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America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Washington-Richmond road, 1919

Enlarge Image
Washington-Richmond road, 1919
NMAH, Archives Center, API Collection


This object appears in the following sections:

Americans Adopt the Auto:
Americans Adopt the Auto — Better Roads

Washington to Richmond Road

Washington to Richmond Road

Concrete Highways

Dague Road Scraper and Leveller

Washington to Richmond road
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
In 1919, the Washington to Richmond road was neither improved nor paved, as this image of a muddy road, with a car trying to drive in the mud suggests.
Physical Description
Date Made:
As more Americans began to drive, cars took a heavy toll on the nation's existing road network. Cars weighed more than other road vehicles, and they went faster, creating wear and tear on the nation's roads. They also, in the early days of motoring, had high-pressure tires that tore up road surfaces. As automobiles became a fact of more and more peoples' daily lives, the nation built new roads, improved old ones, and began using materials—asphalt and concrete—to surface highways so that America's automobiles could be on the road all year round.

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