Skip to main content

1950s PA Turnpike Post Card Collection

During most of its first two decades the Pennsylvania Turnpike was promoted and considered by many as "The Crown Jewel" of the American highway system.  The highway was spoken in magnificent terms and was touted as a modern example of safe, high speed, and scenic travel.  However, soon after the birth of the Interstate system in 1956, the PA Turnpike would become outdated in comparison to the more modern Interstate.  During the 1960s, the first of many changes would occur on the Turnpike to make the highway more compliant with Interstate standards.    

Today, with ongoing construction and heavy traffic, it is difficult to imagine the wonder and charm that the Turnpike had in its first 20 years.  The 1950s PA Turnpike Postcard Collection captures the original turnpike prior to the creation of the Interstate Highway System.  The 18 postcards below includes original captions found on the back of the linen cards from the early 1950s. 


The Greatest of all "Man Made Wonders" in this Twentieth Century is the Pennsylvania Turnpike, over whose surface tens of millions have traveled on business or pleasure since its opening to traffic October 1, 1940.

A beauty view of Pennsylvania's Turnpike from the mountains between Sideling Hill, the longest tunnel, a mile and a quarter and Ray's Hill, the shortest tunnel under the mountains, between McConnellsburg and Everett, Pa. Note: This segment of the Turnpike was bypassed in 1968.

One of the seven tunnels carrying the Turnpike beneath formidable mountains, six were inherited from the old rail project.  The interior view of the Allegheny tunnel, near New Baltimore and the entrance to the Tuscarora is shown.  Others at Laurel, Allegheny, Ray's Hill, Sideling Hill, Tuscarora, Kittatinny, Blue Mountain.

Last word in tunnel lighting is accomplished by soft sodium lights at the entrances and non-glaring, bluish-green mercury lights inside.

A view on the 327 mile super highway at Bedford, Pa.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike is the safest of all high-speed highways.  Not only is it the safest, but the smoothest and the most beautiful.

SERVING THE TURNPIKE TOURIST - Throughout the entire length of the Turnpike, Service Stations and Restaurants are located on both east and west bound lanes of the system at convenient intervals.  Each Service Station provides a Restaraunt and Daily Bar Service and many of them have table service where hungry motorists can have a variety of delicious meals as the dining service is under the direct supervision and management of the celebrated caterer Howard Johnson.

For 327 miles - not a stop sign or traffic light - not a cross road or street - no grade over three percent on this modern super highway which, instead of climbing over tall peaks of the Alleghenies, dives through them in seven well ventilated, well illuminated tunnels.

Kittatinny and Blue Mountain Tunnels are called the "Twin Tunnels" as there is only 800 feet of daylight between them; one of the many interesting sights along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The Blue Mountain Interchange on the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

There are 24 Interchanges on the PennsylvaniaTurnpike - one at each end and 22 at intermediate points.  Each has an accelerating and decelerating lane which is adjacent and in addition to the regular highway lane.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike, five miles east of Bedford, crosses over the Lincoln Highway.  The two lane road looks antiquated.  Some distance past the Bedford "interchange" the Turnpike crosses the Lincoln Highway again, runs past the ruins of the historic iron works at Everett, then crosses the Lincoln for the last time.

Setting the style for highways of the future Pennsylvania's new super Turnpike is a model that will be hard to improve upon.  Its steepest grade is only 3%.

Allegheny River Bridge: The Turnpike has no crossings at grade.  There are a total of 652 crossings of all types either above or below grades.  Three of these crossings are of major proportion.  The Bridges spanning the Susquehanna, Beaver, and Allegheny Rivers.  The World's Greatest Highway.

MIDWAY STATION.  One of the deluxe service stations on the Penna. Turnpike, midway between Harrisburg and Pittsburgh, Pa. at Bedford Interchange.

The Turnpike winding its way through the beautiful mountains of Pennsylvania along the World's Greatest Highway.

THE WORLD'S GREATEST HIGHWAY SYSTEM - The Pennsylvania Turnpike System was constructed originally to breach the barriers formed by the Appalachian Mountain range and to facilitate free rapid movement of transportation between great centers of industry and population.

Aerial view of the "Dream Highway" showing a 100 ft. high fill and the "Clear Ridge Cut."  Largest cut in the Eastern part of the U.S. and known as Little Panama.
Site Navigation:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Abandoned New Stanton Interchange Ramps

For nearly 50 years, the Pennsylvania Turnpike interchange with Interstate 70 and US 119 in New Stanton has been a rather free-flowing double trumpet, grade separated interchange between the two freeways.  But for the first 23 years of the turnpike, this interchange was vastly different.  It was the only non-trumpet interchange within the system (excluding termini points) and featured very tricky and gridlock causing left turns within the interchange.  (See image on right).  With the birth of the Interstate Highway System in the mid-1950s, new freeways were built and in many cases the Turnpike kept the original interchange using local roads to connect to the new freeways.  Interchanges with what would become I-81, I-176, I-80, I-70 in Breezewood, and I-79 were left with the original design.

Meanwhile in the 1950's, the state began building a freeway that ran from New Stanton west towards Washington.  This freeway, signed PA 71, was built to connect those in the industrial Mon Valle…

Quemahoning Tunnel

The Quemahoning Tunnel may have never been built by the Pennsylvanina Turnpike Commission, but it still has a history unto itself.  Originally planned to carry rail along the South Penn Railway, the tunnel never would not see any trains until 1909 when a small line named the Pittsburgh, Westmoreland & Somerset began utilizing it.  The use was brief and by the end of 1916 the PW&S was no longer in operation and abandoned the facility.  Twenty-some years later, the newly formed Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission considered using the abandoned tunnel, in fact it was shown on some original plans.  However, the PTC decided against using it, and the tunnel remained empty.

The eastern portal of the Quemahoning Tunnel is easily accessible from the PA Turnpike.  The portal is located at mile 106.3 along the westbound roadway.  The tunnel is one of the many "What Could Have Been's?" of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  Below, Bill Symons shares photos taken in late Fall of 1986 of …

Icelandic Highways & Byways (Part 2)

Continuing on our series on traveling in Iceland, we'll explore the Golden Circle, which is a popular tourist route in Iceland. The Golden Circle is easily accessible from Reykjavik and includes such must-see places like Thingvellir National Park (spelled as Þingvellir in the Icelandic language), Geysir, which yes, is a geyser, and the Gullfoss waterfall.So yes, the Golden Circle includes a little bit of everything that Iceland has to offer. For those of you playing at home, I drove the
Golden Circle in a clockwise fashion with an impromptu diversion towards the end of my loop, which meant that I missed the hydroponic tomato farm, but I discovered a few other neat things, so it all worked out in the end.

Thingvellir (Þingvellir) is actually situated within the rift valley that separates the Eurasian and North American tectonic plates, as the site where the Alþingi or Althing (in English), which is the Icelandic Parliament met between the years 930 and 1798. So as you can tell, the…