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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • BRITISH COLUMBIA VACATION-LAND: 1950s

Death Won Here: 1940

Death Won Here: 1940

July 1940. "Marker of accident on the highway in Bernalillo County, New Mexico." Photo by Russell Lee for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

 

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South Dakota Has Similar Signs

But they didn't start erecting them until 1979.

X marks the spot

At least a couple of states still do this today.

The Florida Department of Transportation has an official program to place a memorial marker at the site of a fatality on a state highway - a round white sign. When you're driving by, you can only read the "Drive Safely" wording, but if you're on foot, you can see that it also has the name of the person who died. Sometimes people will put flowers or other things at the base of the sign. I first saw those signs when visiting in 2008, and the program is still available today.

The South Dakota state police have had a similar program since 1979, with a somewhat similar "X" to the one seen here.

In the early 1980s, I remember hearing my grandparents talk about the roadside "shrines" that family and friends would put up in northern Mexico and southern Texas. I don't remember seeing anything like that in Missouri at the time, but by the late 1990s, I started seeing them in Missouri.

Powerful statement

We sometimes see memorials placed roadside by mourners, but no "official" markers such as this. Quite a campaign they must have had to promote motor safety.

The vehicle here is a 1930-31 Ford. And it had a rumble seat, shown by the step plate on the fender.

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