Archive for Tuesday, February 21, 2012

100 years ago: Early highway in planning stages

February 21, 2012


From the Lawrence Daily Journal-World for Feb. 21, 1912:

  • "The Golden Belt Road is being mapped out today, that is the part of the highway that is to be looked after by Lawrence, and the number of the official road markers that will be needed is being determined preparatory to sending in the order to the secretary of the association. Lawrence is to take care of the road from Eudora, through Lawrence and up to Perry. This route has been determined as taking the old Eudora road west from Eudora, entering Lawrence at Quincy [11th] street, up Quincy to Massachusetts street, across the river and over the north road to Topeka.... The road signs are to be made of steel, 14 by 20 inches large, enameled with a special enamel to stand the wear of the weather. The words, 'Golden Belt' are to be put on in yellow on a blue background."
  • "That the day may not be so very far off when the United States Government will establish a national law for the uniformity of weights and measures, is the good news brought back from Washington by Prof. E. F. Stimpson, the official sealer for Kansas.... Just now there is some very important legislation pending before Congress to pass laws that will establish national uniformity for weights and measures, some measures that will abolish non-uniformity in the size of barrels, boxes and other articles used for similar purposes in which goods are sold to the public ... and providing that all packaged goods shall bear upon the outside wrapper a statement of their net contents."


Sarah St. John 6 years, 2 months ago

"The road signs are to be made of steel, 14 by 20 inches large, enameled with a special enamel to stand the wear of the weather. The words, 'Golden Belt' are to be put on in yellow on a blue background."

I did a search, hoping that there was such a thing as highway-sign-collectors in the world of antiques and collectibles. There may well be, but I did not find any images of a surviving Golden Belt highway signs. After all, they were made of enameled steel! They should have lived a pretty long time, eh? But no, I didn't find any.

Oh BTW, the original newspaper said "Up Quincy to Massachusetts street, south across the river and over the north road to Topeka." I assumed that was a typo, as you would be going north to cross the river from Mass, so I took out the word "south."

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 2 months ago

Click on this link to see an image of a 'Golden Belt Road' sign:

(Granted, the sign is not in very good condition anymore.)

Clips from that link: "The Golden Belt Road offers the shortest, most picturesque and best motor route between Kansas City and Colorado. It traverses the rich Kaw and Smoky Hill valleys, the wheat section of Kansas—the Golden Belt—and takes the most direct route over the high plains.”
- Golden Belt Road guidebook, 1918-1919

“The first Kansas motor highway on which signs have been placed marking every turn is the Golden Belt Road from Kansas City to the west line of the state, where it connects with the Colorado highway to Denver and Colorado Springs. More than 350 road signs and 175 danger signs have been placed. The road signs are 12x18 inches on enameled iron with the words ‘Golden Belt Road’ in yellow letters against a blue background. The signs are to placed on iron posts painted yellow and every turn is marked by two road signs. Preceding each, three telephone poles or fence posts are marked with yellow bands to indicate a turn.” - Kit Carson County Record (Burlington, Colorado) June 12, 1912

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 2 months ago

Wow, did I ever have to search to find that!

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 2 months ago

Both of you beat me! First I did a search on ebay. None were for sale. Then I searched 'completed listings'. Didn't find any there either. I'm stubborn, and kept on going. After I posted, I saw your and RoeDapple's links!

LadyJ 6 years, 2 months ago

Reposting my comment from yesterday
"You know what would be cool? If the city would have street signs for all the streets that have been renamed (in a different color of course) with the original name and hang them directly under the current sign. It would be a great historical reference."

Sarah St. John 6 years, 2 months ago

Whoops! Saw it last night, LadyJ, but all that lovely rain drove it out of my thoughts. :-)

Actually there are street signs in Old West Lawrence that are a little bit like that. Not separate signs, but if I remember correctly, the old name is printed under the current name.

I like your idea, though.

FlintlockRifle 6 years, 2 months ago

Roe, great find on your sites, the last one when you click and open down at the bottom is the Victory Eagle's, like it said the one in our area was located on 24-40 northeast of Lawrence, on west side of the road at the Douglas-Leavenworth line , across the road from Ray's Truck Stop.

Sarah St. John 6 years, 2 months ago

Thanks for the link, folks. But oh no! The poor old sign!!! :-(

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 2 months ago

Herbert Clark Hoover has the historical misfortune to be mostly remembered for being the President of the United States when the collapse of the economy that began in October 1929 unfolded into what we now call the Great Depression. Although from appearances, future generations may refer it as "The First Great Depression."

The boom and bust nature of the US economy had been going on for well over a hundred years, but only the one in living memory was ever thought of as being "Great".

He was elected in 1928 as the 31st President. The conditions that resulted in the Great Depression were already in place, and at that time it was already too late to change things.

A very few years ago I had a very interesting discussion about him with a doctoral student who was working on his PhD in History. It is amazing how much contention there is as to Hoover's historical importance. I am sure it is significant.

He had many major accomplishments to his credit that are almost forgotten today. For instance, very few know that he was the Secretary of Commerce that was behind the standardisation of many things that we now take for granted, such as the subject of the second part of this article. I noticed that he's not even mentioned in this article at all, although he was the one behind it.

It is amazing that a young orphan accomplished so much, and his autobiography is fascinating reading, although it is rather long due to its great detail.

About Herbert Hoover: "One early effort was to standardize and simplify sizes and styles of thousands of consumer items. For example, every combination of nuts and bolts had different thread sizes. Manufacturers were making too many sizes and kinds of everything. As industry began to understand the savings involved in setting standards that would apply throughout the industry, one after another asked for guidance from the Commerce Department. Standard sizes were adopted for paper, auto tires, nuts and bolts, plumbing, window frames, and many more items."

Clipped from:

Sarah St. John 6 years, 2 months ago

Yes, the original article mentioned three types of signs... the road marker, the image of which is linked three times now on this page in case anyone has missed it :-) The town signs, announcing the town limits; and the danger signs.

The sad thing is, the original article said that the danger signs would eliminate tragedies like that which took the life of young Martin Babb back in November 2010 (Lawrence's first auto fatality) which is described here and in the comments:

I guess the actual sad thing is, the mere presence of signs didn't prevent fatal car accidents in the next 100 years. I hope they helped a little bit, though.

RoeDapple 6 years, 2 months ago

I'm guessin' "young" Martin Babb was a pretty old dude in November 2010


Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 2 months ago

It's OK, Sarah. What's a hundred years between friends, anyway?

Ron Holzwarth 6 years, 2 months ago

You'll have to ask RoeDapple about that.

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