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Where we're always on the road, and it's always 1962! ™

THE ROADTRIP-'62 ™ BLOG

I'm heading down a new road, so to speak. Instead of the long articles relating a roadtrip down a complete highway, I'll now be posting much shorter articles. And the scope will be wider, covering just about everything from the year 1962. This should allow me to post more often, and allow you to have more fun reading. I'm not sure just how often I will post something, but this page will always show the five most recent articles, with the newest at the top. Older articles will be archived at the Blog Archives page. I may even include articles from other people, so if you have something to say about 1962, please let me know. Topics will cover:

  • 1962 News of the World
  • 1962 News of the Nation
  • 1962 Local News
  • 1962 in Sports
  • 1962 in Entertainment and the Arts (including movies, TV, music, art, fashion, architecture, design, books, comics, and more)
  • 1962 in Science
  • Cars of 1962
  • Consumer Products and Retail in 1962 (including just about anything you could buy, plus the stores you could buy it in)
  • On the Road in 1962 (road and roadtrip topics, including things I typically covered on my long journeys)
 
 

Fun Eats and More Along US-8 in 1962

(September 20, 2017)

A few weeks back, Roadtrip-'62 ™ looked at things that were manufactured along US-4, but today, let’s discover things that are good to eat along US-8. While US-8, is not in New England, it is another short route. This highway runs just 280 miles, mostly within Wisconsin. The western end was once extended south to Minneapolis, Minnesota before 1962, so we could have traveled there. But it was truncated in 1981 back to Forest Lake, where it also originally ended. Today it again runs from Norway, Michigan to Forest Lake, Minnesota, spending just over 2 miles in Michigan and 22 in Minnesota.

 
East end of US-8, Norway, Michigan
East end of US-8, Norway, Michigan, looking north. (Photo by Royalbroil at Wikimedia Commons. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.)

Highway US-8 is short enough to drive in one day, so I figure to have breakfast here in Norway before we head west, lunch somewhere near the middle, and dinner near the end of the road. Mike's On Main is a long-time family restaurant in Norway, that may have been here for over 50 years, though previously known as The Rialto. Though the exterior looks kind of cobbled together with poor 1970s or 1980s style pieces, the art deco decor interior is supposed to be authentic and well-preserved. Mike’s also has a small bowling alley, but that doesn’t figure into breakfast. Because I love corned beef hash and theirs is scratch made, that definitely figures into my breakfast plans. After I fill up myself, it’s time to fill up the car. In 1962, there was a small, 1930s-style Marathon station on the SW corner of where US-8 begins at US-2. It has been demolished and reconstructed as a large, modern Citgo station with a convenience store. I’ll fill up before leaving town because that’s about as close as we can usually get to finding a gas station left from 1962: at least it’s on the same property!

 
Piers Gorge, Menominee River, Norway Michigan
Piers Gorge on the Menominee River, Norway Michigan. (Photo by Deb Nystrom at Flickr, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.)

Just at the Wisconsin border as we leave town is Piers Gorge, a scenic gorge carved out by the Menominee River. The name comes from the strangest use of the word “piers” that I’ve seen: the rock ledges that the river cascades over. There are four sets of rapids over the piers and the highest, at 8 feet, is considered an actual waterfall, named Mishicot Falls. There is a parking lot and dirt pathway on the Michigan side, giving an easy way to see the rapids as you walk upstream. The first cataract is only a few minutes up, with two others following closely, but the final is a mile beyond the third falls. The first pier produces white water rapids, the second is Mishicot Falls, and the third cataract produces a long section of white water between it and Mishicot Falls. At the third pier, you also get a magnificent view of a wild roaring waterfall in the distance. That is Sand Portage Falls, the final pier, where the river flows around two large chunks of rock, creating two islands. Besides the falls, on busy tourist days such as Saturdays, you can watch rafters riding the white water through Piers Gorge, including launching over Misicot Falls!

