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)
- More Fun From 1962! (everything else that sounds like fun, like special events and more pop culture)
News of November 17, 1962
November 17, 2020
Instead of going out on the road today, Roadtrip-'62 ™ reports some of the news headlines from the United States of November 17, 1962. This day was a Saturday, so as a kid I would have been watching cartoons in the morning and playing in the afternoon, and not have been aware of the news. The calendar for 1962 was last the same in 2018 and will next be the same as 1962 in the year 2029! You can find a lot of calendars and view the entire year on the Calendars of 1962 page.
President John F. Kennedy dedicated the brand new Dulles International Airport today. The need for a second airport near the capital was identified shortly after the end of World War II and Congress passed the Washington Airport Act in 1950, and amended it in 1958, to provide for construction. The site is 26 miles from Washington, D.C. and was the first airport in the country to be designed specifically for commercial jets. Construction began in September 1958. Architect Eero Saarinen wanted to create something more than just another airport, by expressing "the soul of the airport." He designed the Terminal Building and the control tower in that spirit and declared it was the best thing he had ever done. The airport was named after the late US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles. A unique feature was the specially-designed Mobile Lounges. These somewhat bus-like vehicles were designed by the Chrysler Corporation in association with the Budd Company, were 54-feet long, and capable of carrying 102 passengers, 71 of them seated. At the terminal, you would board the Mobile Lounge and it would take you directly to your aircraft protected from weather, jet noise and blast, all without walking long walking distances.
President John F. Kennedy’s Remarks at the Dedication of Dulles International Airport, November 17, 1962.
Also on this day, Arthur Vining Davis died at age 95. He was known as the third-richest person in the world at the time, with assets of $400 million (comparable to $3.2 billion in 2017). He had acquired his fortune as the CEO and chairman of the Aluminum Company of America (Alcoa). Even today, we see the effects of his money, as he left the majority to several trusts. The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations he had established in 1952 continue to provide financial assistance to educational, religious, cultural, and scientific institutions. If you watch anything on the PBS network, you have undoubtedly heard opening credits state that some of the funding comes from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundation.
Looking over headlines from the Jackson Advocate newspaper of Jackson, Mississippi, it appears that 1962 was a good year for the movement of black people into mainstream political positions. The newspaper is known as “The Voice of Black Mississippians”, has been published since 1938, and is still in business. It is Mississippi’s oldest continuously published member of the nation’s black press. Headlines for November 17, 1962 include: “Negro Congressman Elected in California”, “Negro Elected to Michigan Supreme Court”, “Negro Elected Massachusetts Attorney General,” “Negro Elected State Treasurer of Connecticut.” These refer to the following elections. Augustus F. Hawkins in California, where he served 56 years in both the California Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives. He was the first black politician west of the Mississippi River elected to the House. Also, the election of Justice Otis M. Smith, who was first appointed to the Michigan Supreme Court in 1961 and had just won re-election. He was the first black justice on any state supreme court since reconstruction. Also, Edward Brooke became the first African-American to be elected attorney general of any state. In 1966, he became the first African-American popularly to be elected to the United States Senate, where he represented Massachusetts in the Senate from 1967 to 1979. And finally, Gerald A. Lamb was elected Connecticut State Treasurer and served from 1963 through 1970.
Though a nuclear bomb test occurred in Semipalitinsk, Soviet Union this day and not in the United States, tests were major news here anyway. It had been less than two weeks since the Soviet Union had agreed to remove their nuclear missiles from Cuba, and confirmation would not be announced by the United States until November 20th. Semipalitinsk, in Eastern Kazakhstan, was the primary testing site for the Soviet Union's nuclear weapons. The Soviet Union conducted 456 nuclear tests at Semipalatinsk between 1949 and 1989 and closed the site in 1991.
Much bigger news was the FBI’s foiling of a bombing plot in New York City. Three Cuban agents: Suero, Garcia, and Santiesteban were apprehended just about a week before their planned attack on Macy’s, Gimbels, and Bloomingdale’s department stores and Manhattan’s Grand Central Station. The blasts were to involve 500 kilos of TNT, which is five times the amount used in 2004 by al Qaeda’s 10-location attack on the Madrid, Spain subway system! The plan was to have the bombs explode on the day after Thanksgiving, when the biggest department stores on earth would be packed with shoppers on the year’s biggest shopping day. Macy’s got 50,000 shoppers that day. The conspirators were members of the Cuban mission to the United Nations working in concert with members of the Fair Play For Cuba Committee, an outfit that became much better known a year later when member Lee Harvey Oswald assassinated President Kennedy. Some analysts believe the plot was hatched because the Soviet Union had decided to remove their nuclear missiles from Cuba, and that Cuba’s plans to attack the United States were actually a bigger factor in Khrushchev's decision to remove the missiles than President Kennedy's naval blockade. After all, Cuban leader Che Guevara told the London Daily Worker, “If the missiles had remained, we would have shot them against the very heart of the U.S., including New York City.”
"Big Girls Don't Cry" by The Four Seasons, 1962
In entertainment news, the number one song in the US on November 17, 1962 was "Big Girls Don't Cry" by The Four Seasons. Bill Anderson had the number one country song with “Mama Sang a Song”. It was both football and basketball season in November. The Alabama Crimson Tide lost a game to the Georgia Tech Yellowjackets 7–6. Though Alabama was the #1 ranked college football team, this loss brought an end to a 19-game winning streak. And the Los Angeles Lakers squeaked out a win over the Chicago Zephyrs, 110-109. I hope you’re enjoying 1962: next week Roadtrip-'62 ™ will get back on the road for more fun!
5 Roadtrip Highlights Along US-29
October 21, 2020
This week we look at highway US-29. This route runs about 1,036 miles today, from Ellicott City, Maryland, a western suburb of Baltimore, to Pensacola, Florida. This is the same route it had in 1962. Strangely, the portion from Ellicott City to Culpeper, Virgina was intended to only be temporary when it was extended in 1933. At the time, it was expected that US-29 would eventually end up on a by-pass around Washington and Baltimore and then probably be extended via Philadelphia to New York City. Instead, the road still goes right through the historic center of Washington, D.C., where US-29 crosses the Potomac River on the Francis Scott Key Bridge. This beautiful concrete arch bridge was completed in 1923 and is Washington's oldest surviving bridge across the Potomac River. Farther south, quite a bit of US-29 now parallels the I-85 freeway between Greensborough, North Carolina and Greenville, South Carolina and from Atlanta, Georgia to Tuskegee, Alabama. Otherwise, you can drive pretty much the same route as in 1962.
My first recommendation to visit on this five-site road trip is the B&O Railroad Museum, right near the highway’s beginning in Ellicott City, Maryland. The museum opened in 1953 and was originally named the Baltimore & Ohio Transportation Museum. As with most museums, it has expanded and rebuilt over the years so I’m certain we can see much more today then back in 1962. The museum is located in the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad's old Mount Clare Station and adjacent roundhouse. These date to 1829, making the complex the oldest railroad manufacturing site in the United States. It is also the site of the first regular railroad passenger service in the country, in 1830, and the first telegraph message, by inventor Samuel F. B. Morse in 1844. The railroad equipment and artifacts here span the entire history of railroading, with 250 pieces of railroad rolling stock, 15,000 artifacts, four 19th-century buildings, and even a mile of railroad track. They offer train rides on that track, and also display both an outdoor G-scale model railroad layout and an indoor HO scale model. The museum and station were designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1961.
