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Finding Old Road Treasures. Help Needed

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A couple of us want to invite all of us to share how we discover and recognize what I have called here “old road treasures.”

 

Treasures include first the old road itself, its former paths and routes, in short its former alignments. Treasures also includes built roadside artifacts, for example an old fountain for filling your radiator or even an old abandoned service station, or a dugway where the road crossed a creek.

 

When we have your insights together mobilene has promised to compile them into a coherent whole for all of us to use and enjoy.

 

So I will start it off with a few ways I recognize an old alignment

 

The old telephone lines followed the old road and didn’t move when the road was later realigned. Watch especially for posts with old ceramic or glass insulators, but follow the posts.

 

Figure the old road followed around a wetland or stream just above the high water mark, so look for a flat but curvy bed at about where you think the water reached its highest mark in winter.

 

The old road followed the old rail line if it could, to avoid grades. It often crossed and recrossed the rails to make it through narrow places.

 

The old road followed on the old rail bed if it was abandoned (and often across the old rail bridge, abandoned or not!).

 

A corollary to the above is that a very flat roadbed with no grades isn’t usually a highway bed but rather a railroad bed. Rail beds were often filled to a foot or more above the surrounding terrain to provide a flat and dry base. Few early auto roads enjoyed such an investment.

 

And anytime you approach a cut or fill, look left or right because the old road went around, not across or through.

 

Look on slopes for retaining walls of stacked rock or sometimes concrete. Because they didn't have bulldozers to cut in, they built out from the hill. (Look at my Yellowstone Trail post for a vintage "earth mover "of about 1915 and you see why.)

 

Obviously the trees and shrubs will usually be shorter in the old road bed, so if you look into a line of woods you can often spot the break in the tree line where the old road entered the woods.

 

In the desert I look for two parallel lines of sun blackened rock in the sand maybe 15 feet apart. They were either lightly graded from the road, or tossed out by traffic.

 

Look for rusted tin cans with soldered tops (drop of solder in the middle). They were tossed out many years ago along the old road.

 

I guess it is also self evident but the old road curves more, makes abrupt turns, and follows the contours on a grade.

 

In farm country, the old road followed the section lines and never ran across a farmer’s prime land. Look for the road that jogs left and right, It is older than a straight road through farm country.

 

The old roads connected towns and farms with towns, so the town wasn’t bypassed by the old road. The bypass isn’t the old road.

 

On a long grade, the old road is the less steep and the more winding. The old road generally doesn’t sacrifice altitude needlessly. Said another way, it doesn’t gain and lose altitude repeatedly to shorten distance or maintain a straighter alignment. Said yet another way, it will go a longer distance to avoid grades or having to reclaim a height it has already achieved.

 

 

That’s a start. More to follow. Please Jump in with your insights.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

Edited by Keep the Show on the Road!

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This is a good primer for locating old alignments.

 

We, as you said, always look for railroad tracks and the telephone poles. Also, we find that the old roads almost always went down the main street as a business proposition and, because they were often already paved.

 

Sometimes the old roads would have two or three alignments in a town before a bypass was added.

 

Keep on Down that Two Lane Road, --RoadDog

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This is a good primer for locating old alignments.

 

We, as you said, always look for railroad tracks and the telephone poles. Also, we find that the old roads almost always went down the main street as a business proposition and, because they were often already paved.

 

Sometimes the old roads would have two or three alignments in a town before a bypass was added.

 

Keep on Down that Two Lane Road, --RoadDog

 

Helpful!! Usually Main Street, while the road beside the railroad was Front Street if it didn't have railraod in its name.

 

Thanks RoadDod! I appreciate it! And Keep the Show on the Road!

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Helpful!! Usually Main Street, while the road beside the railroad was Front Street if it didn't have railraod in its name.

 

Thanks RoadDod! I appreciate it! And Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Thanks, this has been extremely helpful.