 
Bunkhouse interior, Rhinelander Logging Museum, Rhinelander, Wisconsin, postcard
Bunkhouse interior, Rhinelander Logging Museum, Rhinelander, Wisconsin. (postcard from an online auction)

Rhinelander, Wisconsin is the Home of the Hodag, a mysterious “creature” first mentioned by timberman, land developer, and prankster Eugene Shepard in 1893. It soon became the centerpiece of the 1896 Oneida County Fair and has lived in local legend ever since. The Hodag has become more fanciful ever since and is now said to be seven feet long and covered in green fur, to have formed nearby Boom Lake when it did a cannonball dive into a puddle, to prefer a fish fry and potato pancakes to eating raw fish, and smell exactly like a pine-scented car air freshener! Reminds me of the jackalopes supposedly found out on the South Dakota prairie. You’ll see a statue of a hodag in front of the visitors’ center. But enough foolishness, lets stop at a museum. Rhinelander began as a lumbering town in the 1870s and continuing its reliance on the forests, it currently has a paper mill. Pioneer Park Historical Complex is a reproduction of an 1870s logging camp. The site was established in 1932 by the local Rhinelander Logging Museum Association and the logging camp replica building was constructed in 1954, so we could have seen it on our 1962 roadtrip. There are several buildings including loggers' living quarters, a cook's shack, and a blacksmith’s shop with lumberjack tools and more. A couple of other museum buildings on the site are a replica Civilian Conservation Corps 1930s-style camp building and the Rhinelander Schoolhouse Museum. At the 1892 Soo Line Depot, parked rail equipment includes a 1913 Soo Line caboose and the 1925 Baldwin 5 Spot train, a narrow gauge locomotive that was operated here for logging until 1941, when it was sold to someone in Mexico. It returned to the museum in a 1973 three-way trade.

After seeing the museum, let’s have lunch in Rhinelander. There is a choice of older restaurants to consider. The White Stag Inn has been here for decades and is a classic northwoods Wisconsin supper club serving basic meat, potatoes, and salads. The Rhinelander Cafe & Pub has been here since 1911, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Their lunch menu has a wide variety of sandwiches and salads. But the place that got my attention was Joe’s Pasty. Joe’s has been here since 1946 and I love pasties! These people have the entire process of making pasties well in hand. They render their own lard for the pastry crust and hand blend their own spices. If you don’t want the traditional pastry crust, they have also created a vegetarian whole wheat crust made with olive oil. Of course, they make the traditional pasty with beef and rutebaga, but they are not afraid to try new things. This is the first place I ever heard of with a sausage pizza pasty, a corned beef pasty, and a bison pasty on the menu! The hard part will be which to choose.

 
St. Croix River, Taylors Falls, Minnesota, Wisconsin
St. Croix River near Taylors Falls, Minnesota and St. Croix Falls, Wisconsin (Photo by Appraiser at Wikimedia Commons, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

After lunch we drive across the western half of Wisconsin to the St. Croix River, a tributary of the Mississippi River. That will take us a few hours at our less-than-freeway speed, and some of the float trips can take two hours, so let’s stop for ice cream before we go. It looks like our choices in St. Croix are Valley Sweets, a candy and ice cream shop, or Schoony's Malt Shop, across the bridge in Taylors Falls, Minnesota. Valley Sweets features lots of candies, including fudge. Schoony’s has pizza, brats, and other foods. Highway US-8 crosses the river at the north end of the St. Croix Dalles, an area where the river has cut a deep canyon through a stretch of basalt rock. The channel was mostly cut when glacial Lake Duluth emptied south after the last Ice Age, leaving a deep gorge. The St. Croix River is also deep beyond the visible gorge, often running 70 feet deeper under water. The bridge of US-8 was built in 1955, so we cross the same one today as we would have in 1962. The area both north and south of US-8 is within the Saint Croix National Scenic Riverway. The river is one of the original eight National Wild and Scenic Rivers established in 1968. It would be too new for our 1962 roadtrip except for the fact that the river has been here for thousands of years. It was added to the national list because the St. Croix is one of the last undisturbed, large rivers in the upper Mississippi River System. It’s a favorite for canoeing, kayaking and inner tube float trips, and I once tubed part of the St. Croix further south near Stillwater, Minnesota, but there are outfitters here. Back in 1962, you may have needed to bring your own canoe. This river has a gentle, relaxing current, so I enjoyed the wild country views from the river. And, I didn’t need to deal with whitewater rapids like the folks we saw this morning on the Menominee River!

 
Minnehaha Falls, Minnehaha Regional Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Minnehaha Falls, Minnehaha Regional Park, Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Public domain photo by Gordon Dietzman, National Park Service.)

