The Shorpy Gallery
 
5000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
 
Join and Share

 
Social Shorpy

To love him is to like him. Our goal: 100k "likes":

 
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Syndicate content
Daily e-mail updates:

 
 
 
 
Member Photos


Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

 
Colorized Photos


Colorized photos submitted by members.

 
About the Photos

Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600
VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • FLY CANADIAN PACIFIC, c. 1950s

Routes: 1925

Routes: 1925

        The conferees representing the highway commissions of several States, who met in this city during the present week under the auspices of the Joint Board of State and Federal Highways, reached a wise decision when they agreed to create a group of interstate roads to be known as United States highways   . . .

-- Washington Post editorial, April 25, 1925

Washington, D.C., 1925. "No caption (man with highway signs)." Early waypoints on the road to uniform route designations and the standardization of highway signs. Harris & Ewing Collection glass negative. View full size.

 

Phantom Roads

Those signs are test examples, you won't find US 56 or US 623 in the early route plans. US 56 was also used in early sign examples as being in Maine, not Oklahoma as seen here. The upright black-faced US 623 bears marks from the "Best Stamp Company" of Kansas City, MO - a maker of stamped metal objects like badges. The company may have been the victim of arson in 1957. Both of the US 623 variants have the US on the bottom, aping the design of the Wisconsin shield. Of historical note: The US 56 sign in his hands reads "US Route 56", text not used on the signs in the field. Also on the table is Mass US 5, which was used and is still in use today.

Get your kicks...

on Route 56. No, wait, it'll come to me...

The Man

This must be Thomas MacDonald, chief and later commissioner of the Bureau of Public Roads. Much of today's Interstate system and its standards were the result of MacDonald's work during the early part of the 20th Century.

Read in a book ("The Big Roads" by Earl Swift) he commanded such respect, even at a young age he demanded his younger siblings call him "Sir".

There is another scene from this photo shoot at the FHWA's website:

http://www.fhwa.dot.gov/infrastructure/firing.cfm

Some interesting info on "The Chief" as well.

Wikipedia entry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Harris_MacDonald

 
THE 100-YEAR-OLD PHOTO BLOG
Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2014 Shorpy Inc.