 

Another thing that I look for to help to determine the age of the road is to check for a year stamped in the concrete of a bridge or overcrossing. Sometimes the year can be painted on as well, especially in more recent construction. It may not be completely accurate since a bridge can be built after a roadway is in place but it might help in estimating when a road was put into service.

 

Rick

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Thanks, this has been extremely helpful.

 

Another thing that I look for to help to determine the age of the road is to check for a year stamped in the concrete of a bridge or overcrossing. Sometimes the year can be painted on as well, especially in more recent construction. It may not be completely accurate since a bridge can be built after a roadway is in place but it might help in estimating when a road was put into service.

 

Rick

 

Another good one! Thanks Roadhound.

 

I am starting to dig deeper now to remember how to identify the older road on the ground.

 

It seems in my memory that most of the time I’m looking down from the new road to the old. Maybe that’s because I’m driving a car without a sunroof and I can’t convince Sheila, Rose of the Road we need a convertible! But my experience tells me that coming up a canyon the old road will tend to stay nearer the creek bottom, and perhaps make a shorter, steeper climb at the end or head of the canyon. I can see the engineer saying should I try to grade and build shelves all the way up this canyon or weave around the big rocks in the bottom with minimal earth moving and make a final grade at the end.

 

Where there are two choices, I usually find the concrete road to be older than the asphalt road. I don’t know why, but I do know that the concrete people advertised like mad in the teens and into the 20’s. Concrete roads were a huge improvement and strongly promoted by such as the Lincoln highway Association. Maybe later, say in the 1940’s asphalt construction and maintenance costs maybe were lower. When I see a concrete road with the expansion joints, and perhaps rounded gutters, it is always older than its asphalt companion

 

Going through towns, RoadDog has already identified Main Street as the most likely candidate for the old road. Of course 1st, Adams, and Pioneer are also contenders. And when following a named road like the Pacific Highway (old US99) a street called Pacific is a big hint!

 

Big stately trees on both sides of the road are associated with the old road. If the road has been widened, there may be only one line of trees. Look for obviously planted lines of trees.

 

The older road went down further in the canyon to cross the creek, so that the bridge would be shorter. When you cross a wonderful 1930’s or 40’s high arched bridge, pull off at either end and look down in the canyon. Odds are fairly good you will see a riverside road that crosses the water on a short older bridge.

 

Old cars needed water for their radiators, and a boiling radiator was almost an expectation on a long grade when fans were belt driven (not run by electric motors). Thus the water fountain is dead giveaway on old roads on a grade. BTY we need a book on the old water fountains, if it hasn't been done.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

Edited by Keep the Show on the Road!

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Here are some things I've learned.

 

First of all, I research every road trip beforehand by going to one of the satellite map sites. I use Windows Live Local right now. I scroll the map along the entire route I want to take and I look for segments of old alignments. They're not hard to spot. Frequently, the road will even be labeled as "Old Route xx" or by the road's pre-1926 name (National Rd., Dixieway South, etc.).

 

One thing to look for is where the road curves, and then curves back. Frequently, the road was moved from an original straight alignment. Here's an example from US 40 in Plainfield, IN. (All of my examples are from Indiana.)

 

NOTE: If the images aren't appearing for you, it could be because they're hosted at my personal site, and the host appears to be having issues.

 

02%20Six%20Points%20map.jpg

 

Another thing to look for is a short segment of road that begins at the highway, curves away, curves back, and ends at the highway again. Frequently, the ends of the old alignment will be curved so they meet the highway at right angles; this is done because it's safer to turn left or right onto the highway.

 

07_Map_Prather_segment.jpg

 

When you drive along these short segments, frequently the old road is of one pavement type, and the curved ends of another. This photo along US 40 shows how the pavement changes as the curve begins. The photo doesn't show it well, but a 2-lane cement segment becomes a narrow paved path here.