After our float trip, it’s off to the old end of US-8 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and dinner. I found two places that seem worth at try: Matt’s Bar & Grill and Kramarczuk's East European Deli. Matt’s is not much to look at on the outside, just a typical corner bar with a Budweiser sign and fake stonework. But inside, Matt’s may be responsible for creating the local hamburger favorite, the Jucy Lucy. The bar has been here since 1954 and is now a Minneapolis landmark. They maintain that shortly after they opened, the “Jucy Lucy” was created when a customer asked for two hamburger patties with a slice of cheese in the middle. When the customer bit in, he exclaimed, “that’s one juicy Lucy. Today, it’s served with the cheese literally encased inside a hamburger patty. Matt’s says that if you see the “Jucy Lucy” spelled correctly, with an “I” in juicy, you just might be eating a ripoff. Over at Kramarczuk's, they have been cooking up Eastern European foods since 1954. The original owners came from Ukraine and brought their recipes with them in the late 1940s. Even today, every sausage, loaf of bread, every cabbage or spinach roll, and every piroshky is still made by hand from scratch for authentic flavor. Both restaurants have been featured on TV, with Matt’s on Food Wars and Man vs. Food, and Kramarczuk’s on Food Paradise and Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.

 

After dinner, what can we do in evening? First, we’ll stop at one more natural feature, Minnehaha Falls in Minnehaha Regional Park. This is one of Minneapolis' oldest and most popular parks, probably due to the 53-foot waterfall on Minnehaha Creek and the limestone bluffs and creek overlooks of the falls. The park was designed by landscape architect Horace W.S. Cleveland in 1883 as part of the local Grand Rounds Scenic Byway system. There are trails throughout the park, including down into the gorge. It is the falls that Henry Wadsworth Longfellow wrote of in his “Song of Hiawatha” in 1853. I came here years ago but won’t subject you to my poor photography. We could also go to a drive-in movie…maybe. In 1962 there was at least one open drive-in in the Minneapolis area, the Bloomington Drive-In on the south side of town, near the current I-494 freeway, but it’s long closed. The closest thing I can find today is the Vali-Hi Drive-in, which has only been around since 1966. But their 1950s-themed concessions area brings back the memories of 1962, and they serve real Armour Star hot dogs every night for just $1. Almost an old time price! I’ll give it a try and see you next time on Roadtrip-'62 ™.

 
1956 magazine ad for Armour Star Franks
1956 magazine ad for Armour Star Franks (from an online auction)

 

TV Reruns from 1962

(September 13, 2017)

Today Roadtrip-'62 ™ is honoring an old tradition in television, summer reruns. We’ve reached the end of the summer and the reruns are done, but let's take a look at what we were watching over the summer of 1962. When television began, most shows were performed live and most were never recorded. However, some shows performed on the East Coast were recorded for later broadcast, due to the time difference, on the West Coast. The television industry soon saw the economic value of re-using programming, and began to record nearly everything. Reruns cost almost 75% less than producing new programming! “I Love Lucy” is generally credited with being the first regular series to change from the format of a new-episode-each-week to the summer rerun format. In the year when Lucille Ball was pregnant, they filmed only 39 episodes per season and rebroadcast 13 of these during the summer. Not only did it allow her a rest, but viewership was lower in the summer due to vacations, outdoor activities, etc., so it did not matter too much that episodes were repeated.

 

Excerpt from “Lucy Goes to Alaska”, from the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, with Red Skelton. Originally broadcast in 1959, episodes of the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour were used as summer reruns from 1962-1965 and again in 1967.

   

So, what might we have been watching during the summer of 1962 on our on black-and-white sets? Remember; most people did not have color TVs yet. In fact, many shows were still broadcast in black-and-white. The NBC network was a leader in color broadcasts, and even they had only 68% of their prime-time programs for the 1962-1963 season in color. Well, I would have been watching cartoons, as I was only 9 years old most of the year. Favorites included old Popeye and Bugs Bunny theatrical cartoons, which were rerun on locally hosted shows such as Bozo the Clown or various captains, magicians, puppeteers, pixies, and other hosts. Like most cities then, at least one local channel showed cartoons after school. A boat captain was a popular motif for the host because most of the stations showed Popeye cartoons. If I lived near Davenport, Iowa, I would have watched Captain Vern’s Cartoon Showboat. In addition to those old reruns, current cartoon shows included Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Beany and Cecil, and Rocky and Friends.

