News From Terre Haute, Indiana

June 9, 2013

Historic treasure: Fold-up map fit in glove box of Model T

Michael Mroz
Special to the Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — My maternal grandparents used to love to tell the story of how they decided on the driver/navigator orientation on their road trips after their retirement.

Once while wandering aimlessly through southern Alabama, my grandfather discovered that my grandmother had been following a river on the map for a number of miles, rather than one of the state roads. The frustration Grandpa felt over what seemed a common sense color coding might have been misguided, due to the cataracts that were likely forming on Grandma’s eyes.

From then on, Grandma drove, while Grandpa navigated. She never said so, but it is not out of the realm of possibilities that this episode could have been a passive way for her to get behind the wheel and be given the opportunity to ask for directions when Grandpa refused.

That story immediately came to mind when I viewed this week’s Historical Treasure: a 1930 edition fold-up road map of the State of Indiana, printed by the State Highway Commission. The map’s eight sections fold conveniently to an approximately 4- by 7-inch booklet to store in the glove box of a Model T, or the Model A if you had the fortune of an upgrade in the waning decade.

The map’s legend includes categories for proposed locations of roads, as well as forthcoming additions to existing pathways. Other prominent features include surface types including treated verses non-treated gravel or stone and earth. Of course, this type of navigation aid either required finding a safe place to pull over to get your bearings, or a passenger to provide good company while you wandered Indiana.

Historical Treasure

• The Vigo County Historical Society’s museum is at 1411 S. Sixth St. Hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through