 

07%20Big%20Walnut%20Creek%2006.jpg

 

Look for where bridges might be. Bridges sometimes get replaced, especially if the old bridge's abutment was at an odd angle with the road because for some reason those don't last as long and are harder to maintain. Bridge replacement projects often orphan an old segment of road because if you build a new bridge a short distance away from the old one, you don't have to close the road during construction.

Here's a segment just east of Terre Haute on US 40, labeled as Kaperak Ln., that used to be US 40 before they replaced the bridge over the old Interurban tracks.

 

09%20Interurban%20map.jpg

 

Satellite maps sometimes also show abandoned segments. Here's one on US 40 west of Plainfield:

 

03%20White%20Lick%20Creek%20map.jpg

 

It looks like a road is there from the air, but here's what it looks like at its eastern end:

 

03%20White%20Lick%20Creek%2001.jpg

 

Where's the road? The opening is along the photo's horizontal centerline. Scan about 2/3 of the way across the photo from the left and look for the hole in the brush. This segment was created by a bridge replacement. There was nothing on this segment of road, so it wasn't needed anymore and was abandoned.

 

You can sometimes also find abandoned segments at either end of a curved old segment, beyond where the road was curved to meet the current highway at a right angle. Notice that north of 700N, there's a short segment of Old IN 37 and then this thin line or ridge vaguely in the same direction as the road. This is an abandoned segment. (This is State Road 37 in Johnson County, which is the county just south of Indianapolis).

 

04a_Map_700N_Alignment_N.jpg

 

I've also had some success looking for roads that don't intersect with the highway, but go in the same direction as the highway at the point where they appear to branch off. Here, State Road 37 northbound curves to run more purely north. But look, Bluff Road picks up and runs in the same direction as SR 37 did before that northerly curve. Bluff Road is SR 37's original alignment.

 

02b_Map_Bluff_S_of_1000N.jpg

 

This is as much of what I've learned as I can recall at the moment. And my experience is limited to Indiana, that's for sure.

 

Peace,

jim

Edited by mobilene

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Every one a gem! And all apply in my experience in the west, not just to Indiana.

 

I like the idea of illustrating each with photos.

 

Let’s keep em coming. We are getting some good advice.

 

I will add some related stuff as I get time.

 

The satillite maps are really valuable. Google Earth is outstanding where they have the maps at high resolution. The 3D really helps!

 

Microsoft’s TerraServer also does a good job in B&W and has more maps at high resolution (although Google’s 3D color maps are catching up in the coverage category.)

 

Whether you use an on line map site like Google or a CD like Delorme’s Topos (which I find excellent), maps that show the terrain in 3D are very useful. Once you see the grades you can invariably pick out the logical main road route from among lots of offshoots and crossroads.

 

The older road followed the easiest grade. It did not climb over ridges or cross canyons it could avoid. A ridge or canyon is tough to identify on a standard 2D map, but in 3D you know immediately which is the logical route.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

Edited by Keep the Show on the Road!

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Every one a gem! And all apply in my experience in the west, not just to Indiana.

 

I like the idea of illustrating each with photos.

 

Let’s keep em coming. We are getting some good advice.

 

I will add some related stuff as I get time.

 

The satillite maps are really valuable. Google Earth is outstanding where they have the maps at high resolution. The 3D really helps!

 

Microsoft’s TerraServer also does a good job in B&W and has more maps at high resolution (although Google’s 3D color maps are catching up in the coverage category.)

 

Whether you use an on line map site like Google or a CD like Delorme’s Topos (which I find excellent), maps that show the terrain in 3D are very useful. Once you see the grades you can invariably pick out the logical main road route from among lots of offshoots and crossroads.

 

The older road followed the easiest grade. It did not climb over ridges or cross canyons it could avoid. A ridge or canyon is tough to identify on a standard 2D map, but in 3D you know immediately which is the logical route.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Nicely done everyone! We have some real road sleuths on this Forum. Pat/Jennifer, we may need to do some honorary upgrades to "Road Warrior" or "Road Scholar."

 

B)

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Nicely done everyone! We have some real road sleuths on this Forum. Pat/Jennifer, we may need to do some honorary upgrades to "Road Warrior" or "Road Scholar."