 

Huckleberry Hound “Barbeque Hound” episode 17 from 1958–1959 season.

   

New episodes on Huckleberry Hound ended in 1961, but Yogi Bear got his own show that year, so with reruns we now had twice as many cartoons from the Hanna-Barbera studio. Beany and Cecil was a TV cartoon produced by animation legend Bob Clampett that ran from 1959-1969, though originally by the name of Matty's Funday Funnies. That show was based on Clampett’s television puppet show called Time for Beany, which ran from 1949-1954. In the original puppet show, Stan Freberg was the voice and puppeteer of both Cecil the Seasick Sea Serpent and the villain, Dishonest John. Freberg did not provide voices for the 1960s show. Rocky and Friends debuted in November 1959 and ran until 1964. The show mixed puns, cultural and topical satire, and self-referential humor, and in my opinion, it was a blast! These shows seem to be in reruns forever. For example, in the early 1980s when a new television station began broadcasting in Flint, Michigan, they ran nothing but Rocky & Bullwinkle for their entire first week on the air!

 

Shelly Fabares singing "Johnny Angel" on the Donna Reed Show, 1962.

   

Other shows that were in reruns during the summer of 1962 were variety shows The Ed Sullivan Show, The Steve Allen Show, and a Dinah Shore Show special. For drama, we had Perry Mason, Route 66, The Twilight Zone, Dr. Kildare, Naked City, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. If you were fond of westerns, you could choose from Bonanza, Cheyenne, Gunsmoke repeats retitled as Marshal Dillon, Wagon Train, and Outlaws. And if you preferred comedy, as I did as a kid, there was Leave it To Beaver, The Flintstones, Top Cat (more cartoons!), The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet, The Donna Reed Show, Father Knows Best, The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Jack Benny Program, and The Red Skelton Show.

 

Full episode of Wagon Train TV show, "The Dr. Denker Story", from January, 1962.

   

If you want to see what was NEW on television for September, 1962, check out Roadtrip-'62’s ™ front page from October, 2015. In the meantime, I’ve got more cartoon reruns to watch!


   

Baseball Highlights of 1962

(September 5, 2017)

Well, it’s September already and another baseball season is winding down. Seems like a good time for Roadtrip-'62 ™ to review what happened in the 1962 Major League Baseball season. Baseball season was one of my favorite parts of the year in 1962. It helped that it coincided with having the summer off from school. Of course I collected baseball cards, listened to the Detroit Tigers on the radio, and played baseball at the school playground. I also collected baseball cards, mostly Topps that came with bubble gum, and the cards from Post. The Post cards were printed on the backs of various Post Cereals and on Jello, and I ate a lot of both in 1962. Chewing a slab of pink bubble gum from a package of baseball cards, together with reading some comics, made for a summer afternoon that couldn’t be beat. But one comic I never ran across when I was young was “Finer Points of Baseball for Everyone”. It was a small giveaway promotional comic distributed by Hood Ice Cream, Bunny Bread, International Harvester, and other companies. The comic was published by William C. Popper & Company in several editions from 1960 to 1965. Popper also published a number of other baseball rules comics from 1960 to 1975. This would have been good to have when arguing some rules!

 
Finer Points of Baseball for Everyone comic book
Finer Points of Baseball for Everyone (Scan from Grand Comics Database.)

Baseball was much simpler back then, with only 10 teams in each of the American League and the National League for 1962. This was two more teams than existed the previous year, as both the New York Mets and the Houston Colt .45s (later renamed the Astros) were added to the National League as what was known as “expansion” teams. This was the second phase of the expansion, as two teams, the Los Angeles Angels and the Washington Senators, were added to the American League in 1961. No divisions existed and a playoff only occurred because of a tie in the National League, when both the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers finished the season with identical win–loss records of 101–61. The Giants won the series in three games and went on to the World Series.

