Archive for the ‘U.S. 81’ category

Don’t forget your passport

May 9, 2007

Drive the Meridian Highway from Winnipeg, Canada all the way south past Monterrey, Mexico. This classic guidebook, from 1931, does a fantastic job of selling travel along U.S. Highway 81. Pages of this guide are filled with romantic illustrations and descriptions of North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. The road was 1,851 miles long from Winnipeg to the Mexican border. Along the way, motorists could choose from a small number of cafes and tourist camps. In fact, traditional downtown hotels were still the place to stay for many.


One of the advertisements in the guide, that caught our eyes here at Historic Highways, was a pitch for the Old Dutch Mill. These windmill-shaped gas stations were sprinkled around Kansas. The 1930s were a great time for crazy roadside architecture and this string of service stations followed suit. The ad also mentions the Swallow, which was an early tourist camp along the Meridian Highway. It was found in Salina, Kansas.