Saturday, June 9, 2012

Iron road map c. 1916, central Illinois

A cool artifact from the days when America was transitioning to automobile travel, showing a road network west of Decatur, Ill., in the Interstate 72 area. Obviously, this map, with a patent approval date of 1915, was erected not for the locals who already knew their way around, but for travelers in their newfangled motor vehicles. The Model T was just a few years old at the time. The map owner, aunt_beas_antiques, says it probably stood on the historic Paris-Springfield Road. Some of the nearby settlements: Blue Mound, Blackland, Illiopolis. The area is rural, yet the map looks like a slice of a city. Long-gone paint probably eased the confusion. The inch-thick iron plate, weighing 220 lbs. and just over 41 inches tall, was built to withstand the test of time. But its time in use turned out to be brief.

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