Typical design of urban California freeways in the 1940's and '50's:
This page: Maps and General Items
Last modified: March 2008
Left:Signing in the 50s was white on black with mileage in tenths. Different font sizes were also tried. This is the San Diego Freeway (I-405) at Sunset Blvd. in 1966. This section of freeway was built in 1955. Thanks to Mike Ballard for this picture.
Right: Interstate 5 / US 101 co-signing at Avenue Pico in San Clemente, shortly after this stretch of freeway opened in 1961. Note the old style guardrail and lack of a center barrier. California Highways and Public Works Thanks to Casey Cooper for this scan from magazine.
Evolution of the California "miner's spade" state highway shield
The "bear shield" on the left was used up to the 1950's, when a simplified black on white shield was used. In 1964 the current white on green style started to be used. Here is a .
California Highways & Public Works article on the 1963 renumbering
I-5 in southern Los Angeles County, built in 1955 as US 101. (photo taken 3/2000)
Three lanes each direction
Guardrail center divider (many of these were added years after the road was constructed)
Very little area on the center median for breakdowns
This sign at the I-405/CA 133 interchange shows 1960's/70's standard freeway interchange signing:
the freeway name is shown (current method is to just use the route number)
control cities are given but not the direction
lit from the bottom with florescent tubes (this shot, taken in 2001, shows the newer lights)
non-reflective lettering for lighted signs (reflectors were glued to these signs in the 1980s)
Typical design of urban California freeways in the 1960's and '70's:
Southbound I-405 at CA 55 in 1976, built 1968.
Four lanes each direction
Collapsible fence center divider
Non-reflective silkscreened signs (button reflectors were added to the lettering on most of these signs in the early 1980's)
"Bott's dots" lane markers in a repeated pattern of 4 dots, space, 4 dots, space, one reflector, space.
Western United States, 1926
California (south), 1926
California (north), 1926
Coastal Southern California, 1926
Note that US 60 was routed on the future US 66 as the routing wasn't finalized until 1927.
San Francisco to Carson City, 1926
Thanks to Robert Droz for the next 13 scans:
Los Angeles and Vicinity, 1933
San Jose and San Diego, 1933
San Francisco, 1933
Fresno and Stockton, 1933
California and Nevada, 1933
Los Angeles area, 1942
Los Angeles and Vicinity, 1942
San Diego, 1942
San Francisco, 1942
San Jose and Sacramento, 1942
Stockton, Fresno, and Bakersfield, 1942
California and Nevada, 1942
Los Angeles and vicinity, 1941 (473k) Thanks to David Fibush for this scan
San Francisco and vicinity, 1941 (378k) Thanks to David Fibush for this scan
Los Angeles street map, 1943 (399k)
Coastal Southern California, 1955
Coastal Southern California, 1955 (700k) Higher resolution, Santa Barbara to San Diego
Eastern Southern California, 1955
Central Valley of California, 1955
Northern California: Bay Area to Lake Tahoe, 1955
Northern California, 1955
Los Angeles and Vicinity, 1955
Northern California: Bay Area to Sacramento, 1955
San Francisco Bay Area, 1955
Long Beach and Orange County, CA, 1961
Route of California 170, 1961 Before it was built through the San Fernando Valley.
California 170, 1963
California 170, 1966 Note is "Complete late 1966"
East L.A. interchange, 1963 prior to the
construction of CA 60, note the left side on ramp to southbound I-5 at Olympic
(since removed) in the lower right corner, also shows routes I-105 and I-110 which were later re-designated elsewhere.
California 118 and California 134 (eastern portion) freeways, 1963
These short freeway stubs were later expanded or replaced.
Downtown Long Beach, 1964 Note the
waterfront before fill was added for Shoreline Dr, and shows the pontoon bridge that pre-dated the Desmond bridge on Ocean Blvd. Also pre-dates the
arrival of the Queen Mary.
Southeast Long Beach, 1964 before I-405 was built through the area.
California 134 at I-5, 1965 before the CA 134 freeway was built east of I-5.
Sacramento, CA, 1967
San Diego, 1967 Interstate 5 under construction near Mission Bay.
San Diego, 1969 Before the bridge to Coronado was built.
Sacramento, CA, 1977 When Sacramento had Interstate 880.
San Francisco, 1975 San Francisco before the 1989 quake. The Embarcadero Freeway (480) has since been removed, along with part of the Central Freeway (101).
Close-ups of San Francisco's Embarcadero Freeway and Central Freeway from a 1972 map. Thanks to Neil Vance for these scans.
LA Area Freeway Planning Maps (from other sites)
LA Master Plan of Freeways, 1958 From "In Our Path".
Plans for California Freeway Development Daniel Faigin's site with California's freeway plans from the 1940s on.
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