About the US Highways Site

The Historic California US Highways site is authored by Casey Cooper, who has had a lifelong interest in all things related to both roads and history. This site represents the culmination of a lifetime of interest and research. It was first posted in late 1996 and has since been acknowledged as one of the best sources of information on historical highways in California.

I have placed a lot of effort and time into creating this site and I am happy with the way it has allowed me to express my interest in old highways. Below, this page shows some of the history and details of how I created this site and, in part, credits my sources.

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The author Casey's pilgrimage to Route 66.

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Technical Details

HTML Markup - Microsoft Front Page

For the first two years I authored sites, I had marked up all my pages by hand using either Notepad or a basic HTML editor. However, I decided to make life easier and switch to using Microsoft FrontPage. There are many pages in this site with many more images, so the switch has made management easier. I hate to endorse anything by Microsoft, but this program works very well and allows me to focus on the important things, such as adding content and placing images. The best part is that I can see what my pages look like without having to wade through markup. The FrontPage Explorer has helped me to clean up my links and make my site far more cohesive. While I don't like making everything a Microsoft world, it does make it possible for me to effectively place my content on the Web.

Images - JASC Paint Shop Pro

I discovered the Shareware program Paint Shop Pro and have been very pleased with the way it works. It is a very capable image editing program that rivals more expensive programs such as Adobe Photoshop® or Corel Photopaint®. The fee to license this program is reasonable and is well worth the money. I have made all my highway shield graphics with it as well using it to clean up and enhance my scanned images.

Note: The GIF images that appear on my page are my own creations, although I have based them on images found elsewhere on the web, most notably Jim Lin's Highway Sign site.

For the money it is a remarkable program. Some of the features include a top notch resample program (which blows away the competition), anti-aliased text, flexible tools - such as the spray brush or fill tool, image enhancements, and a clone brush which can get unwanted things out of an image. There are many more features; more than I could list here. Below is an example of what I was able to do with it.

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Of course, there was a lot of freehand involved in converting the JPEG image on the left into the GIF image on the right, but Paint Shop Pro made it a lot easier. I have used this technique to create my historic US highway shields based on a picture of a Route 66 shield I have on my wall and from numerals that I cut and pasted from other images.

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California Highways and Public Works

This was the in-house publication published by Caltrans' (CA DOT) predecessor, the California Division of Highways from 1924 to 1967. It is an invaluable resource since it details, sometimes in excruciating detail, the construction of every state and US highway, and later Interstate highways in California. It not only describes the physical locations and appearance of the old highways, but it also gives a lot of interesting history. Many of the old photographs which appear on this site came from this publication.

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Old Maps

If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a map must be worth at least ten thousand words. Historic maps really give an idea of how all the old highways tied together and where they were located. While most of this is obvious about maps, they have helped me to figure out how the highways worked as well as helping to put the information from California Highways and Public Works in context.

The Caltrans Library

Much of the content on my pages would not be possible without the generosity and assistance of the people in the Caltrans Library. They have provided me with copies of old photographs and of California Highways. Like any other library, they are a largely untapped repository of information and have helped me answer a lot of questions.

Folks on the Internet

All of the resources above would have been to little avail if it were not for others on the Internet who share my interest in highways. The following are listed in no particular order.

There are many others and I have listed them in my US Highways Related Sites page.

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Go to the Historic California US Highways Main Page

If you have any questions, comments, or if you would like to send me any updates or pictures, please contact me at: casey@gbcnet.com.