I love road trips and I love maps. In fact, when I take my road trips, I still use the good old Rand MacNally Road Atlas to figure out how to get from one place to another. No GPS for me, thank you very much!
Two weeks ago I had the chance to do a long and fast road trip from the Twin Cities to Colorado and back to attend a memorial service with my sister and mom. We had friends visiting from England, and we piled them into a rented mini-van with us so they could experience an American road trip. We left home on Tuesday morning, and returned on Saturday evening.
After we got back I ran across this fascinating map on a site called Internet Archives. It is a 1912 AAA road map of the United States, published in a magazine called The Bicycling World and Motorcycle Review.
I was particularly interested to see how one might have traveled by road from Minneapolis to Denver in 1912. (Please go here to see a larger version of the image.)
Interestingly, you can see the ancestors (so to speak) of both I-35 that runs from Minneapolis to Des Moines, and I-80, which connects Des Moines to Denver (via I-76 spur).
If you’re interested in knowing more about the development of the US interstate system, I heartily recommend the book The Big Roads: The Untold Story of the Engineers, Visionaries, and Trailblazers Who Created the American Superhighways, by Earl Swift.