The last time I visited Washington, D.C., I toured all the usual tourist sites, both new and places we could have seen in 1962. One of my favorites was the Library of Congress. I love books, maps and libraries in general and the Thomas Jefferson Building of the Library is the grandest I’ve seen. The ornamentation, artwork, and sculpture keeps you looking in every direction as you tour the building. A number of historical exhibits complement the building and it is therefore also a museum. When I visited, there was an exhibit of historical maps and an exhibit on Bob Hope, giving a bit of a 1962 connection through photos. There are also tours of the other two buildings, the James Madison and John Adams Buildings. The James Madison Building is too new for our Roadtrip-’62, as it was only opened in 1980. If you can’t make it to Washington, there is even an online tour of the Thomas Jefferson Building. If you’re interested in other sites, you might try The White House. Tours were offered in 1962 and are again available, but only by reservation today. And more of Washington is covered at my road trip overview of highway US-1.
More history of our government is just down the road in Charlottesville, Virginia, the home of Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello. Built on a family plantation, Monticello was Jefferson’s home beginning in 1770, while it was only partly completed. He continually redesigned and rebuilt the home for more than forty years, from 1769 through 1809. From 1784 to 1789 he moved to Paris, France as the United States Minister Plenipotentiary for Negotiating Treaties. When he returned, he continued to live here until he became the third president of the United States, from 1801 to 1809. The house we see today still contains about 60 percent items that may be original to Thomas Jefferson. Other items are period pieces or reproductions. The original pieces had to be reunited with the house, as they had been sold off to pay debts upon Jefferson’s death. The house itself was sold several times until donated to the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns Monticello today, in 1923. The Uriah P. Levy family owned and preserved the home for many of the years between. My favorite rooms are the library and the service corridor under the house. Jefferson’s own bed chamber, with silk curtains, marble-topped tables, and armchairs brought from his house in Paris, is also an interesting room.
Route US-29 crosses our US-23 trip in Atlanta, Georgia. I cover a lot of tourist sites in two pages about Atlanta, so I won’t repeat here. Breezing through Georgia and Alabama, we find the Conecuh National Forest, near Dixie, Alabama. Except for crossing a tiny corner of the Tuskegee National Forest, also in Alabama, this is the only National Forest on US-29. Conecuh National Forest was created in 1936 after the area was clear-cut for lumber. It was reforested with slash pine, which created a different type of forest than the native longleaf pine that was lumbered off. Species such as the red-cockaded woodpecker were nearly wiped out, but are now on the rise as the area is reforested with longleaf pine. There are still two forest lookout towers standing in the National Forest here, built about 1938. The main stop for tourists is Open Pond Recreation Area, with facilities also built about 1938. A picnic shelter, fishing piers, and trails are here around a small, natural sinkhole lake. The south loop of the Conecuh Trail leads to Blue Springs, a large natural spring of clear blue water.
Pensacola, Florida is the end of US-29, downtown at US-98. The city is nicknamed "The City of Five Flags", because five governments have ruled it during its history: Spain (Castile), France, Great Britain, the United States of America, and the Confederate States of America. Pensacola Bay has been a desireable ocean harbor since the Spanish arrived in 1559. Fort San Carlos de Barrancas was built by Spanish forces in 1797. It was later rebuilt after United States forces took the area, and Pensacola Navy Yard was added in 1825. The first Pensacola Lighthouse was built the year before and the current light in 1859. Today the fort and lighthouse are open to the public but they were not in 1962. The US Army deactived it after World War II but it was not transferred to the National Park Service until 1971. After extensive restoration, Fort Barrancas was opened to the public 10 years later. The Navy Yard was eventually renamed Pensacola Naval Air Station and today it is the base of the Blue Angels flight demonstration team (the United States Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron) and the National Naval Aviation Museum. You can sometimes see the squadron practicing overhead! The National Naval Aviation Museum is the world’s largest Naval Aviation museum. First proposed in 1955 by Captain Magruder H. Tuttle, the project was finally approved on December 14, 1962. Opened in 1963, it has been expanded many times and now encompasses 350,000 square feet of exhibit space and 37-acres of grounds. There are more than 150 beautifully restored aircraft representing Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Aviation, along with uniforms, flight gear, weaponry, medals and decorations.
In 1962, the city advertised the Pensacola Beach Pier as “The World’s Longest Fishing Pier”. This 1,471 feet long pier is conveniently located on Casino Beach near entertainment and restaurants. If you do not arrive with fishing equipment, you can rent everything from fishing rods and baits down to coolers. During the summer might catch Bluefish, Pompano, Redfish, Spanish Mackeral, spotted Seatrout, or even Flounder, Cobia, or Tarpon. I’ll just enjoy a walk along the pier to try to catch a glimpse of manatees, cow rays, dolphins or other sea creatures. As the city is frequently subject to hurricane damage, I’ll also keep my ear on a radio, ready to take a quick Roadtrip-'62 ™ out of here if one threatens.
Polio, Measles, Influenza, and More – 1962 Had More Problems than a COVID Epidemic
September 8, 2020
So 2020 is the year of the Coronavirus, but 1962 had its share of virus problems too. Roadtrip-'62 ™ will take a look at them, ranging from the most dangerous, polio, to chicken pox. New viruses were being discovered and studied by electron microscopy in the early 1960s, but there was no way to classify them for study. Several scientists suggested a comprehensive scheme for classifying all viruses in 1962, based on the long-accepted system of classifying plants and animals. This resulted in viruses being classified by family, genus, and species, giving us groupings such as coronaviruses, rhinoviruses, and enteroviruses.
The development of vaccines is one of the most important advancements in medicine. And a 1962 breakthrough in vaccine development is now estimated to have prevented over 4.5 billion cases of disease and saved 10 million lives. Prior to then, many cell cultures for growing vaccines had been grown in monkey cells, but these sometimes became contaminated with potentially dangerous monkey viruses. In 1962, Leonard Hayflick and Paul Moorhead isolated a clean cell strain from an aborted human fetus, which, along with its derivatives, is now the standard used in production of more than 10 disease vaccines. Interestingly, the source is one of the arguments used by anti-vaccing proponents, who largely also believe abortions are evil. It is ironic that the very people who deny protection to their children are healthy or alive today because they were vaccinated.Polio
Poliomyelitis, also called polio or infantile paralysis, is an infectious disease caused by a virus that can result in paralysis or death. It primarily strikes children. During the 1950s, approximately 38,000 cases were reported in the United States each year. Dr. James Luby, who was an infectious diseases specialist and professor at UT Southwestern, noted that, “Polio was the biggest public health problem in the United States at midcentury. It was fortunate that the vaccine came along in 1955.” That year, Dr. Jonas Salk developed a dead polio virus that could be used to vaccinate people and vaccinations began immediately. A few years later, in 1961, Dr. Albert Sabin developed an oral version, using a live virus weakened in the laboratory, that proved more effective, easier to administer, and provided longer-lasting immunization. Again, vaccinations began immediately but on an even larger scale. The method of administering the oral vaccine helped ensure its success, especially with children, as it was dripped onto sugar cubes that were swallowed. In the Cleveland, Ohio area, approximately 1.5 million people received the vaccine.
Perhaps the most massive vaccination campaign in the country in 1962 was in the Dallas, Texas area. Dallas County determined to get every man, woman and child the necessary doses in one sweeping effort by using area schools and calling the people in at once. The mass immunizations were scheduled for two summer Sundays in a row so that those who couldn’t make it the first Sunday had another chance. It was a peacetime mobilization that required a mutual trust among government officials, the public and the medical community of a kind we could never see today. Over 4,500 people volunteered to help organize things! At least 500 cars on loan from new car dealers cruised Dallas neighborhoods to give free rides to the vaccination sites! The event was amazingly successful: out of a population of nearly 1 million in Dallas County, 590,000 residents received vaccine on the first Sunday, with a final number of around 950,000! I strongly suspect that if we get a vaccine in 2020 or 2021 for COVID-19, we will not be anywhere near as successful. The disease virtually disappeared here by 1979 and today, polio is one of the routine immunizations given to children in the United States.