 
Official 1962 Mets logo
Official 1962 Mets logo (from online auction)

The experience with the expansion teams was poor. The Houston Colt .45s finished the year 8th out of 10 teams in the National League. They managed a little better in pitching, finishing 7th. It’s generally thought that the 1962 New York Mets were the worst team ever in Major League Baseball, but it turns out that a few other teams were actually worse. The 1962 Mets did finish last in every area of play, from pitching, to hitting, to fielding. But discounting most years in the 1800s, when less than 150 games were played in a season, the record for the worst team belongs to the 1899 Cleveland Spiders of the National League. They won only 20 games while losing 134, for a truly horrible winning percentage of just .130! A few years later, the National League disbanded the Spiders. After that, the rankings are:

  • 1916 Philadelphia Athletics of the American League, with 36 wins and 117 losses for .235 percent.
  • 1935 Boston Braves of the National League, with 38 wins and 115 losses for .248 percent.
  • 1962 New York Mets of the National League, with 40 wins and 120 losses for .250 percent.

The closest anyone has come to that in recent years is the 2013 Houston Astros of the American League, with 51 wins and 111 losses, for a winning percentage of .315, which is still worlds better than the Mets!

 
1962 Post Cereal baseball card of Boston Red Sox’s Carl Yastrzemski
1962 Post Cereal baseball card of Boston Red Sox’s Carl Yastrzemski (from online auction)

If you’re interested in watching baseball played in a stadium that you could have visited in 1962, you don’t have many choices as there are only three remaining. The overwhelming majority of the current stadiums have been built since 1990. Fenway Park in Boston, home of the Boston Red Sox, is the oldest major league stadium still in use, having opened in 1912. It was rebuilt in 1934 and has since had some improvements and seating changes. Besides the Red Sox, the old Boston Braves played at Fenway for the 1914 and part of the 1915 season. And yes, the current Atlanta Braves trace their lineage back to Boston. It is most famous for the Green Monster, a wall in left field. Fenway Park is the fourth-smallest Major League ballpark by seating capacity, and one of only eight stadiums smaller than 40,000 spectators. Another stadium from that era, Wrigley Field in Chicago, opened in 1914 and is also still in use. Wrigley is the home of the Chicago Cubs, but originally opened as Weeghman Park for the Chicago Whales of the Federal League. That team folded the next year and the Cubs played their first home game at the park on April 20, 1916. The stadium held out for a long time with no lights, and the first night game was not played there until 1988! This stadium has also been remodeled for more seating and improved several times.

 
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California, 1962
Dodger Stadium, Los Angeles, California, 1962 (Photo courtesy of the Los Angeles Times Photographic Archive, Department of Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA. Used under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.)

The only other stadium dating from at least 1962 is Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, which was brand new that year. It is the largest Major League stadium by seat capacity. Though it was constructed completely with private funds, the City of Los Angeles provided the land at far less than market value, having used eminent domain to obtain some by condemnation for public housing that was never constructed. A public park was eliminated and an entire neighborhood was also forced out of the area. Between 1959 and 1962, eight-million cubic yards of earth and rock was moved. Palo Verde elementary school was even buried when the land was reconfigured and it sits beneath the parking lot northwest of third base. The stadium was originally designed to be expandable to 85,000 seats by adding to the upper decks over the outfield pavilions, but that expansion has never been constructed. The stadium was also designed to be earthquake-resistant and has withstood several serious California earthquakes. The Los Angeles Angels also played baseball in this park from 1962 to 1965, before moving to Anaheim.

 
Maury Wills, National League 1962 MVP, on Fleer baseball card
Maury Wills, National League Most Valuable Player for 1962 (Fleer baseball card, from Maury Wills official site.)

Some baseball highlights from 1962 included President Kennedy participating in opening day ceremonies at D.C. Stadium in Washington, DC, where the Washington Senators beat the Detroit Tigers 4-1 on April 9, 1962. If you’re interested, all the 1962 opening day lineups can be found at Baseball-Reference.com. Another highlight of the week occurred on April 13th, when the St. Louis Cardinals’ Stan Musial hit his 1,869th run, setting a new National League record. Other new records were also set this year. Los Angeles Dodgers’ shortstop Maury Wills stole 104 bases during the major league baseball season, breaking a record set by Ty Cobb 47 years ago. His efforts even included 2 steals of home plate! Many today credit Wills for reviving the stolen base as a baseball strategy. An odd record was for longest game played, set on June 24 between the Detroit Tigers and the New York Yankees. Their 22-inning game lasted seven hours, with the Yankees finally winning 9 to 7. This was also the first year for the National League to play a 162 game schedule; the American League had begun that schedule the previous year. Home run kings in 1962 were Harmon Killebrew, of the American League’s Minnesota Twins, with 48 home runs, and Willie Mays, of the National League’s San Francisco Giants, with 49. Leading Pitchers for the year were Hank Aguirre, of the American League’s Detroit Tigers, with an ERA of 2.21, and Sandy Koufax, of the National League’s Los Angeles Dodgers, with 2.54.