 

B)

 

 

Thanks Becky! You always make it worthwhile! And we are having fun besides.

 

Roadside artifacts as I call them, or roadside architecture as it is often called is fun to discover and identify.

 

Heritage travel, and perhaps a kind of nostalgia for the old days of splendor and perhaps excess has prompted the renovation of many old hotels. Under Lodging I just posted a 1913 photo of the French Lick Springs Hotel because its renovation and reopening is a current topic here. The hotel is a good example of a renovated classic old road hotel. There are many more.

 

Not all the old hotels are quite as easy to identify, but if you enjoy old post cards or have some of the old touring guides, it is fun to do a then and now thing. When I know I’m going to new territory by road, I try to check my references; my post cards of old hotels, Automobile Blue Books, and other guides. Then when I get into town I compare building facades and window and door placement against the old photos.

 

Look above the street level because the sidewalk level building face was often completely changed over the years to accommodate new businesses and styles. When you do look up, see if you can spot the old radio antenna poles. Remember before there was cable, there were rooftop TV antennas, and before TV antennas, there were radio antennas strung as wires between poles on the roof. I check the position and style of windows and the shape of the crown on the old building.

Garages are one special group of old roadside buildings because there are so closely tied to road travel. They are often treasured by old road groups, (eg the Altamont Garage in the Tracy, California area by Lincoln Highway Association members) and it is always fun to identify one that has a name in some historical reference. I spotted the Model Garage in Rosalia, Washington along the old Yellowstone Trail a few weeks ago and photographed it for one of my Yellowstone Trail posts.

 

Old garages are among the most evident roadside artifacts because they had to have big doors, just as did their predecessors, stables. Many old garages survive in other forms today, perhaps in part because they often had wide, tall window openings along the front which later were useful in merchandising. So look for often one story buildings with big wide doors and large windows facing the street. The Rosalia example has another sure give away, and that is the metal or concrete bumpers at each door edge to protect against drivers with poor aim.

 

Old service stations are fairly easy to spot because they had a pull through for the cars. Many styles exist, and I will attempt to post photos of a few prototypical examples Of course the earliest “stations” were hardware stores where gasoline was sold by the 5 gallon tin. And later it was dispensed from a wagon or cart that the seller rolled to the customer’s car. Not much is left of these examples, but a photo of the latter will follow as soon as I can scan and post it.

 

Water fountains were a special class of roadside structures and were actually the subject of design attention in the 1920’s and 30’s. The old fountain was often made of stone, and usually was found on a long grade where old cars suffered boiling radiators and vapor lock. Vapor lock occurred when the engine compartment got very hot on the grade and the metal tubes carrying gasoline heated up enough to cause the gasoline in them to boil. Then the mechanical fuel pump couldn’t pump the gasoline to the carburetor because it was a vapor, not a liquid. On a very hot day you were cautious not to stop on asphalt as the black surface had absorbed the heat and would cause the gas in the fuel lines under the car to also boil.

 

The solution to vapor lock or a boiling radiator was cold water, splashed on the gas lines, or poured over the radiator honeycomb before you released the cap. The unused fountains today are often in small groves of trees that were watered by the constantly running water. Of course they are located at a wide spot where it was possible to turn off the road. A few today still offer their sweet, cooling water.

 

Lots more roadside artifact hints to follow so Keep the Show on the Road and add your insights!

Edited by Keep the Show on the Road!

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Roadside artifacts as I call them, or roadside architecture as it is often called is fun to discover and identify.

 

Wow! What a great list. I never knew about the roadside fountains before. Thinking back, I now recognize some garages and at least one old gas station (that looked kind of like a house in 3/4 scale) that I saw east of Terre Haute.

 

jim

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Wow! What a great list. I never knew about the roadside fountains before. Thinking back, I now recognize some garages and at least one old gas station (that looked kind of like a house in 3/4 scale) that I saw east of Terre Haute.

