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America on the Move
Collection Exhibition Themes
Transportation in America before 1876 Community Dreams: Santa Cruz, California, 1876 Delivering the Goods: Watsonville, California, 1895 A Streetcar City: Washington, D.C., 1900 People on the Move Americans Adopt the Auto Crossing the Country: Somewhere in Wyoming, 1903 The Connected City: New York, New York, 1920s The People's Highway: Route 66, 1930s-1940s Roadside Communities: Ring's Rest, Muirkirk, Maryland, 1930s Family Camping: York Beach, Maine, 1930s On the School Bus: Martinsburg, Indiana, 1939 Suburban Strip: Sandy Boulevard, Portland, Oregon, 1949 City and Suburb: Chicago and Park Forest, Illinois, 1950s On the Interstate: I-10, 1956-1990 Transforming the Waterfront: San Francisco and Oakland, California, 1960-1970 Going Global: Los Angeles Introduction The Salisbury Depot What Happened to Plessy? A Way of Travel Railroad Conductor Pullman Porter Carrying Everything Into Town--and Out Locomotive Engineer & Fireman Railroaders behind the Scenes Promoting Good Roads Spencer, an Industrial Community What Happened to the Railroads?
9: Lives on the Railroad: Salisbury, North Carolina, 1927

Promoting Good Roads

Although the Good Roads Movement began in the 1880s, it continued into the twentieth century. In North Carolina, activists called for a hard-surfaced road network, built and managed by the state, to replace an ineffectual district-by-district construction program. In 1921, the 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.

Stuck in the mud
Stuck in the mud
“Get a horse!” was a common remark directed at car owners in such a predicament. After a few experiences like this, many motorists supported higher taxes for improved roads.
Magazine cover showing Highway 10 near Asheville, North Carolina, 1928
Magazine cover showing Highway 10 near Asheville,
North Carolina, 1928

With the influx of public money, North Carolina began to build roads to connect all its county seats. Improved road networks and improved road surfaces allowed year-round automobile travel to become a reality.

Kramer farm wagon, 1925
Farmers’ wagons served many purposes. They picked up and delivered goods, and also served as passenger vehicles when benches or extra wagon seats were added. In 1926, despite the growing use of the automobile, more than 200,000 new wagons were manufactured, and millions were still in use around the country.
Kramer farm wagon, 1925
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