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  However, soon after the birth of the Interstate system in 1956, the PA Turnpike would become outdated in comparison to the more modern Interstate.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