 

jim

 

 

I commented in a prior post in this thread concerning the more obvious roadside artifacts, e.g. old hotels, garages, service stations, and water fountains. I want to apologize in advance for this “stream of consciousness.” My purpose is to get some of this material out there so that it can be later organized and restructured into a better presentation for others to use.

 

There is of course a whole class of structures that carried the road over or under something, such as bridges, underpasses, culverts, viaducts, etc. There is in fact a national bridge inventory site on the internet that attempts to identify, date, and describe each old road bridge in the country. As has been noted by RoadHound, bridges are often dated in the concrete or on a plaque attached to the bridge. The road is at least as old as the bridge, but roads often existed for a long time before streams were bridged, and older bridges were replaced with newer. Books have been written about bridges, no doubt several times over.

 

A little different class of roadside artifact is the landmark cited in a route guide. It is a kick to follow a very old road using an old road guide that identifies turns by reference to a barn, a windmill, a schoolhouse, a spring, a tavern or a farmhouse. Occasionally the landmark still exists.

 

Before roads were well signed (generally before the early to mid 1920’s), road guides were published that gave detailed descriptions of the road between two points. If you were setting off for a 100 mile drive between town X and town Y, you consulted your Automobile Blue Book, Mixers Guide, or Tib”s Guide. They gave you mileages between control points, or landmarks, and told you where to turn. They were quite exact and can often be followed even today. I intend to discuss them, and how to acquire them in a future post.

 

I use the old automobile Blue Books often because old maps are not usually available with as much detail. Maybe some day there will be something called “old road orienteering!” If so, I claim charter membership.

 

Banks, hotels, garages, post offices, railroad stations, and schoolhouses are the most common old landmarks cited in old road guides. Telephone lines and trolley lines were also frequently used to guide the traveler.

 

In our area (western US) , and it may be true elsewhere, the old community bank was typically on a corner and the front had a 45 degree cut on the face of the building at the corner where the door enters. In fact, I know of no other class of old buildings that was so designed, so it is easy to spot the bank used as a road guide control point.

 

Hotels were often the most prominent building in town. They seem today to be disproportionately large for the size of some of the towns you find them in. They are often multi storied and quite elaborate. One of the things we don’t always realize today is that the old hotel was the business center of the community as well as the place where people stayed.

 

In a day when we do business via the internet we don’t often recognize the importance of the traveling salesman. His business was conducted at the old hotel, and they had rooms just for the display of his goods. Many old newspapers announced which salesmen were in town so that potential customers knew and could drop into the hotel to inspect the merchandise.

 

Incidentally, the hotel and the garage to store your automobile went hand in hand, sometimes in the same building complex, but almost certainly nearby.

 

Old train depots are among the most cherished and recognized old roadside landmarks. Today we seldom recognize the importance of the railroads as movers of people. As you follow the old roads using the old guides, railroad stations, often long gone, are frequently used as mileage markers . Railroad stations aren’t difficult to spot. Even when the buildings are gone, the large cleared area beside the track or abandoned track bed with foundations or other remnants is not too difficult to identify.

 

And what we call a railroad with its steam engines was not the only rail user. The interurban line with big trolley or streetcar type vehicles was the lifeline of many communities and often went for many miles into the countryside, connecting a bigger city with many smaller towns. Both the rail line and the stations are old landmarks in the guides.

 

School houses are among the more charming landmarks along the old road, and it least in the west you can add old Grange buildings to the list of prominent landmarks. Both represent a day when our population was predominately rural. School houses and granges are frequently set all by themselves in an otherwise vacant area. Sometimes the old outhouse survives as well.

 

There are books that describe the old one room school and I can’t imagine that anyone has much problem recognizing a schoolhouse, often with its bell tower. Churches may be mistaken occasionally for a school house and vice versa, but my experience suggests that churches were more often in town and the one room schoolhouse more often alone in the countryside.

