Asphalt and Politics: A History of the American Highway by Thomas L. Karnes

By Thomas L. Karnes

From animal paths to superhighways, transportation has been the spine of yankee enlargement and progress. This exam of the interstate street approach within the usa, and the forces that formed it, contains the advent of the auto, the great Roads circulate, and the Lincoln road organization. The e-book bargains an research of nation and federal highway investment, glossy road-building thoughts, and the successes and screw ups of the present road procedure.

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Before the TWO—WHERE THERE IS NO ROAD 27 The first Packard truck in a convoy of 28 enters McConnellsburg, Pennsylvania, en route from Detroit to Baltimore for shipment to France, December 1917 (State of Michigan). The Packard truck convoy enters Baltimore, having traveled 580 miles from Detroit (State of Michigan). 28 Asphalt and Politics armistice, 118,000 were purchased, provided by 216 different makers. General Motors sent 90 percent of its wartime production to the military — some 8,500 vehicles.

That organization did not cave in to public opinion. One letter might serve to demonstrate. The writer was Gael S. Hoag, state LHA consul for Nevada and later field secretary upon the death of Henry Ostermann. Even the very stationery used by Hoag was designed to intimidate. His letterhead included two small maps of the road and a strong, black banner reading LINCOLN HIGHWAY, linking sketches of New York and San Francisco. The left margin included the names of the officers and directors, a who’s who of automotive executives.

In September of 1918 the trucks brought loads of pneumatic tires for airplanes from Boston to San Diego, taking three weeks. They returned almost immediately, bringing Arizona cotton back to Akron. The trip was becoming routine for the wellprepared. The venturesome, whether woman or man, civilian or military, in search of profit or fun, thoroughly probed the nation’s geography by car before 1920. They were but the precursors of millions. But in the first quarter of the twentieth century, every one of our drivers found the roads badly wanting.

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