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Treasures of the Digital Archives: Highway Maps of Washington

Highway Map of Washington, Record Series, Map Records, General Map Collection, 1851-2005, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives.

Highway Map of Washington, Record Series, Map Records, General Map Collection, 1851-2005, Washington State Archives, Digital Archives, http://www.digitalarchives.wa.gov.

Much has changed since the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956, which created the interstate highway system. Before then, drivers made do with smaller roads, many of which still exist today with different names. Highways, exploding in size following the decline of passenger train travel, had the ability to make or break towns and cities. The above image shows the highways of Washington c. 1927. Note the lack of the now ubiquitous I-5 and I-90 corridors. It is hard to imagine Washington today without them. Yet this snapshot is preserved in the digital archives. The Washington State Archives has a large collection of highway maps. Search “highways” on the Digital Archives main page to find more.