National Geographic : 1961 Jul
Map of the United States Nation's 185th Anniversary The map is published at a time when more Americans than ever before are setting out by car to explore their country-an estimated 100,000,000 in 1961. The map will help Soci ety members planning such trips; not only does it show the whole country on a single convenient sheet, but it indicates major high ways and growth of the new, federally sup ported Interstate Highway System. Run your finger along Interstate 44, for instance, as it angles southwest from St. Louis toward Oklahoma City. Stretches un der construction show as dashed lines; solid lines indicate completed portions. Canada Links Its Seacoasts In Canada, too, road builders have been busy. A twisting red line on the map just above the U. S. border marks the Trans-Can ada Highway, the hemisphere's longest na tional road. By year's end, engineers hope to complete a gap between Golden and Revel stoke in British Columbia. Then the high way will reach from sea to sea. It's all a far cry from April, 1923, when National Geographic members received their first large-scale U. S. map as a magazine sup plement. That map listed only 34 "important automobile trails and national highways." Even today you may choose one of these older routes, such as U. S. 1, the old Boston Post Road in New England, which often parallels broad throughways as it meanders south along the Atlantic Coast. Follow it to the end, and you will thread your way by causeways over the Gulf of Mexico to Key West - as far south as you can drive in the continental United States. Only 95 miles away, beyond the Straits of Florida, Cuba sprawls across the bottom of the map. Near the island's eastern tip, alert U. S. Marines guard the Guantanamo Naval Base, where the cold war has crept close to America's southern doorstep. To the north, shearing off into the Atlan tic, a dashed red line leads off the map. It charts the Atlantic Missile Range, its west ern end pinned to Cape Canaveral, Florida. There the earth trembles as deafening rock ets hurl metallic messengers of the Space Age far above-and sometimes completely off this or any other terrestrial map. On the Pacific Coast, 2,400 miles west of Cape Canaveral, Vandenberg Air Force Base, near Lompoc, California, also sends rockets probing through space. Los Angeles, 140 miles to the southeast, leads the Nation in producing "space hard ware": the machinery of the rocket era. These and other booming industries make this one of America's fastest growing cities. A prime example of what municipal planners call ur ban sprawl, Los Angeles registered 2,479,015 inhabitants in the 1960 census-more than a 25-percent increase over the 1,970,358 re corded in 1950. In only a year the country's population has increased by 2,900,000-or more than the total for Los Angeles itself-to the cur rent estimated figure of 182,000,000. Yet traveling Americans still have plenty of wide-open spaces in which to stretch their legs. Nevada, the seventh largest State in area, and Alaska, the largest, still have fewer than 300,000 people each. The red stars on the inset map of Alaska locate airports with scheduled air service and illustrate another fact about the Air Age-it's often easier to travel by plane than by car. The map shows 135 airline stops but relatively few roads and rail lines, testimony to how Alas kans have leapfrogged whole eras of transport in their eagerness to conquer their rugged domain. *The United States, numbered as Plate 5 for inser tion in the Society's Atlas Folio, is twenty-fifth in the series of uniform-sized maps issued as magazine supple ments in the past three years. More than 250,000 members have ordered the con venient Folio, at $4.85, to hold their maps. Single maps at 50 cents each, or a packet of the 21 maps issued 1958 60 at $8.25, may be ordered from the National Geo graphic Society, Dept. 74, Washington 6, D. C . Folio plus all 21 maps: $12.50 .