they helped make me a roadie!

 

You have given me an idea. I think I will put a few map and travel graphics in the gallery.

 

Here’s a quick sample over the years

 

1906 Grays Southern California tour atlas

1927 Clauson’s Atlas cover

1937 Richfield Oil map

GraysSoCal1906.jpg

 

Clasons1927.jpg

 

Richfield1937.jpg

 

I’ll put a few up in the gallery.

 

Thanks again!

 

Keep the Show on the Road

 

 

I note the price on that 1906 map - $5!!!!! Sounds more like a 2006 price. LOL Interesting to see the 1927 piece sold for 75 cents.

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Purveyor of safe travels

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I note the price on that 1906 map - $5!!!!! Sounds more like a 2006 price. LOL Interesting to see the 1927 piece sold for 75 cents.

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Purveyor of safe travels

 

Keen eye!

 

Right, and multiply the 1906 price by maybe 20 (or more) to get the inflation adjusted cost. I guess if you could afford a car in 1906, you could afford a $100 set of maps.

 

Thanks for the observations!

 

Keep the Show on the Road

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I've only recently started buying old maps. I buy them on eBay and so far haven't had any problems. I'm not buying them for collector value, but to see where roads used to go. So they don't have to be crisp and pristine, although so far most of the ones I've bought have been like new.

 

So far I've bought 1937, 1956, and 1970 Standard Oil maps of Indiana, plus a 1957 Shell map of Indianapolis.

 

jim

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Whenever my better half drags me into an antique store I try to make the most of it and on occasion have been able to find a decent map or two. I've been able to find a few pre-1930's roadmaps of Southern and Northern California as well as a 1941 State Farm Inurance Road Atlas. I refer to the State Farm Atlas constantly as it has all the 48 states. The detail is about the same as what you would get with a modern day Rand McNally road atlas. It is in great shape and I only paid $20 for it.

 

Rick

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Been a while since anyone posted to this topic but I thought a fact I discovered years ago might be of value to anyone looking to collect old maps and atlases for the purpose of discovering older alignments of the old two lane highways. For whatever reason the free maps and Atlases from Texaco well into the 1970's have much more detail of lesser roads than most. Though Texaco maps were done by Rand-McNally I rarely run across maps from other sources, including those which were sold directly by Rand-McNally, which get down almost to pig path level. Makes it real easy to figure out where old alignments ran or might have ran, particularly when comparing to more recent maps of the same highways. Can make exploring the old highways a lot more fun.

Edited by Starfire

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Been a while since anyone posted to this topic but I thought a fact I discovered years ago might be of value to anyone looking to collect old maps and atlases for the purpose of discovering older alignments of the old two lane highways. For whatever reason the free maps and Atlases from Texaco well into the 1970's have much more detail of lesser roads than most. Though Texaco maps were done by Rand-McNally I rarely run across maps from other sources, including those which were sold directly by Rand-McNally, which get down almost to pig path level. Makes it real easy to figure out where old alignments ran or might have ran, particularly when comparing to more recent maps of the same highways. Can make exploring the old highways a lot more fun.

 

Starfire,

 

Thaks for the insight! I'll have to make some comparisons. BTW, what was the marking for pig paths? Was that a dotted line? :D

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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Starfire,

 

Thaks for the insight! I'll have to make some comparisons. BTW, what was the marking for pig paths? Was that a dotted line? :D

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

Naah, dotted lines represent improved pig path...... :D

 

Seriously, the Texaco maps of old do show even dirt roads (indicated with parallel lines, no dots) in many cases. I discovered this in the early 1970s when running around the old gold and silver mining districts of Colorado. Some of the "roads" shown on the Texaco maps even of that time were very crude in nature, some almost impassible with anything other than a 4WD vehicle. The Texaco maps were even far better than those from the State of Colorado and ten times better than anything AAA published, at least in the mind of this history buff.

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Naah, dotted lines represent improved pig path...... :D

 

Seriously, the Texaco maps of old do show even dirt roads (indicated with parallel lines, no dots) in many cases. I discovered this in the early 1970s when running around the old gold and silver mining districts of Colorado. Some of the "roads" shown on the Texaco maps even of that time were very crude in nature, some almost impassible with anything other than a 4WD vehicle. The Texaco maps were even far better than those from the State of Colorado and ten times better than anything AAA published, at least in the mind of this history buff.

