Category: History

CARxR Ep. 1.03: Building a State Highway System: The 1930sCARxR Ep. 1.03: Building a State Highway System: The 1930s

In this episode, we’re continuing to explore the history of the State Highway System, focusing on the 1930s and the early 1940s. This is part of our first season of California Highways: Route by Route, where we are exploring the background needed for our route by route journal. In this episode, we’ll see the establishment of the legislative route system, the creation of state sign routes and the signage by the auto club, a major expansion of the state highway system, and continuing growth on the Federal side, laying the groundwork for the eventual interstates. This episode also features an interview with Morgan Yates, Archivist of the Auto Club of Southern California. During his interview, Morgan shared a picture of alternative state routing signs proposed by the ACSC (included here thanks to the auto club). You can write to Morgan at: Corporate Archivist; Automobile Club of Southern California; 2601 S. Figueroa St., MS H-118; Los Angeles, CA 90007.

Proposed Auto Club State Route Signage

Proposed Auto Club State Route Signage

Here are some relevant links for the episode:

Here’s the link to the show:

And here’s the link on Anchor.FM:

We welcome your comments on the episode. We’re also looking for someone to donate or provide more appropriate theme music. We’re also looking for interviews for future episodes; if you know a good person for us to talk to, drop a note to daniel@caroutebyroute.org. In particular, we’re looking for the folks to talk about the following:

  • For 1.05: Someone familiar with the Pat Brown era of road construction, who is also familiar with the impact on the state of the Great Renumbering (ideally, someone who remembers it first hand).
  • For 1.06: Someone familiar with the contracting and development process for highways today: How the CEQA has changed the process, and the increasing role of regional transportation agencies.

Episode 1.02: Building a State Highway System: The 1920sEpisode 1.02: Building a State Highway System: The 1920s

This first season of California Highways: Route by Route establishes the background listeners will need for our subsequent route by route podcasts. We’re starting with a history of the state highway system. In Episode 1.01, we discussed how the highway system started and got through the first three bond acts that created a large number of today’s routes. This second episode explores the 1920s: the start of the gas tax, the Melville Act that allowed the state to take over traversable highways through small cities that cannot afford them, as opposed to just rural highways between cities, the impact of the Breed Bill, and the establishment of the Division of Highways (today’s Caltrans). We’ll go over some of the major highways added during this time period, and most importantly, we’ll discuss the start of the Federal Highway system, better known today as the US Highways. We’ve got a special interview related to that subject: Joel Windmiller, President of the California Chapter of the Lincoln Highway Association.

Here are some relevant links:

Here’s the link to the show:

Here’s a link to the show on anchor.fm:

We welcome your comments on the episode. We’re also looking for someone to donate or provide more appropriate theme music.

We’re looking for interviews for the remaining set of Season 1 episodes, as indicated. If you’ve got a lead on a speaker, please let me know.

  • 1.04: Building a State Highway System: Expanding the System: Someone to talk on the 1956 Interstate Highway Bill
  • 1.05: Building a State Highway System: The Great Renumbering and New Freeways: Someone to talk on the construction boom of the 1960s and/or the impact of the great renumbering.
  • 1.06: Building a State Highway System: CEPA and Reality: Someone to talk on the impact of budget cuts and the California EPA/EQA on highway construction
  • 1.07: Highway Numbering: State Highways: Someone to talk on how the state numbers state highways — in particular, anything official on numbering patterns, or the rules for signing things.
  • 1.08: Highway Numbering: US Highways: Here I’d like someone to talk on the role of AASHTO on numbering US highways
  • 1.09: Highway Numbering: Interstates: This is Interstate numbering, so again an expert on Interstates — either numbering, the federal aid highway acts, or the chargeable/non-chargeable distinction
  • 1.10: Highway Numbering: County Routes: This is numbering of county highways, so anyone from a county public works department on the signed route system
  • 1.11: The Naming of Highways: A state legislator on highway naming resolutions
  • 1.12: The Organizations of State Highways: Someone from the California Transportation Commission on the role of the commission.

Episode 1.01 – Before 1920 – Building a State Highway SystemEpisode 1.01 – Before 1920 – Building a State Highway System

Welcome to the first season of California Highways: Route by Route. This first season will be establishing the background listeners will need for our subsequent route by route podcasts. We’ll start with a history of the state highway system. We’ll then explore how highways are numbered in the state. Lastly, we’ll look at how highways are named, and some of the organizations involved with state highways.

This first episode explores the start of the state highway system. We’ll start with the humble beginnings with the first routes defined by the legislature, and then go into the routes defined by the first three bond acts. We’ll also explore the Good Roads movement, and we’ll have a special interview with Adam Prince of Gribblenation.

Here are some relevant links:

Here’s the link to the show:

Here’s a link to the show on anchor.fm:

We welcome your comments on the episode. We’re also looking for someone to donate or provide more appropriate theme music.