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Tarvia Tourists: 1921

Tarvia Tourists: 1921

Washington, D.C., circa 1921. "Barrett Co. group -- Inspection tour of Tarvia roads & pavements." National Photo Company Collection glass negative. View full size.


Bus with trailers

It's hard to imagine sixty men riding in what appears to be a bus pulling two trailers. Some airports, zoos and amusement parks still use various versions of this. The unpaved portion of the roadway has a double track streetcar line. Vancouver B.C. has a few remaining wood block streets covered with tar, which I now know are called Tarvia roads.

[The photo shows three buses. Look for the front wheels. - Dave]

Sales junket

I suspect most of the group aren't employees, but rather road dept managers from various jurisdictions out looking at the quality of the product, with hopes they will sign contracts.

Get Out The Way!

I'd love a better look at the vehicles behind this wall of humanity.

Tar for Tar, Via for Road

Tarred road: with tar being the operative word here! You still run into this kind of road surface once in a while even today, mostly on small town rural roads. I find it best to avoid if possible or else you will be cleaning tar off the lower sides of your vehicle!

That's me

with the dark coat and hat.

Whaddaya mean, no diversity?

I see a wide-ranging and exciting mix of fedoras, Homburgs, and derbys (derbies?). Not to mention the coats, with double- and single-breasted openings, a couple fur collars, and -- be still, my beating heart -- belts.

Road Inspectors

By the way, I'm thankful for the man near the middle wearing a bow tie. If it weren't for him, there'd be no diversity at all.

Well, there is the guy in the cap. Also, 'road inspectors' was my late husband's favorite sobriquet for folks taking Sunday drives during rush hour.

Mud Disappears Where Tarvia Enters!

Tarvia: Good roads at low cost. When I was young (in the 1950s) in the region where I lived, in the Netherlands, we used to refer to asphalt roads as "Macadam roads." But in fact, the Macadam roads preceded the Tarvia (and later asphalt) that was used for "Improving Macadam Roads."!

Cigar guy on far right

Puts me in mind of something I heard in a managerial zoom meeting recently: in the same way that it is now unacceptable to smoke indoors in public, it is apparently bad to smoke in your own home while on a zoom meeting, and it is also apparently okay for someone sitting in another home, in front of another screen, to ask you to stop. My word! Can you imagine what the cigar guy would think? Of course, you’d have to explain to him what a zoom meeting is and why we’re doing it, but I wonder whether or not he’d find that more strange than the fact that people no longer smoke indoors.

It's the Barrett look

It is a pretty homogenous group. The aforementioned man with the only bow tie is also one of four smoking a cigar (all to his left). At the other end of the photo is the only man smoking a pipe. But, to me, the real standout is a man towards the center wearing one of two (possibly three) fur collars and the only one not wearing dark trousers. Didn't he get the memo?!


Does it really take sixty men to inspect roads and pavements?

By the way, I'm thankful for the man near the middle wearing a bow tie. If it weren't for him, there'd be no diversity at all.

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