And after similar massive efforts in Nigeria and Somalia, in August 2020, the entire continent of Africa was declared free of wild cases of polio! The vaccination campaign in Nigeria involved a heroic effort to reach remote places. In places under threat from militant violence, some health workers were even killed in the process. Only Afghanistan and Pakistan still suffer from natural polio cases.Measles
Measles was still a real concern as a health problem for children in 1962. My whole family of 6 kids had various strains of measles in the years around 1962, though fortunately without any long-term consequence. But from 1958 to 1962, the US averaged 432 deaths associated with measles each year, so it could be a serious disease. And virtually all children acquired measles at that time, so the number of measles cases is estimated to have been 3.5 to 5 million per year. The low number of deaths was a result of antibiotics to treat complications, modern sanitation methods, and improved nutrition, compared to earlier times. In Hawaii, their first outbreak in 1848 killed up to a third of the population! By 1958, a live virus measles vaccine was tested, but the virus in the vaccine wasn’t weak enough. Most children developed high fevers and rashes similar to mild measles. Researchers came up with a way to grow the vaccine safely in eggs and administer the vaccine with a simultaneous shot of measles antibodies. This reduced side effects and the new vaccine was licensed by the FDA in March, 1963.
Though measles was finally eliminated in 2000, meeting the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) definition of an absence of continuous transmission for 12 months or more, it has since experienced a small resurgence. In 2019, the CDC reported 69 cases; the highest since 1994, when 958 cases were reported. They believe the current anti-vaccing sentiments among parts of the public are a significant factor contributing to the outbreaks. HHS Secretary Alex Azar notes, "The suffering we are seeing is avoidable. The measles vaccines are among the most extensively studied medical products we have, and their safety has been firmly established over many years in some of the largest vaccine studies ever undertaken."Rubella
This disease is also known as German Measles and it was particularly dangerous to unborn babies. From 1962 to 1965, a global pandemic wreaked havoc on fetuses, causing miscarriages and birth defects. Work on a vaccine was in progress, but one would not become available until 1969. Congenital rubella syndrome is contracted when the pregnant woman has rubella and it causes deafness, blindness, heart conditions, intellectual impairment, and even miscarriages for up to 85 percent of babies with the syndrome. Though the fear of rubella has largely faded from public memory, the recent zika virus has had a similar impact in areas where it is a problem. The zika virus appears to cause microcephaly, a birth defect where a baby is born with an abnormally small head and is often disabled. There is no vaccine for Zika and researchers believe it may take up to a decade to create one.Smallpox
Though the last smallpox cases in Canada and the US were seen in the 1940s, an outbreak nearly occurred in 1962. In mid-August, a family returned from Brazil to Toronto, Canada and their 14-year old boy felt ill and had developed the first characteristic pockmarks of smallpox on his face. Three days later a diagnosis of smallpox was confirmed and a desperate effort to prevent a potential smallpox epidemic began. An international effort to track down and vaccinate all of Jimmie’s possible contacts was undertaken. Other countries realized the danger due to this and other events. Wales, Great Britain suffered an outbreak that saw 19 people die when a traveler from Pakistan was diagnosed with smallpox in 1962. They vaccinated 900,000 that year and Ireland decided to do the same, using local druggists to perform the task. The rest of the world soon stepped up efforts and the World Health Organization oversaw an intensive vaccination plan to eradicate smallpox. The last natural case occured in Somalia in 1977. Smallpox was declared eradicated from nature in 1980.Chicken Pox
I had chicken pox, probably a couple of years before 1962. There was no vaccine for this either in 1962, as it is made in cells replicated from the lungs of a fetus aborted in London in 1966. As I had mentioned previously, many vaccines are grown on cells replicated from aborted fetuses. The only vaccine for rubella is made from replicated cells from the lungs of a fetus aborted in Sweden in 1962. The chickenpox vaccine has been widely available since 1995, and the death rate of chicken pox and its related disease shingles has dropped 94 percent. Also as I mentioned previously, this source is one of the arguments used by anti-vaccing proponents, who largely also believe abortions are evil. Partly as a consequence of this, chicken pox is making a comeback in the United States. In 2020, an outbreak raged through a Catholic school in Kentucky, infecting over 30 students.Mumps
Cases of mumps have dropped by 99% in the United States since the introduction of a vaccine in 1967. Though I had both chicken pox and measles, I never had mumps as a kid. The disease usually has mild symptoms of a low-grade fever and respiratory problems. Its most obvious symptom, a swelling of the salivary glands below the ear, is only present in about 30-40% of cases. Unlike measles and rubella, however, mumps has not been eliminated in the United States. Recent large outbreaks have occurred among college students in 2006 and in a tradition-observant Jewish community in 2009. Since 1971, the mumps vaccine is administered in combination with measles and rubella vaccines as the MMR vaccine. The rubella component was changed in 1979, but in the United States the other components have remained the same since 1971.Enterovirus
Enterovirus was discovered in 1962 in four children in California. It produces rather mundane symptoms of fever, coughing and sneezing, as well as body and muscle aches. It also occasionally has more serious symptoms such as difficulty breathing. But it is related to polio and known for its tendency to affect children and teenagers. Because it largely disappeared without doing much damage, no vaccine was developed. However, enterovirus bounced back in 2014, killing four people in the United States. Another 38 cases were recorded in the United Kingdom. This and the slide above show that viruses can hang around in the environment for a long time and perhaps we should monitor them more closely. One wonders what the current COVID situation would look like if China would have been more careful, and what future problems we are ignoring now.Influenza
First, just what is influenza, or the flu? We have traditionally used the name for several different and even unrelated afflictions. Influenza is a respiratory infection that causes symptoms similar to, but more severe than, the common cold. Flu symptoms can include fever, cough, runny or stuffy nose and severe malaise. Probably because the flu can also sometimes cause vomiting, diarrhea and nausea, we often confuse it with a stomach or intestinal disease. Most people recover from influenza within 2 weeks without medical treatment, but sometimes causes serious complications, including pneumonia, bronchitis and sinus and ear infections. During recent years in the United States, between 12,000 and 56,000 people have died annually from the flu and its complications, particularly pneumonia, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Actually, the CDC and many states bundle disease statistics for the flu together with pneumonia because the clinical diagnosis of influenza on an individual basis is often difficult. This makes it difficult to determine just how dangerous the flu is.
Researchers first isolated the virus that causes flu from pigs in 1931, and from humans in 1933. Four types of the virus exist: A and B, which are responsible for seasonal flu epidemics in people; C, which is relatively rare, causes a mild respiratory illness, and is not thought to cause epidemics; and D, which primarily infects cattle and isn’t known to affect people. Influenza A virus also infects birds, swine, horses, and other animals, giving rise to the names popular for flue epidemics in recent years such as Swine Flu and Avian Flu. Influenza is a constantly evolving virus, mutating the properties of its H and N antigens. Due to these changes, acquiring immunity to a subtype such as H1N1 one year will not necessarily mean a person is immune to a slightly different virus in later years. This changing nature has made vaccination difficult, as scientists “guess” what strain to produce vaccines against in any given year. Some years, the vaccine has been less than 50% effective. Also, they have begun to package several vaccines together, to protect against different virus strains at the same time. Despite a quadrivalent flu vaccine in 2012 protecting against four different strains, the effectiveness is low. The 2004–2005 vaccine was only 10 percent effective in the United States, while the 2018–2019 flu vaccine was 29 percent effective against Influenza A and B and 44 percent effective in preventing influenza A (H1N1) viruses.
