Thursday, August 7, 2014

Vintage Gas Station Maps

Among my bountiful harvest of birthday gifts in May was a collection of old gas station maps of northeastern states and Canadian provinces from the 1960s-70s. As a collector/hoarder of these things, some were duplicates but others were "new."

These maps remind me of the unsung heroes of that cartographic era. Companies like H. M. Gousha, General Drafting, and The National Survey labored in obscurity while Esso, Shell or the state highway departments put their names on the cover. I was once offered a job at General Drafting at $7.88/hour. This was not nearly enough money even in the 1980s to justify relocating to Convent Station, New Jersey so I declined.  Speaking of New Jersey...

This map doubled as a help beacon. If you fold it the right way and place it on your dashboard it says "SEND HELP" in black against a bright yellow background.

When I tell people I was born in New Jersey and they ask "which exit" the answer is 109.
This map also does the vintage upside down gimmick for southbounders. Stop! Don't look at this if you're heading north!

Welcome to Maine! Sure we have nice forests, lakes and oceanside vistas but none of that compares to our beautiful new Archives building.

New York is too big to fit clearly on one side of a map. The lucky folks in Elmira are in the Great Overlap so they don't have to guess which side of the map to open.
New York also appeared to annex three of Canada's largest cities here.  
UPDATE: I forgot about Hamilton so actually four.
For a Canadian perspective here are two views of Nova Scotia, the first one is from the tourist bureau and has a cute scenic tours guide on the back page. The 1970s fonts are nice too.

I also think the scenery on the cover is nicer than the Maine map but that's just my strange opinion.

The Esso (General Drafting) take on the same geography. North is up on this one, not slanted to follow the peninsula's orientation like the map above.
Happy motoring!

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