PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Finding Aids for Collections Land Records

 

 

 


Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission
Bureau of Archives and History
Pennsylvania State Archives


RG-12

Records of the DEPARTMENT OF HIGHWAYS

Series Descriptions



Executive Office

Under the Administrative Code of 1923, the Secretary of Highways was nominated by the Governor and subject to confirmation by the Senate. While the state Highway Department was originally created in 1903 to administer state grants for road improvements made by local communities, and reorganized in 1911 to assume responsibility for creating and maintaining a system of highways operated solely by the state, the Administrative Code of 1923 first designated the agency as the Department of Highways. It was at that time given supervisory powers over all roads funded, either in whole or in part, by the state and also in the licensing of motor vehicles. Headquartered in the North Office Building in Harrisburg, the Department operated eleven district offices located strategically throughout the Commonwealth that were under the supervision of District Engineers. Revenues for operating the Department came from motor vehicle registration fees, liquid fuel taxes, contributions from the federal government and from local authorities, and from miscellaneous fees such as the sale of state auto inspection stickers. The Secretary of Highways was empowered to construct or reconstruct highways by contracts awarded to the lowest responsible bidder or to construct or reconstruct those highways that were under his direct jurisdiction using employees of the Department. The Secretary was also empowered to purchase the equipment and materials necessary to construct and maintain highways and to employ all necessary labor to accomplish that task. The Department of Highways was abolished in 1970 when its functions were taken over by the Department of Transportation that was created by the Act of May 6, 1970 (P.L. 356). Highway records created since that time will by found in Records of the Department of Transportation (RG-52). For related records relating to the Delaware Joint Toll Bridge Commission see Records of Special Commissions (RG-25).



Annual and Biennial Report Books,
1905-1942.
(18 volumes)

{series #12.1} [Holdings]

Arranged chronologically by date of report.

Annual and biennial reports of the State Highway Department and of the Department of Highways. These reports are liberally illustrated with photographs depicting bridge construction and road construction and reconstruction projects and also with tables revealing such types of information as the number of miles of public roads, number of miles of toll roads, area in square miles, mileage per square mile, and population density for each county. The early State Highway Department reports issued by State Highway Commissioner Joseph W. Hunter also give the number of applications received to fund road work and the total mileage covered by the applications received for each county. Other tables reveal the costs of construction projects broken down by county and expenditures from the maintenance fund. Commencing with the reorganization of the State Highway Department under the "Sproul Road Act" approved on May 31, 1911 the reports issued by State Highway Commissioners Edward M. Bigelow and J. Denny O'Neil provide even more detailed breakdowns of appropriated funds according to the various schedules provided for in the new legislation and are also occasionally illustrated with highway maps. By 1921 a second reorganization marked the end of the first era of road reconstruction that established the trunk line of the state system of highways between county seats and population centers and developed the system of cooperation between the counties and the Department for constructing lateral or secondary roads leading out from the primary routes. From this period the annual reports were issued by the Secretary of Highways and are broken down by division within the Department. The biennial reports issued by the Secretary of Highways for the Department of Highways from 1926 contain materials arranged topically with an expanded number of tables and tend to have fewer photographs but usually are illustrated with organizational charts and state road maps showing construction projects.

Bridge Blueprints,
1944.
(1 folder)

{series #12.2} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by name of bridge.

General plan and elevation blueprints prepared in June, 1944 of bridges constructed across the Monongahela River at Charleroi, Monessen, and Point Marion; across the Susquehanna River at Sunbury, Clark's Ferry, and at Walnut Street and Market Street in Harrisburg; at Eighth Street in Allentown, and the Minsi Trail Bridge in Bethlehem.

Correspondence and Miscellaneous Records Relating Primarily to Toll Bridges,
1925-1959.
(2 boxes)

{series #12.3} [Holdings]

Arranged chronologically by date of correspondence.

Correspondence and miscellaneous materials relating primarily to rates charged on toll bridges. Much of the correspondence concerns acquisition of toll bridges by the Commonwealth from private companies. Among the materials present are various monthly editions of A Directory of Bridges, Ferries and Steamship Lines, Schedules and Rates published by the National Touring Bureau of the American Automobile Association (Washington, D.C.: 1932, 1933). Also present are copies of House Bill 932 introduced by Mr. Coulson on March 3, 1943 "Directing the Department of Highways to acquire all toll bridges within the Commonwealth providing the procedure therefore and the cost of construction, maintenance, and repair of such bridges. . . " and House Resolution 69 introduced by Mr. Coulson May 3, 1943 that reads "The People of Pennsylvania by a majority vote have approved of the purchase by the Commonwealth of the few remaining privately-owned intrastate toll bridges in the state and have authorized the issuance of ten million dollars of bonds for that purpose." The last folder contains miscellaneous undated materials including samples of coupon ticket books for the Clark's Ferry Bridge, Sunbury Bridge, Point Marion Bridge, Walnut Street Bridge, and Market Street Bridge.