If you’re interested, you can read more about Medical Progress in 1962 at this Roadtrip-'62 ™ page. I’m not waiting around for a COVID vaccine but will be back on the road next week. That’s the real road, not the virtual road! This review has shown me that things were far worse in the past, but note that people still traveled and businesses did not shut down. Given the variety of viruses and history of vaccines, at some point you just have to take your chances. I hope you all stay well, whether you travel or stay home!
US-28 (US-126) – A Scenic Road Trip through the Cascade Range
August 25, 2020
This week, Roadtrip-'62 ™ travels along US-28, a number that was already gone by 1962! When it did exist, it was only 462 miles long and located completely in Oregon. It followed what is now US-26 about halfway across Oregon, from Ontario to Prineville. We already covered that section from Ontario to Prineville as US-26. From Prineville to Eugene, it was already renumbered US-126 by 1962. Even that number was eliminated in 1972 and that portion is now OR-126. But let’s take a look at that final 131 miles as it existed as US-126 in 1962.
That 131 miles mostly travels across the Cascade Range of mountains and as such is very scenic. Leaving Prineville, we immediately pass Ochoco Wayside State Park, which includes the Ochoco View Point, giving panoramic views of the area from a rock hill. We’re still in the dry country here, with no mountains in sight, but we begin climbing soon after. As we get higher, we pass through some farm country around the settlement of Powell Butte. We continue climbing through ranch pasturelands on the way to Redmond, Oregon. The Redmond area sits on some ancient lava flows from volcanic mountains in the nearby Cascade Range. Redmond Caves Recreation Area is a great introduction to the lava and the caves it has left behind. There are five caves where you can learn about geology, wildlife and past human use over the last 6,000 years. During the 1960s, the caves were considered for fallout shelters! The three largest caves were reviewed and rated to have a capacity up to 450 people. These caves are part of the large Horse Lava Tube System and extend south to near the city of Bend. Overall, there are 122 known caves in the system with one having a walkable length of nearly 4,000 feet.
Highway US-126 continues westerly through the high desert and range, where you might see a truck hauling hay in front of you. The first foothills of the mountains loom in the distance, and we’ll get there soon. First, we’ll stop at Cline Falls State Park, which is strangely NOT at the falls. The park is south of US-126 and was originally bought by the Highway Commission in 1936 for a gravel pit, but the falls are a short distance north of the highway, not even within the park boundary. However, you can see the Deschutes River as it descends through some small rapids and pools around some very large boulders. The scenery changes little as we roll into Sisters, Oregon, a city founded on lumbering the pine forests of the nearby hills. Driving through in 1962 we would have been near the end of the lumbering, as the last sawmill closed in 1963 and was soon dismantled. At the east edge of town is Sisters State Park, which was established in 1939. It is mostly open conifer forest: a large stand of old-growth Ponderosa pine. It’s a small park split by the highway but adjacent to two city parks and connected by a covered walking bridge. Sisters is also a great place to stop for ice cream, at the Sno Cap Drive In. Sno Cap was opened in 1952 and makes old fashioned milkshakes and burgers, with some flavors of ice cream made right on the premises!
At Sisters, we join US-20 and travel together to about 10 miles west of Santiam Pass. The sign at the west edge of town announces that we are now on the McKenzie Pass / Santiam Pass Oregon Scenic Byway, so we know we are getting close to the mountains. The pine tree landscape we saw as we entered town continues here and we enter the Deschutes National Forest. For my tastes, this is where the great scenery begins. Though we begin in a sparse Ponderosa pine forest, the National Forest spans a variety of landscapes, ecosystems, and elevations. The lowest point is only 1,950 feet above sea level, while the highest, at South Sister’s summit, is 10,358 feet. We will eventually cross the mountains at Santiam Pass at 4,817 feet and catch views of Mt. Washington at 7,794 feet. Deschutes National Forest has changed names and size several times over its history, starting in 1908 as parts of the Blue Mountains, Cascade, and Fremont National Forests. Though the sawmill in Sisters closed, there are plenty of logging trucks on US-126 taking the lumber longer distances to other mills.
Beautiful Suttle Lake is below us and reachable from a short side road. It has a day use beach area. We pass numerous signs pointing to wilderness hiking in the backcountry. Even nearby Elliot R. Corbett State Park is accessible only by hiking in, so it doesn’t have as many visitors as other state parks in the area. It sits above the south shore of Blue Lake, which consists of three craters overlapping each other. The park was acquired as a gift to the state of Oregon in 1952 from Henry L. Corbett and his wife Gretchen, on condition that the lands remain a wilderness area. The Mt. Washington Observation Site turnout is nearby, giving us great views of that and other mountains from near our highest point. Though we now cross the Cascades through Santiam Pass, in 1962 the route was changed. Early in that year, it used McKenzie Pass, which is now OR-242. The current route was paved that year and US-126 moved. McKenzie Pass is about 500 feet higher than the current highway, so was a more difficult route. Route OR-242 is not plowed or sanded in the winter and is closed the, so stick with US-126 from November through the end of June.
You can see plenty of snow-covered mountain tops from here. There are side roads to several ski areas that take advantage of all that snow. Depending on what time of year you drive here, you may see Lost Lake on the north side of the highway…or not. This shallow lake has two hollow lava tubes beneath it that drain the water just like a bathtub. In the rainy fall through spring months, the lake has water. But during the drier summer and fall, these tubes are large enough to drain the lake dry, leaving a meadow behind. The lake is only about 9 feet deep when full and has no natural streams to drain it. The eventual outlet of the tubes is not known. As we saw back at Redmond, Oregon has many lava tubes from old volcanic activity. When lava streams flow, the outside crust cools as it makes contact with air but the hot lava continues to flow under the hardened crust. These can later collapse, leaving us tubes, caves, and holes in the bottom of lakes.(YouTube video goes here)
Drone view of Lost Lake draining down one of its lava tubes. (video by Ryan Brennecke)
Across the pass, US-20 leaves us and heads northwest to Newport, Oregon. We also cross into Willamette National Forest but we are not out of the Cascade Mountains yet, as there are plenty of peaks visible ahead. Piles of lava boulders are added to the forest landscape as we travel a bit southwest and pass Sahalie Falls and Koosah Falls, on the McKenzie River. A loop trail through an old growth conifer forest takes you to the falls and a bridge across the river. Close up views of the wild McKenzie River are all around as it passes over cascades between the 100-foot high Sahalie Falls and its shorter neighbor. There are interpretive panels that tell the story of area geology along the way. After the falls, the riverbed is dry for three miles because a lava flow buried the river about 1,600 years ago! The river flows under it now and resurfaces at Tamolitch Pool. A short ways down the road is Belknap Hot Springs, a private resort. There are two mineral hot spring pools at the resort, which has been open since the 1870s. There is also a Secret Garden, which is free to visit! The garden includes fountains, architectural elements, and of course the plantings that hide it away from the rest of the resort.
Views of the river continue as it runs adjacent to the highway down to Mackenzie Bridge, Oregon. This is where we leave the Willamette National Forest. McKenzie General Store was established here in 1932: today it is both a store and a restaurant. I’m stopping for souvenirs. From here west, our former US-28 follows the wild and scenic McKenzie River as it drains down from the Cascade Mountains toward Eugene. By the time we get to the settlement of Blue River, we have descended to the 1000-foot elevation mark but are still in the forest and there are various county parks along the way where you can enjoy the river. Back in 1962 the H. J. Morton State Park was on a bend of the river here, but it has been demoted to just a roadside rest area. Likewise, the Ben and Kay Dorris County Park was once a state park. Both offer river access. While driving, we can still see the river crashing over rapids next to the road, and even a couple of waterfalls down the rock adjacent to the road.