The general mercantile store is another category of old road landmark at least in the west. It was common for a mercantile store to be situated at a crossroads, or of course in a town. At least in the west they often followed in appearance the stereotypical false front style. I know of perhaps a dozen that are still in business in some pretty quiet places, but one by one they are disappearing.

 

We don’t have diners often in the west, but clearly they are another important category of roadside artifact, which I hope someone more familiar with them will describe. I realize there are several varieties, but a description is beyond my “expertise.”

 

In a few small towns in the west, there are stone pillars, occasionally crowned with a ball or lamp, that sit on each side of the old road’s entrance to the town. I have even seen them in the middle of a vacant field, telling me that the old road once traveled that way. It is common for the name of the town or the word “Welcome” to be written in smaller stones in the pillars.

 

I’m sure it is getting a little “specialized” to consider guard rails as roadside artifacts that help identify an old road, but they are a part of the built environment along the old road. In the northwest the most common old guard rails are of three types, round cement posts, rectangular wooden posts with mitered tops, and fence like barriers with two or three flat board rails secured to posts. The first two are connected with cables that are held in place with U clamps. Remnants of weathered yellow, white, or black paint adhere to the old barriers.

 

In Oregon the old Columbia River Highway, built in about 1916 has lovely rock walls as barriers, and the same design is found on the old Pacific Highway (old US 99) near Oregon City, leading me to think they are of similar age.

 

An important artifact identified with the old road I want to mention here is the old sign. There are several types, from billboards down to US highway shields and painted auto trail markers. Most old road markers or direction signs don’t exist today outside museums or collections, but very rarely you find one “in the wild.” I included three in my Yellowstone Trail posts here that I saw in eastern Washington recently.

 

A more likely to see sign is on a building, above the height someone could pull it off or paint over it easily. In towns along almost any old road, look up at the sides of old brick buildings. They were the early billboards. The signs may identify the business, or as is often the case advertise cigars, beverages, farm implements, men’s coveralls, or automobiles.

 

And I almost forgot the patent medicine ads on old barns. Look at my recent Yellowstone Trail posts again for one near Waterville, Washington.

 

More coming, and I will add photos as time permits. In the meantime, Keep the Show on the Road!

Edited by Keep the Show on the Road!

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Now that's a great list. I have seen some of this stuff in little towns I've driven through. I'm reminded of tiny Marshall, Indiana, with its two columns with a shallow arch going over the road saying welcome to the town. Now, that's on a state highway (SR 236) and it's actually in the middle of town, so maybe it's not the same thing as you describe.

 

But I hadn't considered looking for these artifacts to appear off the road as a sign of where a road used to go.

 

Is it basically true that banks, hotels, train depots, and schoolhouses tended all to be on what was (at least at one time) the main road through town? For example, US 36 curves north to bypass downtown Bainbridge, IN (a tiny town), and then curves back again. It seems pretty obvious that the downtown route was old 36 based on how it was in perfect alignment with US 36 just before and just after town. The road wasn't signed Old US 36, which is typical for segments of former alignments out there -- it was signed 700N at each end, and Main St. going through. Main St. was another clue since towns tended to center around the highway in days gone by. But I guess there are two other clues I didn't consider. First, on a corner of that old main street was a building with the door cut at 45 degrees and the word BANK carved into the stone above it. And on the opposite corner there was a large building, more architecturally interesting than anything else, with painted ads on one side. Maybe that was the hotel.

 

Anyway, interesting stuff. Thanks!

 

jim

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OK, time to chime in here. I learned Roadology 101 from Route 66 professors Jim Ross and Jerry McClanahan. Jerry was out digging up old alignments of 66 back in the early 80's before the Route 66 Revival even began. I sent both of them the link to this thread to see if there's anything they'd like to add (in the hopes they'd reply here!) and this is what I got from "McJerry":

 

Looks pretty good, Pat, although there are always exceptions to the rule!

 

"And anytime you approach a cut or fill, look left or right because the old road went around, not across or through."