Records of the Delaware Joint Toll Bridge Commission,
1951-1968.
(21 cartons)

{series #12.4} [Holdings]

Arranged chronologically by date of meeting.

Minutes and agendas of the meetings of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission together with annual inspection reports, budget reports, flood data, insurance records, and annual reports. Included in the minutes are comparative statements showing traffic and revenue for the Trenton-Morrisville, Easton-Phillipsburg, Portland-Columbia, Delaware Water Gap, and Milford-Montague toll bridges. Agendas include records of repairs conducted, reports by engineering firms, biographical information on personnel employed and their salaries, and records of revenue and expenditure. Also present are extensive correspondence files that contain many reports prepared on individual bridge construction projects, newspaper clippings, and related types of materials on bridges operated under the authority of the Commission. The Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission can trace its origins to 1912 and 1913 when the legislatures of Pennsylvania and New Jersey created a Joint Commission for the acquisition of sixteen toll bridges over the Delaware River between the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the State of New Jersey. These bridges were at that time freed of tolls and operated with tax funds provided by the two legislatures. An interstate compact between Pennsylvania and New Jersey enacted in December 1934 was approved by Congress in 1935 and was enlarged by compacts ratified in 1947, 1951 and 1953 that resulted in the creation of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission. Its purpose is to maintain and operate tax-supported joint state-owned bridges crossing the Delaware and to construct and operate new bridges financed by toll revenues and construction funds raised by revenue bonds. Having jurisdiction extending from the Philadelphia/Bucks County line northward to the New York State boundary, the Commission is responsible for the Trenton-Morrisville, Easton-Phillipsburg, Portland-Columbia, Delaware Water Gap and Milford-Montague Bridges. It also maintains and operates eleven tax-supported state-owned vehicular bridges and two pedestrian bridges in cooperation with the highway departments in the two states. Pennsylvania?s contingent to the Commission consists of the Auditor General, State Treasurer, Secretary of Transportation, and two members appointed by the Governor. For related materials see Minutes, 1959-1962 {series #25.165} and Reports, 1959-1965 (series #25.166} of the Delaware River Joint Toll Bridge Commission in the Records of Special Commissions (RG-25).

Minutes, Reports, and General Correspondence of the State Highway and Bridge Authority,
1950, 1954-1965.
(2 cartons)

{series #12.5} [Holdings]

Grouped by type of material and arranged thereunder chronologically by date of document.

Semi-annual reports, minutes of meetings, correspondence, audit reports and financial records of the State Highway and Bridge Authority. Information varies with the type of record but generally sheds light upon the routine activities of the Authority. The State Highway and Bridge Authority was a public corporation and governmental instrumentality created by the act of April 18, 1949 (P.L. 604) for the purpose of constructing, reconstructing, improving, equipping, furnishing, maintaining, and operating state highways, bridges, viaducts, toll bridges, tunnels, traffic circles on state highways, maintenance sheds, offices, garages, and roadside rest stops. Money to finance such projects was to be raised through the sale of bonds, the principal and interest on which would be paid by rentals from leases to the Commonwealth acting through the Department of Highways. Money necessary for paying the rentals was appropriated from the Motor Vehicle License Fund. The Authority's original borrowing capacity of $40,000,000 was increased by a series of acts of the General Assembly over time so that by 1965 it stood at $1,200,000,000. For related records please see Records of the Auditor General, 1958-1976 {series #2.89} within the Records of the Department of the Auditor General (RG-2) and State Highway and Bridge Authority Semi-Annual Reports, 1958-1986 {series #52.24} and State Highway and Bridge Authority Bond Books, 1952, 1954, 1959-1960, 1963-1964, 1966-1968 {series #52.33} within the Records of the Department of Transportation (RG-52)

Minutes, Reports, and General Correspondence of the State Planning Board,
1957-1965.
(1 carton)

{series #12.6} [Holdings]

Grouped by type of material and arranged thereunder chronologically by date of document.

Annual reports, minutes, and correspondence of the State Planning Board. Information provided varies with type of document. Under the State Planning Code, the State Planning Board had the power to conduct research and compile and analyze data bearing on all industrial, commercial, social and physical factors that may influence the future welfare of the state, prepare or perfect plans to enhance economic development of the state, and advise various state departments and bureaus as well as local authorities and individuals with the view of coordinating all physical and economic development plans. Topics addressed included population growth, income distribution, migration patterns, capital budgeting procedures, public recreation needs, and the Delaware River Basin study of future water needs.



