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Over and Under: 1938

Over and Under: 1938

Summer of 1938. "Underpass in central Ohio, Route 40. Roadside does not at first present a definite or meaningful picture. Closer investigation begins to reveal the character of the place." View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by Ben Shahn.


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Circleville, Ohio

This photograph was taken of a C&O eastbound train near Circleville, Ohio. It not West Jefferson as the C&O did not go through there.

The route is US 23, now North Court Street. The tunnel was for the Scioto Valley Traction company.

Eric at CG Tower

Near West Jefferson, Ohio

I recognize the location of this photo. It was taken west of Columbus, Ohio near the town of West Jefferson. The Cincinnati and Lake Erie interurban ran under the bridge parallel to Rt. 40 but the track was gone. You can see how the bridge in the background is divided, originally the road went on one side and the C&LE on the other. The C&LE once raced an airplane from Cincinnati to Dayton as a promotional stunt and won.

C & O Bridge

The condition of the bridge I find striking. One never today sees a railway bridge freshly painted. This is in contrast to the unwashed tender.


There appear to be people under the second overpass in the background, to the left.

[Weeds. - Dave]

Tough divider

I'd hate to ride the center line on that highway. That second underpass would be brutal.

Ohio is like that

Route 40 hasn't changed much. It does go through Springfield, Columbus, and Zanesville, but other than that I would say he has described the "National Road" to a T.

The Low Road

The entire passage, which was a general caption for 73 images taken along Route 40:

Roadside does not at first present a definite or meaningful picture. Closer investigation begins to reveal the character of the place. Majority of the farms are well-kept, occasionally divided by weed-grown and run-down farms. No apparent cause for this is in the character of the land. These farms are chief support of prosperous small towns in the vicinity.

C&O underpass

Perhaps absence of graffiti gives it character....

Underpass 'Character'

Hmmm, the "character of the place" is not coming through to me. What am I not seeing?

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