07 April 2016

Visiting Florida in the 1950s


This inverted map was created in 1955 for the benefit of tourists driving down to Florida from northern states.
Nearly all road maps point North. But we've found that many travelers turn their maps upside when going South. It helps them to know whether to turn right or left. Naturally its hard to read anything upside down. 
I'm old enough to remember the pleasure of driving with my family from Minnesota to Florida for spring break in the 1950s.  As the map indicates, there were fewer cities and towns.  My cousins lived in Naples, which is indicated on this map by an insignificant dot on the Gulf Coast.  Florida had long stretches of two-lane highway traversing forest and scrubland and swamp with nary a subdivision in sight.  Roadside stands sold oranges with a straw punched into them to drink from while driving.  All the motels had neon lights (and no air conditioning).  Many beaches were empty and their shell bounty unharvested.  It was a different world.

Image lightened for readability and cropped for emphasis from the original posted at Neatorama.

Addendum:  I got to thinking about that Florida trip quite a bit today, so after a quick search of my office I located a photograph from then.   Herewith your faithful blogger with his sister, sitting on the back bumper of our family's Nash Ambassador, on an idyllic beach somewhere in Florida in 1956.


13 comments:

  1. As someone who learned maps and cartography in the Boy Scouts (years ago), a map like that would drive me nuts!

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  2. An upside down map so to make it easier to figure out left turns from right turns ???
    Great ! Until you want to leave Florida.
    It's a trap ! … and that is why Florida is so crowded today.

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  3. My dad, a Pentecostal evangelist fro SE Tennessee, found a warm welcome to his ministry in Florida. I was just six in 1968, but I came to a Florida much as you came to. Today, you can hardly find easy access to a beach...but back then, you could just pull over and enjoy! I am one of those blessed people who can say that I am a native of two states. There simply was nothing more glorious than traveling with my family to yet another revival...all while it seemed orange blossom scent filled the car and all sorts of ""Old Florida" vistas filled our eyes.

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  4. As someone who makes frequent car trips from Florida to New York, it's pretty amazing to see a map without any interstate highways. Even so, there have been plenty of times when I've left the rat-maze of the interstates and taken some of the old U.S. highways. Much more scenic and relaxing when you're between major urban areas, but rush hour through the central part of the state makes you appreciate the finer aspects of driving 75 mph in bumper-to-bumper traffic down a six-lane highway.

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  5. Stan,
    That picture of you and your sister is a classic! What a nice memory.

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  6. Great picture from the 50's! Thanks for sharing.

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  7. Isn't that a Nash Ambassador ?
    I remember/think that the Rambler was a 4 door without the exposed spare tyre (tire) case, the Rambler Super was the 2 door version, again, sans the exposed spare, the Ambassador had the 2 doors and the spare carrier on the elongated rear bumper support, and the Statesman the same but with 4 doors.
    But hey, I have been wrong on occasions.

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    Replies
    1. I apparently misremembered; I've revised the text. Tx, William.

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    2. After enlarging a screencap of that area by the right rear taillight, I see it reads "Le Mans," which was a designation of the Nash Ambassadors. Ta-da.

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  8. Oh, but how rude of me. That is a great photo, credit to the photographer.

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  9. What a dapper little gent!

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  10. great photo! that looks like it could have been yesterday.

    I-)

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  11. What a great picture. I love your sister's saddle shoes.

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