Auto Trails

Among the interesting things I’ve found on the farm is this 1922 “Auto Trails Map.”



None of the roads in our county were yet paved, but the roads from Chatham to Danville and from Danville to Houston (now Halifax) were identified as “improved.” Our community (Keeling) boasted a population of 37 at the time.

I imagine travel by automobile was quite a challenging adventure in those days.

13 comments on “Auto Trails

  1. avwalters says:

    Those were the days when folks lived, and died, within a small radius.


  2. shoreacres says:

    When I traveled to Kansas two years ago (or three? I can’t remember) I was surprised that all of the county roads still are gravel. Granted, they were well-maintained, and not at all washboardy, but still, it was a reminder of times past.

    I do see that kind of auto route returning. Here in Texas we have the Independence Trail, the Great Texas Birding Trail, the Forest Trail in East Texas, and so on. Kansas has the same sort of thing, and I’m sure that most states do. You can download maps and guides, pick a region of the state to see historical sites, and so on. It’s a great way to travel — and to my taste, better than a week at a resort. But that’s just me.


    • Bill says:

      Some of the state roads here are still gravel. The next road up from us is unpaved as is the road we lived on when we first moved back. When I was growing up we still road over a ford in the creek, but now there’s a bridge. It would be really interesting to see what roads around here looked like in 1922. An elderly neighbor told me they were often badly rutted in his childhood (the wheels on wagons were narrow).

      We have auto trails like that here too. There’s a Virginia Folk Music Trail, history-related trails and of course the Skyline Drive and Blue Ridge Parkway. Lots of opportunities for “motoring” these days…


  3. dilipnaidu says:

    That’s pretty interesting. I love places where new development takes place while respecting the laws of nature.


  4. Sue says:

    I love maps and adore the old ones. It’s fun to compare them and see the changes. We’ve certainly paved over a lot in the ensuing years.


  5. NebraskaDave says:

    Bill, I’m not a vacation person. I’m mostly a stay at home kind of person. That’s not to say that I haven’t done my share of traveling but it was never for the sake of vacation traveling and sight seeing. The only place that I would really like to go see is the country side of Australia. I wouldn’t be interested in the big city side of the country but the out in the country life. We do have some nice walking nature trails and a few parks that are nice but Nebraska is mostly corn fields until the western sand hills then mostly cattle ranches. One attraction that folks come from all over the world to see the Sandhill crane migration. Nebraska is a stopping point on their seasonal migration. They stay here for a week or two to rest and feed then finish their migration. I’ve been told it’s quite a sight to see thousands, maybe millions of cranes all in one place. It’s about a five hour travel to where they are which is now in March but after living here most of my life, I’ve never had the desire to go see the event. I’d rather be working in my garden. Is that so 100 year ago mentality?

    Have a great Virginia nature drive day. Really good to have you back.


    • Bill says:

      I traveled a lot back in my lawyer days. And we took long-distance vacations just so I could escape the office. But since we moved here 13 years ago we’ve only gone on one long trip, and that was the first summer we lived here. We’ve hardly left the area in a dozen years. That’s OK by me.


  6. Laurie Graves says:

    I, too, love maps, old and new. I wonder what “improved” meant.


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