Arrows of Time
November 17, 2013 10:36 AM   Subscribe

The forgotten giant arrows that guide you across the U.S.

In 1918, the U.S. Government Postal Service began scheduled Air Mail flights, using Curtiss JN-4 "Jenny" biplanes.

To guide the pilots of these open cockpit, wire-fabric-and-wood biplanes across the United States in an era prior to reliable aviation charts or radio, the USPS constructed a network of airmail route markers to create the Transcontinental Airmail Route. Every ten miles, pilots would pass a bright yellow concrete arrow. Each arrow would be surmounted by a 51-foot steel tower & lit by a million-candlepower rotating beacon. By 1924, just a year after Congress funded it, the line of giant concrete markers stretched from Rock Springs, Wyoming to Cleveland, Ohio. The next summer, it reached all the way to New York, and by 1929 it spanned the continent uninterrupted, the envy of postal systems worldwide.

In most cases, all that remains of this program today, nearly a century later, are scattered mysterious concrete arrows, mostly in the undeveloped desert scrub of the Southwest.
posted by lonefrontranger (0 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: You've done such a nice job with this, and it's such a cool thing, but I hate to say that we've seen these arrows before. -- LobsterMitten


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