Bureau of Construction

The Bureau of Construction was responsible for constructing and reconstructing state highways and those bridges located on state highway routes authorized under the Sproul Highway Act of May 31, 1911 (P.L. 468) and the bridges transferred to the Department of Highways under the provisions of the Act approved July 15, 1935 (P.L. 1035) that amended the County Bridge Act of 1931 and also the county and borough bridges covered under the Act of July 12, 1935. The Bureau also repaired highways located in state forest lands.


Historical Reference Files of Joseph W. Hunter Relating to State Roads, Turnpikes, and the National Road,
1806-1929.
(11 boxes)

{series #12.7} [Holdings]

Grouped by type of material and arranged variously thereunder. The State Records and Turnpike Acquisition File and the Present Right of Way Record Books are arranged numerically by route number, the information in the Index to Legislative Roads is grouped by road district or type of road, the Turnpike Reference Books are arranged alphabetically by subject, and the National Road Reference File is arranged numerically by assigned reference number but also more or less chronologically by date of record.

Reports, deeds, agreements, correspondence, leases, court records, valuation papers, indexes, right of way books, turnpike reference books, and a reference file relating to state roads, turnpikes and the National Road. These records were originally maintained by Joseph W. Hunter, an early advocate for a systematic plan for highway improvement in Pennsylvania, who was appointed Pennsylvania's first Commissioner of Highways on June 24, 1903. He held this office until June 26, 1911, at which time he was appointed First Deputy Commissioner of Highways until that office was abolished on March 11, 1919, when he was appointed Township Commissioner. This office was abandoned with the passage and approval of the Administrative Code of 1923, and at that time Joseph Hunter was appointed Advisory Township Engineer, which office he held until his death on May 19, 1927.

The undated Index to Road Laws and the undated Index to Legislative Roads are valuable resources for beginning research projects by providing both references where road legislation is recorded and excerpts from the legislation. The "Present Right of Way Record Books" provide such information as route number, division number, district number, section and station numbers, name of road, width and authority for the present right of way, and remarks that may provide additional historical background concerning acquisition of the right of way. Also found among these are turnpike purchase records giving date of deed, name of turnpike, route number, name of county, stations, miles in length, total cost, amount paid by state, amount paid by county, and the Department of Internal Affairs file number.

The Turnpike Reference Books provide such information as name of turnpike road, authority by which turnpike was established, date incorporated, description of the route, width of the road, names of municipalities served, names of officers of the company, amount of receipts, amounts paid for maintenance fees, dividends paid, route number assigned under the Act of 1911 (P.L. 468), date purchased and the amounts paid in each county, valuation of the road, and where deed is filed.

The Turnpike Road Reference File contains records of condemnation proceedings and correspondence regarding the various turnpikes acquired by the Commonwealth. The National Road Reference File contains transcripts of correspondence relating to the laying out of the National Road through Cumberland, Maryland providing such information as names of contractors, number of bridges, average bridge span, rate of contract, number of perches and feet in length, and dimensions of side walls for the bridges, culverts and side walls of the Western Division and objections raised to various proposals. Among these will be found maps, diagrams and blueprints. The Standing Rules of Court file documents whether local courts had rules enforcing the widths of highways. The State Road and Turnpikes Acquisition File contains copies of indentures granting ownership of various private roads and turnpikes to the Commonwealth together with miscellaneous valuation records and some diagrams and blueprints illustrating portions of the routes.

Miscellaneous Records Relating to Roads and Turnpikes,
1805-1930.
(11 boxes)

{series #12.8} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by subject.

Copies of indentures, deeds of release and quitclaim, diagrams, blueprints, and miscellaneous notes relating to roads and turnpikes acquired by the Commonwealth. Among these is an alphabetical record of the 719.75 miles of turnpikes in Pennsylvania providing such information as name of turnpike company, names of the president and treasurer of the company, date company was incorporated, the amount of the authorized capital stock, the number of shares issued and the price per share, the company's valuation per share, the amount of dividend paid, location of the road, width of the road stoned, length of the road stoned, average depth of the stone, condition of the road surface, and the reason if no dividends were paid. Also included is a late 1920s report detailing the reconstruction of Route 30-34, Cumberland County (also known as the Bottleneck).

State Road and Turnpike Maps,
1706-1873.
(650 items)

{series #12.9} [Holdings]

Grouped by highway division and arranged numerically by map number.

Early maps depicting roads and turnpikes throughout Pennsylvania. A complete listing compiled by Martha L. Simonetti in 1963 of the titles, dates, dimensions, and descriptions of each of the maps is available in the search room.



