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Cover of Concrete Highways Magazine, showing Highway 10 near Asheville, North Carolina, 1928

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Cover of Concrete Highways Magazine, showing Highway 10 near Asheville, North Carolina, 1928
Smithsonian Institution Libraries

IN CONTEXT

This object appears in the following sections:


Technology
Transportation Infrastructure Videos — Transportation infrastructure

Lives on the Railroad: Salisbury, North Carolina, 1927
Lives on the Railroad: Salisbury, North Carolina, 1927 — Promoting Good Roads

RELATED OBJECTS
Washington to Richmond road


Concrete Highways
Currently on display
From the Smithsonian Collection
In 1921, the North Carolina General Assembly passed a good roads bill. Supporters claimed that roads would help connect the state's textile industry and local farmers to national railroad and waterway networks. By 1925, funds raised by a gasoline tax, automobile license fees, and federal government highway bonds paid for 7,680 miles of improved roads. Improved road networks and improved road surfaces allowed year-round automobile travel to become a reality. With the influx of public money, North Carolina began to build roads to connect all its county seats.
Physical Description
magazine cover
Details
Date Made:
1928
Locations:
North Carolina
History

During the 19th century, cities usually had decent roads, but rural roads were often little more than muddy trails. Bicyclists and railroad companies began calling for good roads in the 1880s, but American road building really took off in the 20th century as a response to the rising numbers of cars and trucks. Some of these new roads were private initiatives, such as the Lincoln Highway, but after 1916, federal law and government money fueled much of the country’s road building. In 1921, Congress passed a second act that provided states with matching monies to improve their roads. The 1921 act also required that state highway departments designate seven percent of all rural roads in the state as "main" roads, and that the federal monies go to those roads. This helped create a long distance road network and helped fuel a highway building boom in the 1920s.


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