Jump to content
American Road Magazine
Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!
cbustapeck

The Oldest Speed Warning Sign I've Ever Seen, Revisited

Recommended Posts

A while ago, I posted about what I thought might be a 1920s metal speed warning sign, on the National Road, in western Maryland. I took advantage of the unseasonably warm weather on Monday to go shoot some photos.

 

2179309525_74091d43ef_m.jpg

This view, looking north, is the old National Road alignment that the sign is on, on the west side of Sideling Hill. In the version of this photo on Flickr, I've noted the location of the sign - it's on the right side of the road, but a bit before the road curves. I'm reasonably sure that the driveway that goes off to the right is an even older alignment, but as it was private property and the owner could not be located, I've been unable to research that further. This even older alignment probably curved off to the left a bit, as suggested by the flat patch of grass on the left side of the photo.

 

2180125218_df50cb8d98_m.jpg

This is the sign itself, again looking north. The side that is visible to us would have been seen by southbound (eastbound) travelers. The other side of the sign has been more exposed to the elements, and no distinguishable markings remain on it.

 

2180109094_36970e9fb8.jpg

 

2179325711_ea6a33345f_m.jpg

 

The sign has a black border. At the top is a small ">" in a circle - perhaps a directional arrow. To the best of my ability to tell (and based on a bit of guessing), it reads "Cities Speed Ahead". Is this, then, a direction to slow down to city speeds?

 

My interpretation, of course, may be wrong. I know this much of the text with certainty:

(>)

CITIES

S

A D

 

I'd love to hear any other possible guesses / thoughts.

Edited by cbustapeck

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
My interpretation, of course, may be wrong. I know this much of the text with certainty:

(>)

CITIES

S

A D

 

I'd love to hear any other possible guesses / thoughts.

Are you sure it couldn't just be an advertisement for "Cities Service" ahead?

CitiesStationIllustration.jpg

 

The curvature of the "Cities Service" station logo is similar to the curvature of the sign.

 

What do you think?

 

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Another guess would be "Cities Straight Ahead."

Facinating anyway!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

Dave

 

Are you sure it couldn't just be an advertisement for "Cities Service" ahead?

CitiesStationIllustration.jpg

 

The curvature of the "Cities Service" station logo is similar to the curvature of the sign.

 

What do you think?

 

Chris

 

Chris,

 

I think you are on to something there! What is the shape of the Cities Service Logo? Is it a triangle in a circle, and the "arrow" is their logo?

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think you are on to something there! What is the shape of the Cities Service Logo? Is it a triangle in a circle, and the "arrow" is their logo?

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

Were you not able to see the image in my reply? Here's a close-up,

Cities_38.jpg

or you can follow this link: Cities Service Logo

 

I thought of it because I have a road map they distributed with their logo on the top. It's an H.M. Gousha 1959 map of Baltimore Metropolitan Area.

 

Chris

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Were you not able to see the image in my reply? Here's a close-up,

Cities_38.jpg

or you can follow this link: Cities Service Logo

 

I thought of it because I have a road map they distributed with their logo on the top. It's an H.M. Gousha 1959 map of Baltimore Metropolitan Area.

 

Chris

 

Chris,

 

I think you nailed it!

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Are you sure it couldn't just be an advertisement for "Cities Service" ahead?

CitiesStationIllustration.jpg

 

The curvature of the "Cities Service" station logo is similar to the curvature of the sign.

 

What do you think?

 

Chris

 

Well, drats....this is what I get for NOT reading the entire thread before searching Google for a "Cities Service" sign! Great minds think alike, Chris. After 20 minutes searching for a good Cities Service sign, I then proceeded to go to the end of the thread....and you included the same photo I was going to use! But I'll give your theory a big :sSig_iagree: . I'd be interested to know if some of those buildings in the photos looked anything like they might've been a gas station in years past.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I'd be interested to know if some of those buildings in the photos looked anything like they might've been a gas station in years past.

cbustapeck, next time you go by there you can look to see how far "ahead" the service station was. It could have maybe been at that tiny crossroads? Or maybe a mile or so up the road...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
cbustapeck, next time you go by there you can look to see how far "ahead" the service station was. It could have maybe been at that tiny crossroads? Or maybe a mile or so up the road...

 

Chris,

 

That's it! It's not nearly so fun of a story - but it's great to know, and now I'm wondering where the service station was.

 

The closest building of any size in the right direction seems improbable, but not impossible. It's a couple hundred feet down the road.

 

1739891818_88e8896822_m.jpg

 

1738942021_13c7da587a.jpg

 

In the wrong direction (given the orientation of the sign), at about the same distance, we have this former service station:

 

1739838272_7b3565b65e_m.jpg

 

Heading in the proper direction, given the orientation of the sign, there isn't another former service station for a good four or five miles. Guess I may have to spend some more time on the road.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Chris,

 

That's it! It's not nearly so fun of a story - but it's great to know, and now I'm wondering where the service station was.

 

The closest building of any size in the right direction seems improbable, but not impossible. It's a couple hundred feet down the road.

 

1739891818_88e8896822_m.jpg

 

1738942021_13c7da587a.jpg

 

In the wrong direction (given the orientation of the sign), at about the same distance, we have this former service station:

 

1739838272_7b3565b65e_m.jpg

 

Heading in the proper direction, given the orientation of the sign, there isn't another former service station for a good four or five miles. Guess I may have to spend some more time on the road.

 

 

Hey Chris,

 

I checked out your flickr site last week....lots of cool images, I must say. Any idea what town this was, or was closest to, as you were driving in western Maryland? Has this road been branded "Scenic 40" (I don't know if I like that designation) or MD 144 by the state of Maryland? Is it called something else?

 

I live in Wilmington, DE. Perhaps it's time for a day trip...heh, heh.

 

Matt Smallwood

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

B) Photos of this sign, along with other Sideling Hill west slope scenes in B&W are posted in the member's gallery.

I should mention that I do have color shots of many of the scenes and can scan them for future presentation if desired.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am very much enjoying these photos. They only make me want to make another trip to Maryland, with a whole week just to explore the various alignments.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×