Bureau of Materials, Testing and Research



Research Project Files,
1961-1973.
(1 carton)

{series #12.27} [Holdings]

Arranged numerically by research project number.

Files consists of correspondence, reports, progress reports, and supporting materials. Correspondence addresses the status of research projects and the performance of materials being tested. Reports detail the scope and procedure of the research project; test results and cost data; and a summary of results, accompanied by data tables. Some reports are written by third party organizations, such as Penn State University, Lehigh University, and the Pennsylvania Bituminous Concrete Association, who were contracted by the Department. Supporting materials include product brochures, reports from out of state transportation agencies, and industry literature. Research projects deal with soil erosion blankets, soil stabilizers, concrete and cement mixtures, pavement surface treatments, skid resistance studies, prestressed concrete beams, aluminum culverts, and joint devices.



Bureau of Public Information

Several distinct groups of photographic files were maintained by the Bureau of Public Information in the Department of Highways and altogether these contain more than 62,000 items that are arranged in the following series. While many of the earliest photographs were intended to document road conditions and road improvements, after 1920 photographs were increasingly taken for the purpose of publicity or public education and by the 1950s the Department's Photographic Unit was doing work for other state agencies that were unable to support their own staff of photographers. The Photographic Unit is today known as Commonwealth Media Services and operates within the Department of General Services. For a more detailed account of these photographic holdings see Guide to Photographs at the Pennsylvania State Archives by Linda A. Ries (Harrisburg: 1993).



Applications File,
circa 1907-1910.
(4 boxes, 3 cartons)

{series #12.25}
[Holdings]

Negatives are arranged numerically by negative number. Contact prints are mounted in four albums and are grouped alphabetically by county.
Indexed internally by negative number in photographers' log (1 folder). Log is arranged numerically by negative number. Information includes date, county, township/borough, description, and station number.

This series is known as the "Applications File" because, under the Highway Act of 1905, county officials were enabled to apply to the state for assistance in repairing and rebuilding roads. These applications were accompanied by these photographs. The 956 glass plate and film negatives and four albums of photographs depict the roads prior to, during, and after improvements were made and also include road building equipment.

Many negatives are identified by legislative route/station number, a road numbering system which has been replaced by the "State Route" numbering system. A listing of legislative route number ranges by county is available in the Search Room. Also the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has a collection of online historical maps in portable document format (pdf), some of which show the old legislative route numbers.

Lantern Slide File,
circa 1907-1930.
(23 boxes)

{series #12.26}
[Holdings]

Arranged numerically by slide number.
Indexed internally by slide number in photographer's log. Log also includes negative number, county, borough or township, description, route number, and application number.

Approximately 1,400 photographic lantern slides made from images contained in Application File, [circa 1907-1910], series {#12.25} and in Photographic Unit's File of Mounted and Unmounted Prints, [circa 1913-1932], series {#12.12}, and other sources. Subjects include road construction improvements, road construction equipment, and related types of images.

Many negatives are identified by legislative route/station number, a road numbering system which has been replaced by the "State Route" numbering system. A listing of legislative route number ranges by county is available in the Search Room. Also the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has a collection of online historical maps in portable document format (pdf), some of which show the old legislative route numbers.

Main File of Black and White Prints and Negatives,
circa 1924-1970.
(86 cartons, 87 boxes)

{series #12.10} [Holdings]

Mounted black and white prints (61 boxes) are grouped alphabetically by subject. Albums (10 boxes), negatives (19 cartons, 2 boxes), extra prints (43 cartons), and the continuation of the complete Main File (24 cartons) are each arranged numerically by photographer's job number.
Indexed internally by photographer's job number in photographers' logs (1 box). Logs are arranged numerically by photographer's job number. Also indexed by county and subject in card index file (12 boxes).

More than 37,000 image files consisting of negatives and black and white prints. Early prints are arranged by subject content and are mounted on cards providing descriptive information such as negative/image set number, subject, location, and name of photographer. Later prints are filed by image set number with their respective negatives and may also be accompanied by slides. A set of bound albums and "extra prints," some of which may duplicate images present in the mounted prints and negatives, are also present. The majority of images, some of them aerials, relate to transportation infrastructure and events, documenting the construction, maintenance, and present state of highways, roadways, and bridges throughout the Commonwealth. Other images show transportation secretaries with their staff; departmental award ceremonies and retirement parties; public transit; automotive accidents; Harrisburg International Airport (HIA); flood damage; snow removal; and scenic views from across the Commonwealth of foliage, cities and towns, bodies of water, and public, private, and state parks. These images also document the development of the Federal Interstate Highway System. A more detailed description of the types of images included in this series may be found in Guide to Photographs at the Pennsylvania State Archives by Linda A. Ries (Harrisburg: 1993).