 
New York Yankee players Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Whitey Ford in 1962 ad for Big Yank Slacks
1962 ad for Big Yank Slacks featuring New York Yankee players Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Whitey Ford. (from online auction)

Just like today, sports stars were celebrities. Because of the large New York City media market, New York Yankees players were often the biggest stars. As they had been doing for years, Yankees Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris cashed in well in 1962, with advertising endorsements and branded products. Mickey Mantle had been featured in advertising endorsements since the mid 1950s for products ranging from Wonder Bread, Cooper Tires, Kodak Film, Yoo-Hoo soft drink, Gem Razors, Post Cereals, and two different cigarette brands (Viceroy and Camel)! You could also read Mickey Mantle’s Baseball magazine, along with the more generic baseball magazines Dell Sports Baseball, Baseball Monthly, and Major League Baseball. Mickey was also featured on the cover of the March issue of Holiday Inn Magazine, as he owned one of the motels.

Roger Maris also endorsed many products, including Aqua Velva shave conditioner, Camel Cigarettes, and Gold Mine Icicle frozen treats. His name was also licensed for two different baseball games introduced in 1962: Roger Maris Action Baseball by Pressman and Roger Maris Baseball Game by Play-Rite Games. The more generic Electric Baseball was also introduced by Tudor Sports Classics in 1962. And Mickey and Roger teamed up with fellow Yankee Whitey Ford in advertising Big Yank slacks during 1962.

 
1962 World Series official program cover
1962 World Series official program cover. (From abbasj812 on Flickr, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.)
 

As I write this, the World Series is only a month away, so let’s take a Roadtrip-'62 ™ look at the host cities for the 1962 series: New York, New York and San Francisco, California. The first two games were played at Candlestick Park, San Francisco, then the teams went to Yankee Stadium in New York for three games. They finished with the final two games back in San Francisco. Both cities had rain that delayed games, so the series took 13 days to play just 7 games. Neither team ever won two games in a row; they see-sawed the entire series. To get to the series, the San Francisco Giants had won their first National League pennant since moving out of New York in 1958. On the other hand, the New York Yankees had played in eight out of the ten World Series held in the 1950s, and started off the new decade looking like they would continue to dominate baseball, having played again in 1961. Future Hall of Fame members played for both teams and even one umpire, Al Barlick, was later elected to the Hall! Enjoy some highlights and I’ll see you here next week.

 

Highlights of Game 7 of the 1962 World Series between the New York Yankees and the San Francisco Giants.

 
 

More New England Roadtrips

(August 8, 2017)

This week Roadtrip-'62 ™ will do something different. Instead of a single highway, I’ll take a brief look at a trio of US-numbered routes. The remaining odd-numbered routes in New England all begin at the Canadian border and travel south as far as they can before hitting the Atlantic Ocean coast. They vary in length because the farther west you are, the farther it is to the coast. Route US-5 runs from Derby Line, Vermont, at the Canadian border, to New Haven, Connecticut. It's a short route, 300 miles, traversing only three states: Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Vermont. US-5 stays very close to the Connecticut River for most of its route. Highway US-7 originally ran from the Canadian border south through Vermont and Massachusetts, and ended at Norwalk, Connecticut, on Long Island Sound. Today, it traverses 308 miles because the north end was shortened by about 4 miles by the I-89 freeway in the 1970s, so that US-7 no longer reaches the Canadian border. Finally, US-9 runs 492 miles from Champlain, New York to Laurel, Delaware, passing right through New York City. It is one of only two US-numbered highways with a ferry connection. You have to take a ferry across Delaware Bay between Cape May, New Jersey and Lewes, Delaware to complete the route. In 1962, US-9 ended in Cape May as the ferry service was not opened until 1964. The ferry and travel in Lewes makes the route about 29 miles longer today. It also used to continue to the Canadian border, but now ends at an I-87 freeway interchange about a mile south.