 

Starfire,

 

 

I have thousands of old maps in my collection, but strangely enough I have never made your insightful comparison.

 

It is good to see your interest in maps, and your keen eye for detail! Your comments intrigue me. And I have never systematically compared the Rand McNally and H.M Gousha maps of the period either. I think the two were the primary publishers of service station maps in the period

 

I lived a few blocks from the H M Gousha headquarters plant in San Jose in the 50’s as a kid and used to crawl into their huge trash burner and recover the discarded maps and design velum’s on weekends before they were burned. I kind of “bonded” with Gousha and mom cursed them for the soot I got on my cloths.

 

Later I worked in a Flying A station and I think their maps were primarily Gousha. Now I will have to do comparisons like you did.

 

I have been a member of AAA since 1958, and have used many of their maps over the years. In fact I have a half dozen at my fingertips right now as I plan the Hypotenuse Trail trip. I tend to agree with you regarding their state level maps, but at least in California, where I grew up, their regional maps were (and I believe still are), the gold standard.

 

Thanks for the good information!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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Starfire,

 

 

I have thousands of old maps in my collection, but strangely enough I have never made your insightful comparison.

 

It is good to see your interest in maps, and your keen eye for detail! Your comments intrigue me. And I have never systematically compared the Rand McNally and H.M Gousha maps of the period either. I think the two were the primary publishers of service station maps in the period

 

I lived a few blocks from the H M Gousha headquarters plant in San Jose in the 50’s as a kid and used to crawl into their huge trash burner and recover the discarded maps and design velum’s on weekends before they were burned. I kind of “bonded” with Gousha and mom cursed them for the soot I got on my cloths.

 

Later I worked in a Flying A station and I think their maps were primarily Gousha. Now I will have to do comparisons like you did.

 

I have been a member of AAA since 1958, and have used many of their maps over the years. In fact I have a half dozen at my fingertips right now as I plan the Hypotenuse Trail trip. I tend to agree with you regarding their state level maps, but at least in California, where I grew up, their regional maps were (and I believe still are), the gold standard.

 

Thanks for the good information!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

No doubt Rand-McNally and Gousha were the largest publishers of oil company giveaway maps, particularly in the 1950s and into the 1970s after which free maps began getting mighty scarce. However, there were several other publishers of road maps in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Addressing Rand-McNally they apparently had several levels of product they marketed to the oil companies ranging from the very detailed purchased by Texaco to the not very detailed distributed by many of the smaller oil regional companies like American Petro Fina, Premier, Cities Service, etc.

 

And though I was a bit critical of AAA maps I received one today that kinda blew me away. I had purchased it on ebay the description being it was a 1936 South Central Map from the Chicago AAA. When I examined it I came to realize it was of a much earlier time. Probably between 1927 and 1930, though there was no copyright date to be found. I make the assumption based upon the alignments of Route 66 and U.S. 90 when compared to maps known to be of the '27 to '30 time period. A number of segments of Route 66 are shown to be dirt while one section in New Mexico is omitted entirely as if it just hadn't been determined. The neat thing is it depicts what I think may well be the only correct initial alignment of U.S. 90 East of San Antonio to Houston I've seen.

 

Ain't old maps a lotta fun? :)

 

Jim

Edited by Starfire

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Jim,

 

By coincidence, I had my 1927 Rand McNally Auto Road Atlas next to the easy chair, as I was using it in my planning for an upcoming trip. I have never looked before at US90 in the San Antonio – Fort Worth area but it appears to follow the Old Spanish Trail (auto trail). Checking a 1926 Clason’s, against the 1927 Rand McNally reinforces the Old Spanish Trail / US 90 link, at least on those two maps. Is that your understanding, or did US 90 initially follow a different route?

 

It is certainly fun to find that a map is older than you thought! :) And Ebay is a great source. Twenty five years ago, finding a 1920’s map was rare, but with Ebay the whole market changed. It has made finding a map a lot easier, and old maps a lot more valuable.

 

If you are interested in US 90 before it was US 90, let me know. I probably have the turn by turn description between San Antonio and Fort Worth in ABB’s at least as early as 1920, and probably before, and I am almost certain to have a 1923 Rand McNally Auto Trails map of Texas. I also have the 1929 Hobbs Old Spanish Trail guide which describes many of the roadside businesses between San Antonia and Houston, as well as road surfaces and grades.