Many negatives/image sets are identified by legislative route number, a road numbering system which has been replaced by the "State Route" numbering system. A listing of legislative route number ranges by county is available in the Search Room. Also the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has a collection of online historical maps in portable document format (pdf), some of which show the old legislative route numbers.

Also included are two albums of Pennsylvania highways construction photographs, circa 1956-1957. One album documents Legislative Route 285, U.S. Traffic Route 22, Hamburg, Pa., while the other album is an unidentified location.

This series continues in RG-52, Records of the Department of Transportation as Main File of Prints and Negatives, 1970-1990, series {#52.22}.

Motion Picture Films,
circa 1935-1960.
(75 reels, 1 box)

{series #12.32}
[Holdings] [APPOINTMENT REQUIRED]

Arranged variously.

These 16mm Kodachrome films show highway construction, road tests and experiments, and other highway activities. Most films are 100-400 ft. in length. Notable topics cover construction of the Schuylkill Expressway, Penn-Lincoln Parkway and Harvey Taylor Bridge, circa 1950; "A Trip over the Pennsylvania Turnpike," 1940; skid tests, paint tests, snow removal, scenic highways, the State Capitol, Fort Indiantown Gap, Highway Department annual picnics and others.

Also included are 49 CD digitzed film transfers of motion picture films produced in 2013. Subjects include core drilling, construciton morgue, Delaware (Ben Franklin) Bridge, Penn Lincoln Parkway Before Construction, Schuylkill Expressway Before Construction, Skid Tests, Snow Removal, Surface Treatment, Harvey Taylor Bridge, Wagner's Gap, Department of Highways Women's Basketball Team, Philadlephia Intersections, Unidentified Roadways, Baldwin Locomotive Works (Eddystone), and Vine Street Roosevelt Boulevard.

A prior appointment to view these materials must be made at least 24 hours in advance in order to set up special equipment.

Photographic Unit's Construction File,
1938-1961.
(7 cartons)

{series #12.11} [Holdings]

Grouped alphabetically by county and thereunder numerically by legislative route number.
Negatives #1 - #727 are indexed by negative number in the photographer's log book. Other Information in the log book includes negative number, county, borough or township, image description, route or station number, and date.

More than 2,500 negatives of highway construction projects concentrated primarily in Allegheny and Philadelphia Counties during the period 1944-1960. Some negatives will also be found for highway construction projects in Armstrong, Beaver, Bedford, Berks, Bucks, Butler, Cambria, Carbon, Chester, Clearfield, Columbia, Cumberland, Dauphin, Delaware, Erie, Fayette, Franklin, Huntingdon, Indiana, Jefferson, Lackawanna, Lancaster, Lawrence, Lebanon, Lehigh, Lycoming, Montgomery, Northampton, Northumberland, and Perry Counties.

Many negatives are identified by legislative route number, a road numbering system which has been replaced by the "State Route" numbering system. A listing of legislative route number ranges by county is available in the Search Room. Also the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has a collection of online historical maps in portable document format (pdf), some of which show the old legislative route numbers.

Photographic Unit's County File,
circa 1961-1969.
(9 boxes)

{series #12.31} [Holdings]

Boxes 1-8 are grouped alphabetically by county and thereunder numerically by negative number. Box 9 is unarranged.
Index (S-Z only) is available in box 9.

Approximately 2,300 photographic images (4" x 5"), including negatives and photographs, related to transportation infrastructure and events, documenting the construction, maintenance, and present state of highways, roadways, and bridges throughout the Commonwealth. Subjects include roadways, bridges, dams, intersections, interchanges, snow removal, Amish sleighs, road openings, Commonwealth-owned buildings, car accidents, traffic patterns, tree planting and landscaping, roadside rests, waterways, hazardous entrances, signage, interstates, and construction projects throughout the Commonwealth. Scenes include aerials, night shots, and daytime photographs.

Photographic Unit's File of Mounted and Unmounted Prints,
[circa 1913-1932].
(26 boxes)

{series #12.12} [Holdings]

Arranged numerically by negative number.
Indexed internally by negative number in photographer's log, which also gives the subject matter, county, township or borough, route number, date, photographer, and other descriptive information. Also indexed internally by county in a subject card file.