From this point we see farms along the road again, mostly orchards and vineyards. We are entering the fringes of the Willamette Valley, one of the most agriculturally diverse areas in Oregon. The soils here can be up to ½ mile deep, due to massive flooding that occurred at the end of the last ice age. The good soils probably contributed to the name of an area south of the McKenzie River and the bridge to it. The Goodpasture Bridge in Vida crosses the McKenzie River and is located just off US-126. It was built in 1938 and is the second longest covered bridge in Oregon. It was completely renovated in 1987 and in 2010 it was again improved, restoring its 40-Ton weight limit so it can still handle logging trucks, which you will see on the road. Lane County today has more covered bridges than any other county west of the Mississippi River. Of its 17 bridges, 14 are still open to traffic.
Just across the river at the next bridge is the Leaburg Trout Hatchery. The bridge crosses the Leaburg Dam, which creates a water supply for cities in the area. At the dam you can view salmon and steel-head climbing a fish ladder, while at the hatchery you can view mostly rainbow trout. The hatchery raises these for release into various Oregon rivers. Children can also feed the fish. The adjacent EWEB Water Board Park features picnic sites overlooking the McKenzie River and plenty of play equipment and sports fields. Fishing in Leaburg Lake is also popular.
The valley broadens as we approach Walterville, where we cross the river for our last time. Just before we cross is Hendricks Bridge County Park, which, as we have seen before, was a state park in 1962. Looks like the state unloaded a bunch of these smaller parks to the counties; perhaps a cost-saving measure? Hendricks has a swimming and wading pool marked out with stones, though it’s rather shallow in summer, just when you would want to use it. By the time we get to Springfield, Oregon there are no mountains and any hills are off in the distance. Many of the orchards we have seen are hazelnut (filbert) orchards. Hazelnuts are my 2nd favorite raw nuts. Though we import a lot from Europe, 98% of American filbert production is harvested here in the Willamette Valley.
And that’s the end of this scenic drive. It’s about 9 miles from the edge of Springfield to the end of modern US-126 in downtown Eugene, the same place former US-28 ended. I’ll deal with Eugene attractions someday when investigating US-99. But while we’re traveling highways that are no longer around, I’ll mention US-32 today. The east end was originally in Chicago, Illinois and the west end of US-32 was originally in Council Bluffs, Nebraska. The total length was 511 miles. It existed for only seven years and was gone before 1962. We already traveled this as US-6, and it’s covered on Days 19-24 of that trip, beginning in Joliet, Illinois. That gets a couple of short, long retired highways out of the way. Next time, Roadtrip-'62 ™ will look at a longer road that is still around, US-29.
A Gallery of 1962 Magazines
July 7, 2020
This week, Roadtrip-'62 ™ gets off the road and looks at the magazines of 1962. As I’ll show below, the variety of magazines available was huge. There were many general interest mass market magazines, something we don’t have anymore, and even more specialty magazines. No well-established magazines failed in 1962, though some had problems: Curtis Publishing lost over $15,000,000. But a recent change in postal rates was not as severe as suspected, helping the bottom line of most magazines. The Audit Bureau of Circulations estimated there were 3,250 different magazines available, with a combined circulation of over 311,000,000! I won’t be discussing all of these, but let’s take a look at some of both the mass market and specialty magazines.
Some of the about 40 new magazines introduced that year were Automobile Quarterly, Rx Health, Eros, Discount Store News, and Rental Housing. Eros was perhaps the most unusual, marketing itself as “the magazine of sexual candor” and presumably going beyond what one could find in Playboy. Magazines were a very important venue for advertising, and revenues totaled $880 million, beating the 1960 record. Some of the increase was due to a new plan of regional editions for some mass market magazines. This allowed the publisher to present the same content across the nation but to swap out advertising in various markets, and advertisers paid for the privilege of targeting different markets. This may have been the beginning of targeted advertising, a practice which has reach a peak over the internet.
In the past few years, magazines had been engaged in a subscription-price war, to try to claw back mass market advertising from television. This was somewhat successful, as subscriptions boomed. But some magazines could not cover their costs despite the new subscriptions, such as Coronet, which failed in 1961. Though subscriptions were booming, single-copy newsstand sales continued a multi-year slump. In order to remain profitable, some publishers diversified by buying other publishers or even broadcast media. Cowles, publisher of Look magazine, bought an encyclopedia publisher. They also purchased a newspaper publisher. Time Inc., publisher of Time, Life and other magazines, purchased its fifth broadcasting station and a textbook publisher. The company also began publishing foreign language magazines. On the flip side, the Washington Post, a newspaper publisher purchased Newsweek in 1961 and continued buying in 1962
Life, Look, and the Saturday Evening Post were the big three of the general interest mass market. All featured extensive photo layouts, including some color, as a reason to buy. All three magazines died within a couple of years of each other: Saturday Evening Post in February 1969, Look in October 1971, and Life in December 1972. Look and Better Homes & Gardens were published in Des Moines, Iowa and you can find out more about them in my page about that city along US-6. Reader's Digest was another magazine for the mass market audience, but without the photojournalism. It specialized in fiction, humor, and in-depth reporting and was a handy size that could fit in your coat pocket. It is still publishing. Another mass market magazine was also a specialty magazine, TV Guide. It of course focused on entertainment, but a large percentage of homes subscribed because of the daily guide to show times. It is still being published.
A particular type of specialty magazine was aimed at what was then known as the negro market. There were negro-oriented entertainment magazines, news magazines, literary magazines, and confession magazines, among others. The most successful of these magazines, Ebony, had been published since 1945 as a negro-oriented Life clone. Being aimed at the general interest mass market, it is not surprising that it was tops in circulation. It is still publishing, but apparently in a digital format only since 2019.
In my research, I’ve uncovered 209 magazines published in the United States during 1962: only a fraction of the 3,250 available. Individual large businesses and many trade organizations have always published in house magazines, but I have only discovered a handful of these. Other categories that are poorly represented in my research are Business and Finance, Literary and Writing, Politics and News, Fiction, and Religion. For each of these, I’m certain there were more than the 2-3 titles I found so far. On the other hand the following catagories had dozens of titles being published: Automotive, Sports, Men’s, Women’s, Entertainment, Do-it-Yourself, and Negro. I may seem odd today that Negro interest magazines was a separate category, but in 1962 it allowed advertisers to leave black people out of their usual advertising so as not to offend the mostly white audiences of the major General Interest magazines. Companies would then create separate ads just for the Negro publications. There is a great discussion of this phenomenon with lots of examples at the Messy Nessy Chic blog.
My personal collection comprises an issue or two of each of the following titles, so let’s lake a closer look at those. I’ve already done an in-depth review of Boys’ Life at ‘Fun with the Boy Scouts’.
- Life (2 issues)
- Saturday Evening Post
- McCall’s (2 issues)
- Boys’ Life
- Popular Mechanics
- Sports Afield
- Ellery Queen’s Mystery
- Model Railroader
- Humpty Dumpty
- Life and Health
Life and Saturday Evening Post were two of the largest circulation general interest magazines of the period. Look was the third big one, but I do not yet have a copy of that. These magazines featured articles based on current events, some fiction, lots of color photographs, and plenty of advertising. These were all weekly magazines, allowing them to feature slightly more current articles than monthlies. The two issues of Life that I have both include articles about people moving to California, as this was the period when that state overtook New York as the most populous. People all over the country wanted to know more about that momentous change even if they were not moving themselves! Other articles included one about young women diplomats in Washington, DC, sports articles about the New York Yankees and Mets, Richard Nixon’s campaign for Governor of California, and a fashion layout…all with lots of full page photos, many in color. The Saturday Evening Post had a little different formula, with articles about the Salvation Army, director Alfred Hitchcock, college basketball, and some fiction.
