When I was a kid, we made roughly annual visit to relatives in the East. Traveled the Penna Tpk from the west & always exited at Breezewood. I could see on the map that there were more tunnels just ahead, felt sad that we couldn't just keep going and see them. Even tho just a kid, I could tell there was something special about the highway. Interesting and unique architecture in so many respects, different from the other pikes and freeways on the trip.
Excellent book on the PA turnpike: "Images of America - The Pennsylvania Turnpike" by Dakelman & Schorr. The book has a decent amount of text, and it's full of photos and plates from the 18th century to recent times. Most are from the construction & the years after opening, when professional photographers were part of the project to build the first long-distance express highway in the US.
Condensed from the book: During the autumn of 1940, some 160 miles of brand-new highway were opened across southern Pennsylvania. Never before had such a long expanse been put into service. It traversed some of the most mountainous terrain in the eastern United States. It adhered to rigorous and consistent engineering standards throughout its length, while pioneering the latest advances in highway design. The number of vehicles using the highway far exceeded projections. The hordes of motorists...dispelled the fears of critics...proved the viability of the long-distance intercity express highway and launched the most massive period of highway construction in history... While, undoubtedly, long-distance express highways would have eventually been built across the United States, it was the turnpike that so dramatically and powerfully proved the viability of the concept.
Photo caption: "When the Pennsylvania Turnpike opened on October 1, 1940, the seven tunnels captured the imagination of the public more than anything else did. Lending a sense of romance and excitement to the new highway, they helped ensure the project's success and its place in history. In this dramatic photograph taken by photojournalist Arthur Rothstein, a tunnel guard patrols Rays Hill Tunnel. (Library of Congress)"
Last edited by duffer1960; 04-25-09 at 08:37 PM.
Reason: Add picture and text from book