Also known to staff as "The 5" x 7" File," this series covers the period of 1913-1932 and contains approximately 11,000 contact prints made from glass and film negatives. This file was created following the reorganization of the Department of Highways in 1911 and only a few glass images from this file have survived while a large number of the nitrate-based negatives have either deteriorated or been destroyed. The prints are arranged by negative number and are mounted on a card containing descriptive information, however, not all prints are present. A subject card file index arranged by county is also present. For related and some duplicate images see the Lantern Slide File, [circa 1907-1930], series {#12.26} and Applications File, [circa 1907-1910], series {#12.25}.

Many negatives/image sets are identified by legislative route number, a road numbering system which has been replaced by the "State Route" numbering system. A listing of legislative route number ranges by county is available in the Search Room. Also the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has a collection of online historical maps in portable document format (pdf), some of which show the old legislative route numbers.

Photographic Unit's Governor's File of Photographs and Negatives,
1950-1971.
(34 boxes)

{series #12.13} [Holdings]

Grouped chronologically by gubernatorial administration and arranged thereunder numerically by negative number. Box 27 and 28 are unarranged.
Indexed internally by photographer's job number in photographers' logs (1 box).

More than 6,500 negatives (generally 4" x 5") with an occasional matching print that were taken for the Office of the Governor. The images loosely follow in chronological order the administrations of John S. Fine (1950-1954), George M. Leader (1955-1959), David L. Lawrence (1959-1963), William W. Scranton (1963-1967), and Raymond P. Shafer (1967-1968). All of the images for the administration of Governor John S. Fine, and for part of the administration of George M. Leader, were taken by photographers employed by the Department of Commerce and were subsequently transferred to the Department of Highways.

Subjects cover such daily activities as greeting guests, presenting awards, and signing legislation and proclamations. Also present are views of inauguration ceremonies, public addresses, holiday celebrations with family members, crowning agricultural queens, visiting scenes of natural disasters, and dedication ceremonies for parks, highways, and public buildings. Noteworthy subjects include Attorney General Anne X. Alpern, Secretary of Internal Affairs Genevieve Blatt, Secretary of Property and Supplies Andrew W. Bradley, Secretary of Forests and Waters Maurice K. Goddard, and Secretary of Public Welfare Ruth Grigg Horting. Views are present showing Governor George M. Leader with labor organizer John L. Lewis, Jonas Salk, and the Walt Disney Mouseketeers; Governor Lawrence with President John F. Kennedy, and Governor Scranton with President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Among community organization events attended by Governors for which depictions are present are activities sponsored by the American Legion, Boy and Girl Scouts, B'nai B'rith, Civil Air Patrol, DeMolay, Easter Seals, 4-H Clubs, Future Farmers of America, Gold Star Mothers, Kiwanis Club, March of Dimes, Muscular Dystrophy Association, the Red Cross, Rotary Club, United Fund, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and the Young Men's Christian Association among others.

This series continues in RG-52, Records of the Department of Transportation as Governor's File of Photographs and Negatives, 1971-1987, series {#52.28}.

Photographic Unit's Highway Department and Miscellaneous Photograph and Negative File,
circa 1930-1970.
(4 cartons, 2 boxes)

{series #12.14} [Holdings]

The first four cartons are arranged chronologically by date of photograph, and box 1 is unarranged.
Indexed internally by photographer's job number in photographers' logs (1 box).

Approximately 800 black and white negatives (4" x 5") dated 1955-1966 with occasional matching 8" x 10" prints of miscellaneous activities of the Department of Highways. Subjects include group portraits of staff members, office parties, depictions of charts and graphs, road and Pennsylvania Turnpike scenes, road maintenance equipment, and motor vehicle accidents. Noteworthy items include Governor George M. Leader and President Harry S. Truman at ribbon cutting ceremonies and the dedication ceremony for the Fort Pitt Tunnels. The majority center on activities of Secretaries of Highways Joseph Lawler and Park Martin. Also included are miscellaneous photographs circa 1930-1970 of District 8-0 (Lancaster County and surrounding areas) and the Delaware Expressway (I-95) prior to construction.

Photographic Unit's Portrait File,
1927-1969, undated.
(1 carton, 6 boxes)

{series #12.16} [Holdings]

Arranged alphabetically by surname of subject.

Approximately 350 formal portraits of state government officials. Most are 4" x 5" or 8" x 10" negatives with some matching prints occasionally also present. Subjects include Governors John S, Fisher, Edward M. Martin, John C. Bell, James H. Duff, John S. Fine, and George M. Leader and are frequently depicted signing legislation or posing with members of their cabinet, their wives, or other family members. Other subjects include Lieutenant Governors, Adjutant Generals, Attorneys General, and Secretaries of Agriculture, Banking, Budget, Commerce, Commonwealth, Police, Property and Supplies, Revenue, Welfare, and other agencies.