McCall’s was more directly aimed at women, even billing itself as the “First Magazine for Women”. Their focus on women started with models on the covers. Articles cover fashion, housework, patterns for sewing clothes, movie celebrities, decorating, marriage problems, and page after page of recipes. Like the Saturday Evening Post, McCall’s includes some fiction. McCall’s stopped publishing in 2002. On the flip side, Popular Mechanics, Sports Afield, and True were aimed a male audiences. Each took a different piece instead of trying to lump several interests together like McCall’s. Popular Mechanics was one of several do-it-yourself magazines, with ideas on how to improve or build your home, tools to buy, model building, and an occasional article about one of the wars of the past 30 years. Ads were often for tools or career improvement.
True positioned itself as more high-testosterone publication, with articles on war, big game hunting and fishing, corporate success, and historical derring-do. It also had many cartoons, with punch lines often at the expense of women. Beer and cigarette ads dominated, along with career improvement, and hunting equipment. Sports Afield took the hunting interest even farther, being almost exclusively hunting stories. But it also looped back to Popular Mechanics-style articles about building hunting lodges, boat repair and such. Some of the stories were true accounts and other fiction. As with the other men’s magazines, ads for career improvement, hunting and fishing equipment and cigarettes predominated. All three of these publications also carried many pages of small, classified style ads for equipment, self-improvement, hobbies, vacation property (the famous swampland in Florida and desert in California scams), men’s health concerns, and shoes. Popular Mechanics and Sports Afield are still being published, but True closed in 1975.
Of course, as a 9-year old during 1962, my interests ran more to Humpty Dumpty, Boys’ Life, and MAD. I was just on the edge of a kid’s magazine like Humpty Dumpty; its mix of easy-to-read stories, crafts and other activities, and games no longer very interesting. I didn’t help that pages were printed in cheap one color plus black with cartoony artwork. I still made a few of the projects, but seldom read much of the book at this stage. What began to capture my interest were comic books and MAD. An older boy on the block gave my family a box of comics he was no longer interested in, and there were two issues from 1962 in it. The satire and irreverent humor just grabbed this pre-teen. I’m sure one of these was issue #71, which included “Don Martin in Sherwood Forest”. I still find that to be one of the best Robin Hood spoofs ever. And “The Birth of a Madison Avenue Brand Name” gave the most improbable reasons for how common household products I recognized, like Lava Soap and Comet Cleanser, were named. There was enough fun stuff in the few issues I got hold of to get me to subscribe by 1964! Humpty Dumpty is currently published by the Saturday Evening Post Society Inc., a nonprofit charitable organization. MAD is also still being published, despite a rumor in recent years that it was folding.
The last four magazines I have are kind of mixed bag of genres. These were all specialty magazines of types I never saw as a kid. Ellery Queen’s Mystery was a magazine of short stories and installments of longer stories in the genre of mysteries. They were by both new authors and established authors, and the issue I have even included a reprint of an original Sherlock Holmes mystery installment. Advertisements were limited to other offerings from the publisher, the same system used by MAD magazine. Life and Health covered a wide range of health subjects. The cover story featured astronaut John Glenn and his good foundation of health that allowed him to be selected for the astronaut program. There were also articles on diaper rash, chickenpox, coffee and tea, and healthy recipes. The advertising was for various health-related products like home a yogurt maker, various juicers, herbs, spices, and supplements, and books on health. Ellery Queen’s Mystery is still being published. Life and Health disappeared long ago but I cannot find when: perhaps it merged into some other health magazine.
Model Railroader was specifically for folks who liked to build models of railroads. I had a model railroad later in life and subscribed to the magazine then. The 1962 version appears very similar in format and topics. It contained reviews of new equipment on the market, photo of real railroads for modeling reference, a complete track layout of someone’s model, articles on how to build models from scratch, and how to best use model kits. There are two major differences from more recent issues though: much more emphasis on the metal machining and woodworking to build your own models, and a complete lack of color photos. Trains magazine seems to be a hybrid between a magazine for people just generally interested in trains and railroading, and a trade magazine for people in the business. This issue includes articles on what railroad companies are doing in areas such as switching to diesel power, food service, and locomotive repair. The ads seem more oriented to drumming up passenger business for the railroads, which means they are for the railroad fan, though there are also ads for actual railroad equipment targeted to managers. Though there are plenty of photographs, none are in color. Trains and Model Railroader are both from the same publisher and are still published monthly: it appears they tried to cover the railroad market.
Well, I’m off to read a magazine until the next installment of Roadtrip-'62 ™, maybe Readers’ Digest. My mother had a subscription to that when I was young. I think I mostly read the food advertisements because the coupons fascinated me.
National Road Trip Day and History on US-27
May 19, 2020
Today Roadtrip-'62 ™ is celebrating National Road Trip Day, which falls on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, or May 24th in 2020. The holiday was created by Pilot Flying J, the largest operator of travel centers in North America. The company was started by James A. "Jim" Haslam II in 1958 in Gate City, Virginia and now covers 44 states. Pilot Flying J has research to back up why National Road Trip Day is a great idea. They found the top reasons people take road trips are: it’s more affordable than any other forms of transportation, they have more control over the trip and plans, and they like being able to stop whenever they want along the way. I agree with all of that! They also found Americans' must-haves for a successful trip include having good snacks and drinks for the road, finding great places to eat on the way, and finding clean bathrooms to use while traveling. To that, I would add having good music, in our case, from 1962!
“Do You Wanna Dance”, 1962, by Cliff Richard and The Shadows
The Memorial Day weekend was selected for two reasons. First, it is kind of a traditional first day of the summer season, and second, the first coast-to-coast road trip in an automobile began on May 23, 1903, when Horatio Nelson Jackson and Sewall Crocker set off from San Francisco, California on a drive to New York City to settle a wager. They faced frequent breakdowns, waiting a week or more for parts to be sent by railroad or stagecoach, unmarked roads of rock and mud, and even a lack of gas stations, restaurants, campgrounds, and motels in most places. Still, they managed to make the trip in a 20-horsepower Winton touring car in 63½ days, winning the bet, but spending over $8000 dollars to do so. The publicity they created all along the way began the great American pastime of roadtripping and set the network of modern gas stations, restaurants, campgrounds, and motels on it way to developing.
For this virtual roadtrip, we’re heading south down US-27. This route began for many years along with US-23 and US-31 at the Michigan State Auto Ferry Dock in Mackinaw City, Michigan. When the I-75 freeway was opened across the Mackinac Bridge in 1961, US-27 was shortened by about 90 miles, back to Grayling, Michigan. That’s where we would have found the beginning in 1962. It then ran south 1660 miles to Miami, Florida. Today, it has been shortened even more on the north end, beginning in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The distance between Fort Wayne and Grayling is now covered by a combination of I-69 and US-127, and there is no longer any part of US-27 within Michigan. The south end is still in Miami.
So let’s begin in Grayling, where we could have in 1962. My favorite sightseeing in the area is at Hartwick Pines State Park, about 4 miles north of US-27. The low, rolling hills you see are sand and gravel, hundreds of feet deep, and were left behind by glaciers nearly 18,000 years ago. Many are long, thin hills of gravel known as moraines. These glacial moraines are excellent for growing pine trees, particularly the white pine, which formerly grew to majestic size. Hartwick Pines State Park holds one of the last remaining stands of these trees that were not cut down when this area was the heart of the logging industry, in the late 1800’s. The usual place to start a tour of the park is the Visitor Center, and we’ll play the typical tourist today. The Visitor Center has exhibits which tell the story of the forest, and of the lumbering days. The park began as just 85 acres of the old growth white pine, purchased in 1927 by Mrs. Karen Michelson Hartwick and donated to the State of Michigan. A Logging Museum was constructed in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps, and we’ll visit that on one of the trails.
