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  However, soon after the birth of the Interstate system in 1956, the PA Turnpike would become outdated in comparison to the more modern Interstate.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

California State Route 88 the Carson Pass Highway

Between 2016 and 2017 I drove the majority of California State Route 88 from CA 99 in Stockton east over Carson Pass to CA 89.






CA 88 is a 122 mile state highway from CA 99 in Stockton east over the Sierra Nevada Range to the continuation route Nevada State Route 88 at the Nevada State Line.  CA 88 is known as the Carson Pass Highway.  Carson Pass at 8,574 feet above sea level along CA 88 is an all-year Mountain Pass in the Sierras and on occasion designated as Temporary US Route 50 when conditions are bad over Echo Summit. 

CA 88 was not one of the original Signed State Highways.  CA 8 was the original designation over Carson Pass which can be seen on the 1938 California State Highway Map.

1938 State Highway Map

CA 8 was substantially different than CA 88 west of Jackson as it largely follows the current route of CA 26.  From US 99E in 1934 and later US 50/99 in 1936 from Stockton CA 8 originally used the following route to reach Jackson:

-  Legislative Route 5 from US 99 in Stockton …

California State Route 85

Last week I had the opportunity to try out several Bay Area roadways.  The first route on my list was California State Route 85 from CA 17 west to US Route 101.






CA 85 is an approximately 24 mile freeway starting at US 101 in San Jose which loops back to US 101 in Mountain View.  I drove the entire route back in 2016 but my recent trip had me starting CA 85 at about the mid-way point in Los Gatos from CA 17 northbound.





CA 85 west of CA 17 briefly skirts the City limits of San Jose before entering Saratoga.





CA 85 dips back into the westernmost limits of San Jose at De Anza Boulevard.  De Anza Boulevard was part of the original surface alignment of CA 9.





CA 85 in Cupertino is the location with the junction with I-280.  The section of CA 85 north of I-280 is the original part of the freeway which means there is plenty of button-copy shields still posted.











CA 85 briefly dips into Sunnyvale before entering Mountain View.   CA 85 encounters CA 82 which runs on the El Camino Real which obvious…

California State Route 49; The Golden Chain Highway (CA 41 north to CA 16)

Last year I traveled California State Route 49 from CA 16 north to CA 89 in one continuous trip.  The prior two years I traveled the rest of CA 49 south to CA 41 in Oakhurst.  This blog post consists of photos of the highway from that time period and historical information about the southern part of CA 49.






This blog post is meant to be a continuation of the previous one I did regarding CA 49 from CA 16 north to CA 89.  A link to said blog post can be found below:

California State Route 49; The Golden Chain Highway (CA 16 north to CA 89)

As stated in the previous blog post; CA 49 is an approximately 295 mile long north/south highway which traverses the traditional Gold Rush Country of California.  While I intend to discuss county level historical alignments of CA 49 as I did in the first blog post I thought this would be a good place to discuss the backstory of highway.

CA 49 was first signed in 1934 along a series of Legislative Route Numbers ("LRN") that were largely located…