This series continues in RG-52, Records of the Department of Transportation as Portrait File, circa 1955-1987, series {#52.29}.

Photographic Unit's Slide File,
1940-1945.
(4 boxes)

{series #12.15} [Holdings]

Boxes 1-3 are arranged numerically by slide number. Box 4 is grouped alphabetically by county.
Indexed internally by slide number in photographer's log. Log also includes county, description, route number, and date.

Approximately 528 Kodachrome 4" x 5" and 8" x 10" transparencies (slides) depicting highway construction and scenic views. Subjects include road work in Adams, Allegheny, Bedford, Berks, Blair, Butler, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Franklin, Huntingdon, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lycoming, Montgomery, Philadelphia, and York Counties and scenic of farms located in Butler, Berks, and Lancaster Counties. Also present are views of the Rockville Bridge, Crooked Creek Dam, Conrad Weiser Homestead, Cornwall Ore Mine, Fort Necessity, Ephrata Cloister, Pennsbury Manor, and the Harrisburg skyline. Other noteworthy subjects include construction of the Squirrel Hill Tunnels and Penn-Lincoln Parkway in Pittsburgh, the Schuylkill Expressway and Penrose Avenue Bridge in Philadelphia, and the Harvey Taylor Bridge in Harrisburg.

Many negatives/image sets are identified by legislative route number, a road numbering system which has been replaced by the "State Route" numbering system. A listing of legislative route number ranges by county is available in the Search Room. Also the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has a collection of online historical maps in portable document format (pdf), some of which show the old legislative route numbers.



Equipment and Inventory Bureau

Under the provisions of the Act approved May 27, 1943 the Bureau of Equipment and Inventory could rent state-owned road building equipment to political subdivisions of the Commonwealth or to any agency, bureau, or department of the federal government upon terms established by the department with the approval of the Governor. The Department of Highways could also sell to any bureau, agency, or department of the federal government any road or bridge building equipment for which the Department had no immediate need and was required to publish maps showing complete surveys of each county in the Commonwealth.


Records of Toll Bridge Companies,
1812-1961.
(70 boxes, 15 volumes)

{series #12.17}
[Holdings]

Grouped by bridge company, thereunder grouped by type of record, and arranged thereunder chronologically by date of document.

Reports, minutes, toll books, journals, ledgers, cash receipt books, business records, contracts, legal documents, letter press books, correspondence, and blueprints of private toll bridge companies. Records are present for the Ellwood-Koppel Bridge Company (1913-1957), Charleroi-Monessen Brindge/Mercantile Bridge Company (1904-1957), Eighth Street Toll Bridge Company of Allentown (1900-1953), Clark's Ferry Bridge Company (1903-1957), Market Street Bridge Company of Harrisburg (1912-1959), Minsi Trail Bridge Company of Bethlehem (1890-1957), New Street Toll Bridge Company of Bethlehem (1866-1952), Point Marion Bridge Company - Albert Gallatin Memorial Bridge (1928-1961), The Sunbury Bridge Company (1904-1957), Tarentum Bridge Company (1949-1952), and Walnut Street Bridge Company of Harrisburg (1889-1954).



Legal Bureau

The Legal Bureau of the Department of Highways maintained an extensive set of records relating to construction projects on the Pennsylvania Turnpike. The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission was created in 1937 by Act 211 for the purpose of constructing, financing, operating, and maintaining a toll highway over the 160-mile distance from Middlesex in Cumberland County to Irwin in Westmoreland County. The Commission consisted of five members, four of whom were appointed by the Governor for to staggered terms of ten years each, and the fifth ex officio member was the Secretary of the Department of Highways. Eventually extended to the Delaware River, by 1957 a spur route was completed through to Scranton. The Federal Highway Act of 1956 authorized construction of a system of limited access highways funded primarily by the federal government. For related materials on the development of the Pennsylvania Turnpike see Records of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (RG-29).



Financial Records,
1956-1967.
(4 cartons, 9 folders)

{series #12.18} [Holdings]

Grouped by type of material and arranged thereunder chronologically by date of document.

General account papers, bid proposals, requisitions, budget proposals, and bond issues for the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Information provided varies with type of document but generally provides details concerning the costs of construction projects on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and the measures taken to obtain the required financing.

General Correspondence,
1956-1967.
(1 carton, 14 folders)

{series #12.19} [Holdings]

Arranged chronologically by date of correspondence.

Correspondence file of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Information provided is date of correspondence, name of correspondent, and text of the correspondence.

Legal Records,
1948, 1952-1965.
(14 folders)

{series #12.20} [Holdings]

Grouped by type of material and arranged thereunder chronologically by date of document.