Just walking from your car to the Visitor Center places you in the proper state of mind to enjoy the forest. The center is a two-story building in a low area; you are parked on a hill and will enter on the second story. You walk across an aluminum-planked bridge between the two, as the hill drops away below you, and you are soon 20 feet up into the trees, looking down at their bases. It gives a new appreciation of how tall the trees are, to see them both above and below you; and these aren’t even the big ones yet! Just stand there a moment and enjoy the feeling of tree climbing without the work. You can easily spend over half an hour at the center, if you care to learn from the exhibits. And, be sure to allow additional time to watch the birds and squirrels at the huge feeding area at the rear. Depending on the time of year and time of day, you may see any of a dozen different birds, including the bright yellow, white and black Evening Grosbeak or the upside-down-feeding Nuthatch. The squirrels may be black, smaller red ground squirrels, or the even smaller chipmunks.
Then grab a brochure and wander down the Old Growth Forest Trail. It’s a beautiful woods any time of year: noisy with birds in the spring, and wonderfully quiet in the winter. The trail is open for cross-country skiing in the winter. Of course the main attraction is the old growth white pines, the tallest of which was known as the Monarch. This tree was over 300 years old and 155 feet tall when winds broke off the top in 1992. Nature is slowly reducing this entire old growth forest: hurricane force winds blew down almost half the area in 1940. Now you can see only about 49 acres of the big trees. Farther down the trail is the Logging Museum; a reconstructed bunkhouse and shop building. You can understand just a little of the hard life and work of the lumberjacks if you ponder the displays for awhile. Many of the tools they used are on display, including one of the most unusual; the Big Wheels. These appear to oversized wagon wheels, and were used for hauling logs. Some specimens are taller than you! Besides this most popular of park trails, there are many others. If you are up for a long hike, any of the cross-country ski/mountain biking trails, or the Au Sable River Trail are long enough to give you a workout. There’s also a gravel road scenic drive along the east edge of the park for those who don’t want to leave their cars. The Bright & Glory Nature Trail takes you down to two small lakes in a wetland. On a recent visit, my wife and I flushed out a turkey from a pine tree and ducked as it flew just overhead and landed only about 20 feet away! Whatever trails you choose, don’t forget to pick up a trail brochure at the Visitor Center before you leave.
Heading back to Grayling on M-93, cross the freeway and head all the way through town for a shorter walk in the woods. Not back at Hartwick Pines; instead we’re going to the Beal Plantation. It’s just east of town on Industrial Street. Use M-72 and cross under the freeway, and turn right at the first street. The plantation is a 7-acre patch of woods on the left. The Beal Plantation is what remains of 80 acres planted by Professor William Beal of Michigan State University in 1888. It appears to be the oldest tree plantation in North America. He was attempting research on what species of trees could best be replanted on the cutover lands of this area. A short trail with interpretive signs tells more about the effort. At that time huge expanses of the area were nothing but pine stumps on sandy land. It was not suitable for farming. Some areas of pine stumps can still be seen along various roads, including along old US-27, and on a trail back in Hartwick Pines running directly north from the campground. Professor Beal’s research and the work of others helped establish the red pine stands that were eventually planted over northern Michigan. Today, lumber is still very important to this part of Michigan; you may have noticed the lumber products factory adjacent to the Beal Plantation as you drove here.
Inside the kitchen at Jon’s Country Burgers, Mt. Pleasant, Michigan
The drive south from here along old US-27 is mostly relaxing, as this 2-lane road experiences little traffic. Sometimes its replacement, the I-75 freeway, is less than a half mile away though. Most of the drive to Mt. Pleasant, Michigan is in forests, though an extensive marsh exists near Houghton Lake. We’re stopping for lunch in Mt. Pleasant, at Jon’s Country Burgers. It’s a delightful, real old-fashioned, drive-in that features carhops to deliver your orders and carside speakers to take your orders. Or, you can eat inside at their clean, bright booths…booths for all, no tables here! Both indoors and out, it still looks like 1962 because the only makeovers have been to keep the place shiny and new. I found the food tasty and plentiful. It was served by a very perky waitress, and it was fast! I’ve waited longer at an Arby’s than here. I had a smelt dinner, which comes with fries, coleslaw, and a nice chunk of toast. All was top notch, with crispy smelt and a hint of celery seed in the coleslaw. The toast was sliced from a stick of an Italian style bread, buttered, and then grilled golden brown. Of course, I had to try a milkshake, which turned out to be the best butterscotch shake I’ve ever had. They serve it with a spoon and I instantly discovered why: you simply cannot drink it through a straw. And it was overflowing with butterscotch flavor, with extra syrup stuck on the sides of the cup! Jon’s opened in 1957 and was probably one of the first on the strip, just a few blocks from Central Michigan University. Outdoors, they have plenty of stalls with speakers, all under a canopy to keep everyone dry. Indoors, you walk right past the kitchen to get to the restrooms, so you can see all the action. I should go back sometime, because a detailed reading of the menu found other wonders that should be tried. For example, their signature Countryburger is 3 patties high with 2 slices of cheese. Dessert should be fun also, if I try the donut sundae. Yes, you heard right; a sundae built on top of a donut! How could that be bad?
Jumping ahead some on old US-27, you might stop at Michigan’s state capitol in Lansing. It’s one of two capitols along the route, along with Tallahassee, Florida. The capitol building opened in 1879 and was designed by architect Elijah E. Myers. It was one of the first state capitols to be topped by a cast iron dome. The building is Michigan’s third capitol, the first having been in Detroit and the second here in Lansing. The decoration is unusual, in that all of the wood appears to be walnut, though none of it is. And to top it off, the building’s supporting columns are cast iron and pilasters are plaster, both painted to look like marble: none are really marble. While this originally saved money, it raised the cost of the restoration completed in 1992. Today, the Michigan Capitol ranks as one of the finest examples of this ancient art in the nation. There are three floors, though the basement was originally just store rooms and an armory. Government growth over the years later turned them into offices and now the building only houses the Senate and House leadership, the legislative chambers, and ceremonial offices for the governor and lieutenant governor. Tours are available.
From Lansing south to Fort Wayne, Indiana, US-27 has been replaced by the I-69 freeway. We cross our US-6 journey at Waterloo, Indiana. Shortly after Fort Wayne, highway US-27 becomes a mostly 2-lane road through farm fields again after Fort Wayne, all the way to Cincinnati, Ohio. We visited Cincinnati on our short review of US-22, and have a good list of attractions in town on that page. Cincinnati is also the home of McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish, invented in 1962 by a local franchisee. Continuing south, US-27 is mostly a 2-lane highway again through Kentucky. At Lexington, Kentucky, we can see the sights of the official “the Horse Capital of the World ®”. The 88th Kentucky Derby was held here on May 5th, 1962. Jockey Bill Hartack, riding Decidedly, won in 2:00.4 minutes. This was a new record time and was Hartack’s 3rd Derby win. The horse was the son of the 1954 Derby winner, Determine. There are many horse-related attractions in the area, including Keeneland Race Course. Keeneland has hosted live horse racing in April and October since 1936. It actually has two tracks, a 1 1⁄16 mile dirt oval and a 7/8 mile turf oval. There is a prep area where visitors can view horses up-close just before a race.
Ashland, the house and estate of Henry Clay, is also in Lexington. Henry Clay was an early American attorney and statesman who was the seventh Speaker of the House in Congress and the ninth Secretary of State. He ran for President in three elections between 1824 and 1844 and received electoral votes. The center part of Clay’s Ashland was completed in 1809 and by 1812 the home was a full five-part Federal style structure including a center block, two hyphens (connecting pieces), and two end blocks. Clay and his wife, Lucretia Hart, lived here when he was not in Washington, DC, until his death in 1852. Within a few years his son James found the home in such disrepair that he had the house demolished. He then rebuilt it, using much of the old material and incorporating more current styles such as Italianate, Greek Revival, and Victorian details. The rebuilding was completed by 1857. Since 1950, Ashland has been open to the public as a historic house museum with tours available. There is no charge to wander the gardens or estate.
