Memorial Day Road Trip with a 1914 Automobile Map

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Click for full size | Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library

Memorial Day began shortly after the Civil War to honor those who died in service, and over the years it has become a general day of remembrance of all the deceased.

It also traditionally marks the beginning of summer. Whether or not this means vacation time, it's the time of year when we start dreaming about getting away somewhere far from home. And for many Southern Californians, that can only mean one thing: road trip. According to a survey conducted by the Auto Club of Southern California (via L.A. Times), 84% of projected 2.4 million Southern California travelers this weekend are expected to drive more than 50-miles to their destinations. That's a lot of cars out there.

Where are all these people going? You can use the map above to see the places easily reachable by car around Los Angeles. Beware, though, that some of the sites may not exist anymore -- "Ideal Tours: California Automobile Road Map" by Albert G. Thurston was published in 1914. Back when "wagon roads" was a key that was included in the map's legend.

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Part of the Los Angeles Public Library's extensive collection, this road map portrays the area before the age of super highways, before neighborhoods like Boyle Heights were broken apart by a labyrinthine web of on and off-ramps. Automobiles were the future -- a time when L.A. can proudly boast that "The Roads in All Southern California Cities are the Best," without hearing cries for environmental concern. It's interesting to note, though, that many of these roads still exist today, pretty much the same way it was laid out almost 100 years ago.

Map Detail | Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library

Map Detail | Courtesy of the Los Angeles Public Library

Will you be going on a little road trip this weekend? Is there a particular map that you like to refer to? Let us know in the comments.

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About the Author

Yosuke Kitazawa is the Site Editor of KCET Departures.


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My wife and I will be day-tripping it Sunday to San Juan Capistrano. Driven past it too many times on my way to/from San Diego or Tijuana, so we're finally gonna stop and check it out.

PS. What a tremendous historical map!


The Los Angeles Public Library has an incredible collection of historical maps. They have a few of them on display at the downtown branch, definitely worth checking out! I hope you had a great time in SJC -- I grew up right around there, but I appreciate it more now than I did when I was a kid.