 

This is generally excellent advice, but there are some exceptions, like the "big cut" on the early route between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Here was a huge cut that the old road did go thru.

 

Also, while the "old road" did go thru the center of towns, by the time the US Highways came around, some of those downtown routes had already been bypassed. Odell Illinois is an example, where SH 4, which became 66, was routed to bypass downtown.

 

Just two minor quibbles, which probably don't really need to be included.

 

This list of tips sure takes me back to my early days of Route-spotting.

 

Memories.

 

McJerry

 

PS: mention might be made of the help offered by the aerial photos on Terraserver.

 

 

By the way, Jerry & Jim collaborated on the "Here It Is" 8-map series covering Route 66 from Chicago to LA (available at the American Road online Hitching Post) and did a great video "Bones of the Old Road", which they illustrate on-the-scene finds of various old alignments of 66. The video is a must for those of us fascinated with old alignments.

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Is it basically true that banks, hotels, train depots, and schoolhouses tended all to be on what was (at least at one time) the main road through town?

 

Often, but I should have been clearer. What I was trying to do was identify those structures the old guide books typically used as “landmarks” or “controls” in giving their directions and distances. It was like “0.0 miles Starting at the bank..” ” or at “3.7 miles Pass school on the left” or at “8.2 miles Turn right with trolley.”

 

Here is a typical early (1915) Northwest Automobile Blue Book page. Note the use of schools, hotels and garages as landmarks (and mail boxes on a tree!) to mark mileages and turns.

ARBlueBookDirections.jpg

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

Edited by Keep the Show on the Road!

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OK, time to chime in here. I learned Roadology 101 from Route 66 professors Jim Ross and Jerry McClanahan. Jerry was out digging up old alignments of 66 back in the early 80's before the Route 66 Revival even began. I sent both of them the link to this thread to see if there's anything they'd like to add (in the hopes they'd reply here!) and this is what I got from "McJerry":

 

Looks pretty good, Pat, although there are always exceptions to the rule!

 

"And anytime you approach a cut or fill, look left or right because the old road went around, not across or through."

 

This is generally excellent advice, but there are some exceptions, like the "big cut" on the early route between Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Here was a huge cut that the old road did go thru.

 

Also, while the "old road" did go thru the center of towns, by the time the US Highways came around, some of those downtown routes had already been bypassed. Odell Illinois is an example, where SH 4, which became 66, was routed to bypass downtown.

 

Just two minor quibbles, which probably don't really need to be included.

 

This list of tips sure takes me back to my early days of Route-spotting.

 

Memories.

 

McJerry

 

PS: mention might be made of the help offered by the aerial photos on Terraserver.

By the way, Jerry & Jim collaborated on the "Here It Is" 8-map series covering Route 66 from Chicago to LA (available at the American Road online Hitching Post) and did a great video "Bones of the Old Road", which they illustrate on-the-scene finds of various old alignments of 66. The video is a must for those of us fascinated with old alignments.

 

Roadmavern,

 

I think the experts were far too kind concerning the parts above that I contributed! There are plenty of exceptions to what I suggested, and I hope that I have avoided using words like “always “and “never.” There are certainly some amazing cuts that clearly break the “rules.” And I continue to try to find the one I once glimpsed from the freeway coming over Stagecoach Pass in Oregon.

 

Terraserver, Google Earth, and now Microsoft Live Maps are nothing short of terrific as aids. The combination of modern high quality maps with high resolution color satellite imagery is beyond belief as a tool.

 

Any and all additions and corrections are more than welcome, they are solicited.. The objective was, and continues to be, to gather here a collection of hints that can be restructured into a coherent guide for members trying to find and follow the old roads. Mobilene has offered to help make that happen.

 

I want to throw in some map and road guide suggestions as well, and add illustrative photos as I get the time.

 

Thanks for your interest and for helping make the oppportunity to share available via the forum.

 

Keep the Show on the Road

Edited by Keep the Show on the Road!

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