Agreements, contracts, leases, minimum wage specifications, Senate investigation materials, and trust indentures of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.

Minutes of the Turnpike Commission Meetings,
1956, 1957-1967.
(9 folders)

{series #12.21} [Holdings]

Arranged chronologically by date of meeting.

Minutes of the meetings of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission held following passage of the Federal Highway Act of 1956 that authorized construction of a system of limited access highways funded primarily by the federal government. Information provided is date of meeting, names of those present, and transcript of the business transacted.

Miscellaneous Studies, News Releases, and Photographs,
1955-1967.
(9 folders)

{series #12.22} [Holdings]

Grouped by type of material and arranged thereunder chronologically by date of document.

Miscellaneous study materials, news releases, advertisements, and photographs of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Subjects include traffic relief for Valley Forge, structural damage to the Kittatinny Tunnel, an progress of construction on Ray's Sideling Bypass.

Reports,
1954-1967.
(1 carton, 16 folders)

{series #12.23} [Holdings]

Arranged chronologically by date of report.

Annual reports, research reports, progress reports, engineering reports, insurance reports, traffic and accident reports, feasibility reports, revenue projections, and engineering and maintenance reports prepared by or presented to the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission. Information provided varies with type of report but frequently includes detailed maps, charts, graphs, tables, engineering data, and cost projections.



Pennsylvania State Highway Commission

The State Highway Commission was created by Act 438 approved August 14, 1963. The State Highway Commission consisted of nine members with staggered terms and its purpose was to develop a six-year highway construction program that would ensure both uniform standards and logical continuity through time. This was part of a two-prong effort by the legislature that also created in the same year under Concurrent Senate Resolution 128 the Highway Classification Committee. The latter committee was charged with establishing appropriate standards for the type of service each highway was to provide and with making long range plans for future needs.



Six Year Transportation Improvement Program Books,
1965-1969.
(1 box)

{series #12.24} [Holdings]

Arranged chronologically by date of document.

Highway improvement program inventory and recommendation books prepared by the Pennsylvania State Highway Commission for six-year improvement projections. Information provided includes descriptions of the Six Year Improvement Program, growth trends, background on the Safety Improvement Program, a summary of the financial plan, and color-coded district maps illustrating proposed highway improvements.



Engineering Districts

The state is divided into eleven (at one time twelve) districts, each overseen by a district engineer with its own headquarters and staff. Each district is responsible for the field work of the Department and for the supervision and coordination of county maintenance superintendents within their boundaries. This system has been maintained by the Department of Transportation since its establishment in 1970.



County and Township Road Maps,
1931-1939.
(4 boxes, 17 compact discs)

{series #12.29} [Holdings]

Grouped by county, thereunder grouped by township.
Digital surrogates of District 3 are available and are indexed by image number.

Color maps for most of the state showing rights-of-way created by Works Projects Administration (WPA) projects SW-254 and SW-103. Maps for District 3 cover Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Sullivan, Tioga and Union Counties. This set includes a map of Clinton County as well maps of Bradford County (Bradford County was a part of District 4 at the time the maps were created, but became part of District 3 after the establishment of the Department of Transportation). Also present are digital scans of District 9 and District 10 maps created under the same WPA projects. District 9 maps cover Bedford, Blair, Cambria, Fulton, and Somerset Counties, while District 10 maps cover Armstrong, Clarion, and Indiana Counties. Though they are a part of Districts 9 and 10, there are no maps present for Huntingdon, Butler, or Jefferson Counties.

Engineering District 3, Land and Property Files,
1937-1959.
(2 cartons)

{series #12.30} [Holdings]

Arranged by county, then by route number.

Materials concerning land acquisition and related issues along various Pennsylvania state roads. The files include items such as deeds of release, quitclaims, property damage files pertaining to the construction and repair of roads, correspondence, property and road maps, a few photographs of structures along the projected routes, etc. Documents covering the north-central counties of Columbia and Snyder are present, with routes such as 16, 183, 194, 455, 54003, included.

Engineering District 4, Maps, Prints, Tracings and Drawings of Anthracite Coal Lands,
1920-1955.
(9 boxes)

{series #12.28} [Holdings]

Unarranged.

Maps, prints, tracings, and drawings, in most cases copies, obtained by the Department from anthracite coal mining companies for use while maintaining roadways and planning future construction projects. Included are coal seam drawings, surface maps, and topographical maps depicting areas of the north east regions of the State. When under the Department of Highways this District 4 served the north eastern counties of Bradford, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Pike, Susquehanna, Wayne and Wyoming.


PA State Archives Hours, Directions, & Fees Research Topics Finding Aids for Collections Land Records