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Just when you think you've heard it all.... how 'bout this....???
Giant Concrete Arrows That Stretch Across America.



Every so often, usually in the vast deserts of the American Southwest, a hiker or a backpacker will run across something puzzling: a large concrete arrow, as much as seventy feet in length, sitting in the middle of nowhere.



What are these giant arrows?
Some kind of surveying mark?
Landing beacons for flying saucers?



Nope. They are actually arrows marking ......
The Transcontinental Air Mail Route!



On August 20, 1920, the United States opened its first coast-to-coast airmail delivery route, just 60 years after the Pony Express closed up shop. There were no good aviation charts in those days, so pilots had to eyeball their way across the country using landmarks. This meant that flying in bad weather was difficult, and night flying was just about impossible.

The Postal Service solved the problem with the world’s first ground-based civilian navigation system: a series of lit beacons that would extend from New York to San Francisco. Every ten miles, pilots would pass a bright yellow concrete arrow. Each arrow would be surmounted by a 51-foot steel tower and lit by a million-candlepower rotating beacon.
(A generator shed at the arrow's tail powered the beacon)!



Now mail could get from the Atlantic to the Pacific not in a matter of weeks, but in just 30 hours or so. Even the dumbest of air mail pilots, it seems, could follow a series of bright yellow arrows straight out of a Tex Avery cartoon. By 1924, just a year after Congress funded it, the line of giant concrete markers stretched from Rock Springs, Wyoming to Cleveland, Ohio. The next summer, it reached all the way to New York, and by 1929 it spanned the continent uninterrupted, the envy of postal systems worldwide.



Radio and radar are, of course, infinitely less cool than a concrete Yellow Brick Road from sea to shining sea, but I think we all know how this story ends. New advances in communication and navigation technology made the big arrows obsolete, and the Commerce Department decommissioned the beacons in the 1940s. The steel towers were torn down and went to the war effort. But the hundreds of arrows remain. Their yellow paint is gone, their concrete cracks a little more with every winter frost, and no one crosses their path much, except for coyotes and tumbleweeds.

AND NOW... YOU KNOW THE REST OF THE STORY!!!

Isn't it great that we can learn something new every day!
 

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I had never heard of this till now.......thanks for posting:tu
 

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Yup

Not that I know it all ....but I saw it on tv already. Thanks though, Mike.
 

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very cool, learn something every day. thanks. :tu
 

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Hotel down town Toledo, has a white arrow painted on the roof for the same reason. Painted by none other than Amelia Erhart.
 

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Hotel down town Toledo, has a white arrow painted on the roof for the same reason. Painted by none other than Amelia Erhart.
The route went right over Toledo.
 

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Very interesting! I never knew that. I wonder if there are any markers left in Nebraska???
 

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:confused0006: Very interesting indeed! Never thought much about it. Always assumed they navigated by compass or sextant or by following train tracks and natural landmarks.

Thanks for posting,

Harry
 
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