 
Charter Oak Bridge, US-5, Connecticut River, East Hartford, Connecticut postcard
Former Charter Oak Bridge on US-5, crossing Connecticut River at East Hartford, Connecticut. (postcard from an online auction)

As US-5 begins up near the Vermont-Quebec border, you might have a chance of seeing North America’s version of the Loch Ness Monster, Memphre. Reports of danger in Lake Memphremagog date back to at least the 18th century, when Native Americans warned Europeans of swimming in the lake. The mysterious creature has officially been named Memphre, and has supposedly been spotted more than 200 times over the years. It’s more often seen in the town of Magog, on the Quebec, Canada side of the lake, where they have even named a café in town. The lake lies in both Quebec and Vermont and is mostly in Quebec, though most of the watershed that feeds the lake is located in Vermont. Its maximum recorded depth is 351 feet, making it the third deepest in Vermont. The 45th parallel lies halfway between the North Pole and the Equator and the idea that strange things happen along the 45th parallel is a common refrain among bigfoot and UFO hunters. Memphre is a long-necked lake monster much like the Loch Ness Monster. If it exists, it may be related to Champ, a similar monster reported to live in nearby Lake Champlain, between New York, Vermont and Quebec. Regardless of whether you see Memphre, if you visit in the fall you will see gorgeous color with the nearby hills backing up the lake.

As I mentioned above, US-5 stays very close to the Connecticut River for most of its route. It crosses our US-6 roadtrip at East Hartford, Connecticut. At this point it also crosses the Connecticut River from East Hartford to Hartford on the Charter Oak Bridge. The original four-lane bridge at this point was opened in 1942. We could have crossed it in 1962, but the bridge was demolished and replaced by dual structures in 1991. We would have needed to pay a toll in 1962, but the new bridge is free. The old Charter Oak Bridge was the longest steel-plate girder bridge in the world when new. It was lucky it had such a long life, as it was supported by just two parallel girders, meaning a failure of either one would have closed the whole bridge. The new bridge has redundancy built in with multiple girders. All that remains of the old bridge are its four decorative iron medallions, which were placed on the new US-5 bridge. You can see a couple of these in this old postcard view.

 
Vermont maple candies
Vermont maple candies (promotional photo from a Vermont maple sugar seller)

About a half hour south of Burlington, Vermont, in the tiny town of Ferrisburg, a trip on US-7 finds find what Vermont is all about, maple syrup. Our stop is the Original Dakin Farm Maple Market, which has been here since 1960 when Sam Cutting III bought a farm that had been around since 1792. His small roadside stand has blossomed into much larger store and an internet business, so you can enjoy maple syrup products shipped right to your door. But we’ll stop into the store at the Dakin Farm. Besides maple syrup and other maple goodies, the store also sells corn cob smoked hams and bacon, made in their own smokehouse. And they have cheeses from Cabot Creamery, which has been in business since 1919. My favorite maple treat is maple cream candies, made by boiling down Pure Vermont Maple Syrup to a creamy, crystallized consistency, then pouring it in candy molds just before it sets up. You can always find it in maple leaf shape, large and small, but sometimes in other shapes like acorns, shells, other leaves, or hearts just for the fun of it. My brothers and I would argue about who got which shapes when we used to take roadtrips around 1962.

Farther south, at Arlington, Vermont, you can visit the Norman Rockwell Museum. The museum holds a chronological display of more than 2,500 pieces of Rockwell’s are, including magazine covers, advertisements, paintings, and other published works. Norman Rockwell lived and worked in Arlington from 1939 to 1953. Though the museum was only established in 1976, we would have seen his art in 1962 in such places as this cover of the Saturday Evening Post. Even farther south, US-7 crosses our US-6 journey at Danbury, Connecticut. Very little of the route has been replaced by freeways, so you can make a good, old-fashioned roadtrip of US-7. The north end of US-7 was originally outside Highgate Springs, Vermont, at the Canada border. However, the northernmost segment was paved over when the I-89 freeway was built, so US-7 now ends at the northernmost interchange on I-89.

