Kansas celebrated the 50th anniversary of the completion of I-70 in Kansas in 2020. The 424-mile stretch helped pioneer the national travel system and shape everything we experience with traveling by vehicle today.
President Eisenhower’s intended purpose for a national interstate system extended beyond providing accessible roadways for Americans and infrastructure to protect our borders, but also to expanding travel and tourism, a $7.1 billion industry in Kansas*.
Before 1-70, travel looked a lot different for American families. The new interstate provided coast-to-coast accessibility while the automobile manufacturers reached peaked efficiency, making the automobile a staple in American households. World War II was the driving force behind leisure tourism in the United States. Soldiers returning home after traveling the world had this yearning to see more of their homeland and they wanted to experience this with their spouses and children. The American Family Road Trip was born, and the roadside attractions blossomed.
The interstate system connects us all, from rural to urban, north to south and the beauty in-between. 1-70 has paved its way into the center of many memories and stories.
Left: Paving West US-40 | Right: The same road 62 years later
Left: Opening Day of I-70 at Junction City | Right: The same stretch of road 61 years later