This series of photographs traces U.S. Highways, the original routes before the Interstate system was built. Highway 17 is an example. It runs just south of the Mason-Dixon Line in Winchester, Virginia to Punta Gordo on the Florida coast. The construction of I-95 contributed to the demise of many “mom-and-pop” businesses along this path when traffic was diverted to the super highway. Yet much of the vintage flavor of U.S. 17 is preserved because corporate logo gas stations and fast food chains did not wipe out the architecture and landscape that was typical of an earlier era of roadside Americana.
The highway speaks to the heyday of the automobile and the nostalgia of the family vacation, but it is still a living, vibrant thoroughfare that is a vital mode of travel. It transports us forward to our destination and back in time to our childhood.