High Jinks on the Susquehanna Trail
Story of the Susquehanna Trail in the Good Roads Movement: Part 18
I was not successful in finding an illustration of an original Susquehanna Trail roadside marker in the many newspapers that I perused to obtain the various articles in this series. I did come across the following descriptive elements within 1919 through 1924 newspaper articles: the marker is 3 feet by 2 feet; the marker is wood; the marker is painted white with black lettering; the marker contains an Indian head symbol; and references are made to a road marker stencil.
Based upon those descriptive elements, this is my visualization of what an early stencil-applied Susquehanna Trail marker might have looked like in 1924. My searches on the Internet did turn up a few round marker variants, which appear to be modern renditions of a round marker that might have been used later in the history of the Trail. If anyone knows the existence of any original Susquehanna Trail markers, please post a comment.
The Trail quickly became a favorite route of motoring tourists. Motels along the trail quickly began to see the benefit of being located on the trail. This produced road marker shenanigans; i.e. the appearance of fake Susquehanna Trail road markers or using stencils of the Susquehanna Trail Indian Head Symbol as fake markers on electric poles and telephone poles. This was all done to direct the flow of traffic by motels or through towns, close to, but not on the Trail.
The following is my favorite article associated with high jinks on the Susquehanna Trail. At the time of this article, in the August 21st, 1924 issue of The Evening News in Harrisburg, the Susquehanna Trail had been open, end-to-end, for one month.
Trail Markers Removed From Gettysburg Road
The State Highway Department today removed the Indian head symbol of the Susquehanna Trail on the road between Harrisburg and Gettysburg because the road is not part of the trail. The marker had been placed on poles along the Gettysburg road by Gettysburg persons interested in getting traffic to go to their town, the department said.
Notice was given several weeks ago that the markers must come off the poles and, as no attention was paid to it, the department sent out men with planes and all the trail markers were effaced.
This article reaffirms that the alternate route, through Gettysburg, has nothing to do with the Susquehanna Trail, except being an alternate route to reach Washington, D.C. instead of traveling the Susquehanna Trail going through York and Baltimore to reach Washington, D.C.. Thus, The State Highway Department sent out a crew of men, with wood planes, to plane the Susquehanna Trail Indian Head Symbol off of the poles leading to Gettysburg.
The people in Gettysburg must have been reading the Williamsport Chamber of Commerce publicity that showed the Susquehanna Trail going through Gettysburg instead of York. As the trail neared completion, from end to end, in July of 1924, the people in Gettysburg took the road signing into their own hands.
In 1923, the Susquehanna Trail Association had officially designated the Harrisburg-Gettysburg-Washington route as an Alternate Susquehanna Trail route. However, The State Highway Department only recognized the Harrisburg-Gettysburg-Washington route as an alternate route to the Susquehanna Trail; note the difference. This was a state road, so the State Highway Department had the final say on road signage.
Next Friday, this series will conclude on the Story of the Susquehanna Trail in the Good Roads Movement.
Related posts include:
- Story of the Susquehanna Trail in the Good Roads Movement: Part 1
- The Wellsboro Agitator campaigns for the Susquehanna Trail
- The Susquehanna Trail forks at Amity Hall
- The Susquehanna Trail lands York, PA at the Crossroads of PA Routes 1 & 4
- Susquehanna Trail to Tap the Lincoln Highway at either Gettysburg or York; with Dover route Considered
- Yorkers spring into action To Attract the Susquehanna Trail
- Board of Governors of the Susquehanna Trail Association visit York in 1918
- Susquehanna Trail Association switches in favor of a York Haven route; should York get the Trail
- Establishment of the Susquehanna Trail in York County during 1918
- Zion View gets the Susquehanna Trail; Intersection with North George Street
- Susquehanna Trail extends from York to the Maryland line
- The Road to JOPPA; origins of Susquehanna Trail in Southern York County
- Susquehanna Trail incites a Halloween Jubilee
- The Susquehanna Trail as a Ribbon of Concrete
- York is In Danger of Losing the Susquehanna Trail during 1923
- Newly Completed Susquehanna Trail teems with Historical Scenes
- Agitating for a Susquehanna Trail Celebration
- History of The Susquehanna Trail—Route Numbers
- Susquehanna Trail through York County; Wrap-Up
- Remembering Besser’s on the Susquehanna Trail
- Susquehanna Trail WWI Memorial Sycamores
- The Susquehanna Trail: Greatest highway in Eastern America
- Walking the Lincoln Highway from Coast-to-Coast