The American Highway

The History and Culture of Roads in the United States

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About the Book

When the automobile first made long-distance travel practical, a dramatic change began in the country’s physical and cultural landscape. Road design and construction were challenged to keep pace with the rapidly advancing capabilities and numbers of cars. As real mobility sank into the popular consciousness, the American way of life changed forever.
This spectacularly illustrated history traces the transformation of America’s roads from rutted wagon trails into safe highways. The sweat and ingenuity of increasingly ambitious construction and the roadside culture that sprang up to greet a society on the move are both explored. Places to eat, sleep, refuel, and see sights became as much a part of the travel experience as the road itself, and the histories of the most familiar roadside businesses are recounted here. More than 300 historical photographs provide fascinating documentation.

About the Author(s)

Writer, researcher and photographer William Kaszynski has written several books on the meaning and history of roads in the United States. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Bibliographic Details

William Kaszynski
Format: softcover (8.5 x 11)
Pages: 237
Bibliographic Info: 313 photos, notes, index
Copyright Date: 2012 [2000]
pISBN: 978-0-7864-6923-9
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Preface      1

Table of Illustrations      3

A BRIEF HISTORY OF ROADS      9

THE EARLY DAYS (1900–1919)      24

THE FIRST GENERATION (1920–1945)      55

THE GOLDEN AGE (1946–1969)      137

THE INTERSTATE ERA (1970–2000)      190

THE FUTURE      206

Notes      219

Index      223

Book Reviews & Awards

“offers readers an enlightening, entertaining, and educational drive on America’s roads. Recommended”—Library Journal; “one of the best [books on the subject]…attractive…you’ll enjoy this one”—Antique Automobile; “the answers to the when, why, and how are chronicled here in fascinating detail”—The Flying Lady; “get this fun read and you’ll hit the roads with just a little more pride in America”—Old Cars Weekly.