Thursday, February 16, 2012

COLLECTION #166: Vintage Road Maps

I love old maps of every type: globes, atlases, and of course, road maps! There's just something so fun about looking at old maps to see the highways, cities, streets, and points of interest of long ago- and not-so-long-ago. 

I've discovered young people today barely know how to read maps. Perhaps I'm an old fuddy-duddy, but I don't think a GPS has quite the charm of a road map or atlas. In my humble opinion, learning how to read maps helps develop spatial relationships, logic, and a sense of direction. Although I do love my iPhone GPS, and rely on it often, I just have to 'see the whole picture' when I visit a new area, or travel out of my local comfort zone.
I love the graphics and info on this map... look at the architecture & cars! And a radio log too!

This map of Los Angeles, shows an area that's completely changed today. (North of LAX) The big blank area on the left side is now Marina Del Rey, and there is no such place as Barnes City District. Today it's parts of Marina Del Rey, Playa Vista and Westchester.
These road maps are from the Western US (since that's my home turf, I tend to collect things that I'm familiar with), and date from the late '30s, to the early 80s. I love the maps of Los Angeles, and California. The California one was published in 1939, and the LA map is from the early '40s, although it has no copyright date. It's fun to see that there are no freeways at all on the California map, and the LA one only has the 'Arroyo Seco Parkway' (Pasadena Freeway), and a small section of the Hollywood Freeway.  All of the other highways were regular streets and boulevards.  These maps were all given away by gas stations. That was how we got our maps back in the day. (Back when gas stations were called 'service stations', because you actually got service!)

The Colorado map was published in 1952, and is almost like a book... full of fun, stylized illustrations, and information about points of interest, in addition to the maps.

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