By Ned Lodwick –
The Atlantic and Pacific Highway, or the A & P Highway, was actually a trail made up of over 20 different highways. Between 1910 and 1915 dozens of auto trails were laid out across the United States.
The automobile was becoming the American public’s choice of transportation, leaving the horse and buggy in its dust. A Sunday drive could now be many miles longer than before. People wanted to travel but where were they to go? The trails gave motorists a place to start and a destination. Sometimes the trail was the destination; the trip was the destination. Motorists set off on a trail to find adventure.
The trails were originally marked with colored ribbons around telephone poles, fence posts, or trees. As the trail became established signs replaced the early markers and the trails began to look more official.
Auto trails were developed by several different groups of people. An auto club or automobile association often marked the pathway but an individual with enough paint to mark the way could design their own trail.