Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Happy Birthday Interstates

On this day, June 29, 1956, President Eisenhower signed the Interstate Highway Act. Inspired by German Autobahns, the Interstate system was designed to ease highway congestion in big cities & small towns and facilitate cross-country travel, though as John Steinbeck wrote in Travels With Charley "it will be possible to drive from New York to California without seeing a single thing.”

Well maybe that's a slight exaggeration. There are still things to see along the interstates: usually the rolling plains or steep mountain overlooks. But certainly no rattlesnake museum or Indian trading posts. 

For all the good interstates have done, their creation was all but a death knell for the scenic Sunday drive, US 66 and many small businesses along the old 2-Lane who were unable to adapt.

I still prefer the old 2-Lane when I have the time, but if I'm in a hurry, I'll take the interstate.

(yes, I know: there is NO I-54 and Interstates never used the square font. Call it creative license ;) )

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