The Pennsylvania Turnpike, From Tollbooths to Tunnels: Rediscovering America’s First Superhighway at 75

Few Pennsylvania-born celebrities have made the kind of splash that the Pennsylvania Turnpike did when it first arrived on the scene in October 1940. Its 160 miles of limited-access, four-lane paved highway across the Alleghenies were hailed as America’s answer to the Autobahn, Germany’s highly regarded network of high-speed “super roads.” After the war, as the United States’ population expanded...
read more

America’s Dream Highway

Almost no one could have foreseen, fifty years ago, that an experiment in trans­portation engineering mean­dering across the rugged southern Alleghenies could profoundly affect the way tens of millions of Americans tra­vel. But from the very day it opened on October 1, 1940, the Pennsylvania Turnpike did just that – despite the fact that its first section ran from nowhere to nowhere. The...
read more

An Activist Government in Harrisburg: Governor George H. Earle III and Pennsylvania’s “Little New Deal”

Despite substantive efforts by Governor Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946) during his second non-consecutive term, from 1931 to 1935, unemployment, underemployment, and poverty continued to plague the Commonwealth. The Great Depression had crippled the nation and Pennsylvania – America’s workshop – was hard hit as unemployment soared to nearly 40 percent in several industrial...
read more