JF Ptak Science Books
I thought that I had mentioned this pamphlet before--mainly because of its provocative cover art--but no. It comes from the bookstore's collection of many hundreds (a thousand?) of unusual book/pamphlet cover art. "A Dream, a Reality" and/or "Coast to Coast Transcontinental Super Highway" isn't actually the title of this work even though they are on the cover; it is mostly a caption for an interior image though it somehow percolated topside. The real title is The Highway of Tomorrow made Possible by the Ideal of Today, which gets to the subject of the work even though it is slightly unwieldy. It is difficult to say who wrote this though Mr. T.E. Steiner ("Sponsor", of Wooster, Ohio) and which somehow found its way to a fourth edition in its two years of existence, published and promoted in undoubtedly small numbers by the "Transcontinental Stream-Lined Super Highway of the United States of America" in 1938.
- (STEINER, T.E.) The Highway of Tomorrow made Possible by the Ideal of Today. 1938. 56pp, 4 plates, 2 folding. Original wrappers. Scarce--only four copies located in WorldCat. $125
This is all about super-highways, and mainly replacing the old roads with four new roads that are as straight as straight could be. A map of the proposals features one line of the highway is straight from San Francisco to Boston; another from Laredo, Texas (!) direct to International Falls, Minnesota (!); a third not-straight shot from Boston-Allentown-near-Valdosta Ga-Miami; and another from near-Valdosta to Cleveland. A schematic of this map though drops near-Valdosta for Jacksonville, and has the Boston-Miami route further east to include NYC and D.C., which are omitted from the map. Ah, well.
I think that the author--an accomplished "business man" was was the head of a "manufacturing company" in Ohio and a coal company in West Virginia (and "employer of labor") --was not much of an engineer, because the plan ignores topography and the highway design itself is pretty bad, especially the parts on exit/entrance (which the author takes particular care to note are separately copyrighted (?)) bits, which are killers.
In any event, the super highway extending into the clouds on the cover is all I'm here for. Mr. Steiner no doubt attracted some attention for the project because of the enormous pork and public works potential, what with the building of 6,000 miles or whatever of an 8-lane highway, which is billions of square feet of paving times some multiplier. So a lot of money would be spent, which means, well, a lot of possible interest--after all, it did get so far as a hearing before the Committee on Roads, U.S. House of Representatives, on May 18, 1937.
This no doubt was a "visionary"proposal of some sort, though the engineering aspects of it were more imaginary than anything else.