 

I make a practice of copying relevant map and guide sections for American Road members, so don’t hesitate to ask if I can be of help.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

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Just a little update for my buying activity since this post originally appeared.

 

I've bought the following from ebay:

 

AAA Tour books - 1935, 1937 and 1939. All Southeaster editions (took me a while to find these);

Automobile Blue Books - Vol. 2 - 1923 (Middle Atlantic and Southern);

- Vol. 1 - 1923 (Northeast US and eastern Canada);

- Vol. 2 - 1926 (Middle Atlantic and Southern)

 

I don't remember what I paid for all of these over the past year, but it was under $50. In good condition, no, but I'm not into condition. For me these are to be used and abused until they fall apart. If they weren't so many pages I'd be scanning them into my computer.

 

This brings my small collection up to the 1918-1941 period - I have a 1918 Goodrich tour guide for Northern New England all the way up to the 1941 AAA books - 1 for the Northeast and 1 that covers the western states from the Mississippi to the west coast.

 

I find a lot of these simply by going to ebay several times a week and typing in Automobile Blue Book, or AAA tour book (unless you're into a particular era, like 1920's AAA tour books) - there are a lot of 1960 up tour books on ebay.) Watch the price - if it stays under $10 I'll bid on it. If it attracts a number of bidders, ok, I'll try again another day.

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

Edited by Alex Burr - hester_nec

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Jim,

 

By coincidence, I had my 1927 Rand McNally Auto Road Atlas next to the easy chair, as I was using it in my planning for an upcoming trip. I have never looked before at US90 in the San Antonio – Fort Worth area but it appears to follow the Old Spanish Trail (auto trail). Checking a 1926 Clason’s, against the 1927 Rand McNally reinforces the Old Spanish Trail / US 90 link, at least on those two maps. Is that your understanding, or did US 90 initially follow a different route?

 

It is certainly fun to find that a map is older than you thought! :) And Ebay is a great source. Twenty five years ago, finding a 1920’s map was rare, but with Ebay the whole market changed. It has made finding a map a lot easier, and old maps a lot more valuable.

 

If you are interested in US 90 before it was US 90, let me know. I probably have the turn by turn description between San Antonio and Fort Worth in ABB’s at least as early as 1920, and probably before, and I am almost certain to have a 1923 Rand McNally Auto Trails map of Texas. I also have the 1929 Hobbs Old Spanish Trail guide which describes many of the roadside businesses between San Antonia and Houston, as well as road surfaces and grades.

 

I make a practice of copying relevant map and guide sections for American Road members, so don’t hesitate to ask if I can be of help.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

Dave - Thanks for the offers but I'm pretty well covered when it comes to Texas maps from before 1926 and the creation of the Federal Highway system. I got into my current research because of the OST and what I consider extreme deviation from what the OST Association routed verses what actually became designated as U.S. 90. This lead me to more than a bunch of errata which exists between different maps from different sources. Some of that errata I chalk up to virtually all map publishers making intentional errors in order to support their copyright claims.

 

Being a bit of a nut case when it comes to looking for old alignments of roads I have set about attempting to identify all of the original alignment of what was initially designated as U.S. 90 between Houston and San Antonio. This is somewhat easy as I live about half way between the two cities about 1-1/2 miles South of both the current alignment and portions of the original alignment, the latter now being a county maintained road. To my knowledge no one has recently documented this portion of original route, some of which is now designated as U.S. 90A with other portions being county roads. I don't think any of the original alignment has been totally abandoned. Improved as part of the current alignment with bridges having been replaced and right of way widened, but none totally abandoned. In some places the original alignment has been interrupted or broken by I-10, but is otherwise still there.

 

Going Westward passed San Antonio what became designated as U.S. 90 was never a part of the OST until U.S. 90 reached the town of Van Horn, though what was considered an alternate routing of the proposed OST was designated as U.S. 90, and remains so today. When the OST left San Antonio it was a bit like heading into never, never land. Some of the route was barely improved road even as late as 1940 and none of it between San Antonio and Junction was ever designated as a U.S. Highway save for a portion between San Antonio and Boerne being later designated as U.S. 87. Ironically, I-10 Westward of San Antonio to its intersection with I-20 follows almost exactly the OST described route of 1923, a part of which was U.S. 290 from a point a few miles East of the town of Junction.

 

Jim

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