 
Cover of January 13, 1962 Saturday Evening Post, Norman Rockwell art
Cover of January 13, 1962 Saturday Evening Post featuring Norman Rockwell art. (photo from an online auction)

In the 1940s, US-9, US-11, and US-2 all ended at the same border crossing in Rouses Point, New York! That was sorted out before 1962. Highway US-9 begins near Lake Champlain and travels along its westside while US-7 travels the east side. Then, US-9 closely follows the Hudson River for much of its length. From Albany, New York south to Fort Lee, New Jersey, US-9 in on the east bank while US-9W is on the west bank. Both cross our US-6 roadtrip near Peekskill, New York. The route has some strange route signs in northeast New Jersey and a small section of southern New York. Instead of posting normal US-1 and US-9 signs, “US 1 – 9” signs are used. The highway is known locally as "one and nine" or "one-nine". In another oddity is that the Delaware portion is signed east-west instead of the north-south signing used by the rest of the route.

Along the Hudson River portion are many historic homes, such as Sunnyside, at Tarrytown, New York. Sunnyside was the home of early American author Washington Irving, best known for his short stories "Rip Van Winkle" and "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”, both published around 1820. The house was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1962 and is now operated as a museum by Historic Hudson Valley. It contains many of Irving's original furnishings and accessories, especially in his writer's study. The guides are dressed elegantly in hoop skirts or formal dress clothes of Irving’s times.

 
Living Room, Springwood, Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, New York
Living Room at Springwood, Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, New York. (Public domain photo for the National Park Service by Jean-Marc Bara.)

Another of the historic homes is the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site. This site preserves the former President’s Springwood estate in Hyde Park, New York. Franklin D. Roosevelt was born here on the family estate and when he married Eleanor Roosevelt in 1905, they moved in with his mother. Franklin and his mother made a final enlargement and remodeling of the house in 1915 to accommodate his growing family (five children) and his needs to entertain political associates. During his presidency, from 1933 until his death in 1945, Franklin made almost 200 visits to Springwood. He also built and visited a smaller home of his own on the estate, Top Cottage, to be separate from his mother. As President, the main estate functioned as a "Summer White House" where the President hosted political associates and other prominent national and international figures. In 1943, before he died, Roosevelt donated the estate to the American people under the condition that his family would maintain a lifetime right to use the property. After he died, the family relinquished their rights and the estate was transferred to the US Department of the Interior. The National Park Service has maintained it as a National Historic Site open to the public since then. Franklin D. Rooselvelt is buried near the sundial in the Rose Garden and his wife Eleanor was buried at his side after her death in 1962.

John D. Rockefeller, the businessman who built the Standard Oil Company into a monopoly by 1911, also had a home along the Hudson River. The home, Kykuit, was mostly conceived by his son John D. Rockefeller, Jr. It has been home to four generations of the family and was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1976. Though now open for tours, it would not have been in 1962. Even today, the estate is the site of about ten homes for various Rockefeller families. But US-9 has another Rockefeller property that we could have visited in 1962!

     
Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, New York, 1970
Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, New York, 1970 (Photo by Phillip Capper at Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.)

Though it’s not Christmas, US-9 has a Christmas connection: the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree. Every year since 1933 a giant tree has been erected in Rockefeller Center in New York City. And although US-9 does not pass by the tree, it does come within 5 miles of it, which is within the Roadtrip-'62 ™ distance limit for tourist attractions! It would make a great stop either today or in 1962 if we were traveling US-9. The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree is usually a Norway Spruce, which have a full shape that looks great in big trees, though it has also been a white spruce. And big it is: usually over 65 feet tall and sometimes up to 100 feet! For 2013, it was a 76-foot-tall Norway Spruce. The oldest useable photo I found shows a focus on the design of the decorations, whereas more recent years have seen the tree as a blaze of lights. The angels shown here were also used in 2013. The tree sits right in front of the ice skating rink, so we could stay awhile and enjoy that too. Now I can’t wait for Christmas: maybe I’ll get some maple candies in my stocking!

   

All photos by the author and Copyright © 2017 - Milne Enterprises, Inc., except as noted.

All other content Copyright © 2017 - Milne Enterprises, Inc.

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What's the weather in 1962?

Weather on February 22, 1962 for Adrian, MI, from the National Climatic Data Center:

  • Low = 30°F
  • High = 38°F
  • Precipitation = no data
  • Mean Wind Speed = 13mph

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Smokey Bear is the longest running public service ad campaign in Ad Council history, running since 1944. At the beginning, Walt Disney loaned Bambi for use on a poster for one year, but that image proved so popular that it is still being used. The original message was slightly different, as "Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires." I hope you enjoy this ad, similar to what you might have seen in 1962, and heed Smokey's message.

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