Once again, US-27 crosses Kentucky and Tennessee on a mostly 2-lane road unbothered by freeways. At the bottom of Tennessee, in Chattanooga, we find several old time tourist attractions. Many are on or around Lookout Mountain, which has enough tourist sites to fill a 2-day visit to the city! Lookout Mountain even has its own website, just like a Chamber of Commerce would, so you can find all the attractions. First, let’s head under the mountain to Ruby Falls. This is a 145-foot high waterfall under the mountain. The rock of Lookout Mountain is limestone and the stream is 1120 feet underground. It’s fed by both rainwater and natural springs and after the falls, the stream flows out into the Tennessee River just across US-72. The falls were not discovered until 1928, when an entrepreneur was attempting to re-open the nearby Lookout Mountain Cave. That cave once had a natural entrance that was closed due to railroad tunnel construction. He successfully reopened Lookout Mountain Caverns in 1929 and Ruby Falls the following year. In 1954, a new pathway was cut around the base of the falls inside the mountain, to allow more scenic views.
Still at the bottom of the mountain, we find the Lookout Mountain Incline Railway. It opened in 1895 and is about one mile long, with one end at Point Park at the mountain’s summit. The Incline Railway is the world's steepest passenger railway, even outdoing some in Switzerland. If you’ve never experienced an incline railway, you should try this one. It’s a lot like sitting on a staircase that moves up and down the mountain. Besides the view out the side windows, you can look through the roof and see Chattanooga as we ride uphill to get to The Battles for Chattanooga Museum, which was known as Confederama in 1962. This attraction was built in 1957 at the bottom of the mountain and operated there into the 1990s. I last visited in the 1970s, when it still had scale dioramas depicting the various Civil War battles using painted lead soldiers. After the death of the original owner, it was purchased by another local businessman and completely refurbished, still using the original figures. The entire exhibit was later moved to a new building at the top of the mountain in Point Park, and in 2016 a new, digital projection-mapped show with digital soundtrack and 3-D modeling software was installed, providing a new multi-media experience. The old Confederama building is now a Blockbuster Video store. Point Park also has actual cannons in the actual locations where the battles occurred. You can see where they were firing at! The story told is of the Civil War battles fought here in November of 1863. These battles were so devastating for the Confederacy that they became the final turning point that lead to the Union victory, as the next spring General Sherman used Chattanooga for his base to begin his march to Atlanta and the sea.
Finally, we need to drive around and then up the mountain into Georgia to see Rock City Gardens. When I think of Rock City, I can’t help thinking of their barn advertising. Almost since I started driving, I’ve seen their name painted on barns, signs, and birdhouses all over the eastern United States. The first of the painted barn roofs was created in 1935 by Clark Byers, who continued to paint these advertisements until 1969, eventually being responsible for over 900! Rock City is the creation of Garnet and Frieda Carter who designed a trail over, around, through, and even under the natural rock formations to complement an inn and residential development on top of Lookout Mountain. Rock City opened in 1932 and complemented their Tom Thumb miniature golf course that had opened six years earlier. You can read more about their Tom Thumb course on the Roadtrip-'62 ™ miniature golf page. At Rock City, the Enchanted Trail winds through rocks, across the Swing-A-Long bridge, past a 140-foot high man-made waterfall and dioramas of classic childhood fairy tales and gnomes, through the Hall of the Mountain King and Needle's Eye, past Mushroom Rock, and out to the edge of the cliff at Lover's Leap. Here, on a clear day, they advertise you can “See 7 states”.
If you decide to see it all, you can buy a combo ticket that includes Ruby Falls, the Incline Railway, and Rock City. A final attraction around Lookout Mountain is the Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. This site, run by the National Park Service, shows the battlefields and history of the battles in the Chattanooga area, including nearby Chickamauga, Georgia. The park was authorized in 1890 and dedicated five years later. It was the first military park in the country. There are five areas comprising the park other than the Lookout Mountain Battlefield. The Chickamauga Battlefield was the site of a Confederate victory a couple of months before the main battles. It now includes a separate museum and visitor center. Missionary Ridge, in the center of Chattanooga, has eight monuments commemorating the battle fought there. Moccasin Bend, lying north of Lookout Mountain, was used as a supply base by Union forces and also includes an active archeological district that investigates over 12,000 years of Native American history. Signal Point was the main communications position of the Union forces, as it had commanding views of the area and all along the Tennessee River. Finally, Orchard Knob was the site of one of the earliest battles in the area.
Resuming the journey, through Georgia we would have again found US-27 to be a largely rural, 2-lane highway down to Tallahassee, Florida in 1962. However, virtually the entire road through Georgia has since been widened to a divided highway. You had a choice of how to get through the state in 1962, with both US-27 and US-27ALT traveling from Carrollton to Columbus, Georgia. As previously mentioned, Tallahassee is the site of the other state capitol on US-27. Tallahassee was chosen as the capital of the territory of American Florida in 1824, primarily because it was midway between the two principal cities of the time of St. Augustine and Pensacola. Three log cabins constituted Florida's first capitol. In 1826, a two-story masonry building was constructed. Just prior to Florida achieving statehood, the US Congress appropriated $20,000 for the erection of a new capitol. The new brick capitol was completed in 1845, just prior to the installation of the new state government. This structure remains the core of the Old Capitol today. The first major alteration to the Old Capitol was in 1902, when two new wings and the dome were added. This was the last time Florida's government operated under one roof. Further additions to the Capitol were made in 1923, 1936, and 1947, and additional buildings were acquired. A completely new Capitol Complex including a twenty-two-story executive office building was constructed in 1977. Restoration of the Old Capitol was accomplished in the face of calls to demolish it, and it was opened to the public in 1982 as the Florida Historic Capitol Museum, showcasing the state's political history. Tours are available.
The section of US-27 from Perry to Williston, Florida is the only 2-lane section of the highway remaining in the state. There is a US-27ALT that covers the same distance, paired with US-19 on a divided highway. Another shorter section of US-27ALT used to travel next to the main route from Haines City to Sebring, Florida, but has been renumbered to FL-17. Everything else has been upgraded to divided highways, all the way to Miami, Florida. In this section, I recently visited Cypress Gardens, about 4 miles west off US-27 near Winter Haven, Florida. You can read more about it on the my Roadtrip Down US-17, the Coastal Highway page. The most interesting thing I found was that when the adjacent Legoland was built in 2010, they did not tear out Cypress Gardens, but still offer it as a quiet zone behind the main amusement park. The water skiing shows still wow the crowds. The Southern Belles in their period costumes are gone, but there are a couple of Lego substitutes to take photos with!
A great place to visit near the south end of US-27 is Miami Beach, across Biscayne Bay from Miami, Florida. Many old, art deco hotels that were here in 1962 have been refurbished today to their original glory. Exteriors with pleasing curves and porthole windows abound. And interiors have beautiful details like the curved balconies, pipe railings, and the wood-and-metal bar of the Netherland Hotel, as seen below. The nine-story Netherland was built in 1936 and is now a condo, and both the age and use are typical for many of these old buildings, which also enjoy ocean views from the upper stories. Since this is now a condo, I’ll have to choose someplace else to stay the night and get ready for the next Roadtrip-'62 ™ journey. I hope you have an enjoyable National Road Trip Day and I’ll see you next time here!
All photos by the author and Copyright © 2020 - Milne Enterprises, Inc., except as noted.
All other content Copyright © 2020 - Milne Enterprises, Inc.