Researching the Roadside: travel & tourism in the Pacific Northwest
Use the scrollbar to browse items. Click on an item to view a larger version of it along with a description.
The tourist needs to know where to go and what to see, particularly if they have never been to a place. In the beginning, there were no route markers, no handy road guides since people didn't use roads to travel for recreation. If you were using a road, it was a short local distance so you didn't need a road marker. As local cross-county and cross-state roads were marked out, small guides for the traveler appeared. Originally, they might simple have text such as, "From Astoria Hotel go north 0.2m, turn right at red house go 0.3m, turn left at railroad track." Later guides would include simple maps, or sometimes photographs of the actual route along with the text. The Photomobile Tourist 1919 guide was quite sophisticated with photographs, maps and even ads for roadside services. As businesses and local communities realized that the automobile tourist brought money into their community, more local business and community organizations began putting out maps in order to encourage travelers to come and spend money in their towns. Attractions, of course, are important to bring the travelers to your area. If you have the biggest ball of twine, the largest dam in the world, roadside folk art, or even a big rock, people will come to see it. (See roadsideamerica.com for lots of good stuff!) So, guidebooks to attractions also became an important part of the travel experience.