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The system of auto trails was an informal network of marked routes that existed in the United States and Canada in the early part of the 20th century. Marked with colored bands on telephone poles, the trails were intended to help travellers in the early days of the automobile.
Auto trails were usually marked and sometimes maintained by organizations of private individuals. Some, such as the Lincoln Highway, maintained by the Lincoln Highway Association, were well-known and well-organized, while others were the work of fly-by-night promoters, to the point that anyone with enough paint and the will to do so could set up a trail. Trails were not usually linked to road improvements, though counties and states often prioritized road improvements because they were on trails.
In the mid-to-late 1920s, the auto trails were essentially replaced with the United States Numbered Highway System. The Canadian provinces had also begun implementing similar numbering schemes.
List of auto trails
- American Automobile Association (1922). Highways Green Book (3rd ed.). Washington, DC: American Automobile Association. pp. 418–20.
- United States Touring Map (Map). Automobile Club of America and National Highways Association. 1924.
- Midget Map of the Transcontinental Trails of the United States (Map). Clason Map Company. 1923.
- Touring Atlas of the United States (Map). Clason Map Company. 1925.[permanent dead link]
- Auto Road Atlas (Map). Rand McNally. 1926.
- Baranowski, Shelley and Furlough, Ellen. Being Elsewhere: Tourism, Consumer Culture, and Identity in Modern Europe and North America. Ann Arbor, Mich.: University of Michigan Press, 2001, p. 168-169; National Park Service. Rules and Regulations. Yellowstone National Park, 1920. Season June 20 to September 15. U.S. Department of the Interior. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1920, p. 21-23, accessed 2013-01-23.
- Kitsko, Jeffrey. "US 11". Pennsylvania Highways. Self-published. Retrieved January 16, 2013.[unreliable source?]
- Kitsko, Jeffrey. "US 611 (Decommissioned)". Pennsylvania Highways. Self-published. Retrieved January 16, 2013.[unreliable source?]
- Johnston, R. J. (April 4, 1918). "The Liberty Highway: Touring and Driveaway Route Between Cleveland and New York". Motor Age. 33 (14): 72–75. Retrieved January 16, 2013.