Wessels Living History Farm - York Nebraska Farming in the 1920s
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Air Travel in the 1920s

Automobile Travel

Driving a car in the 1920s was a big deal.

Ruth Nettleton tells about her mother learning to drive.

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Ruth Nettleton Video
Nebraskans bought automobiles at a higher rate than other states in the 1920s, but the state lagged behind in road and bridge construction. Most farm families owned a car and used it to drive to town. Gravel or dirt roads connected farmers to communities and to each other, ending rural isolation. This mobility helped speed the change from people from living on the land to living in towns. Passenger train service began to decline as roads improved.

  Photo of Model T car with flat tire.  
This early Model T Ford's tire has come off rim and needs to be fixed.
Most of Nebraska's roads were dirt (mud after a rain), so travel by car in the 1920s was an adventure. By 1921, more than 205,000 automobiles were registered in the Nebraska, and more than 5,500 miles of Nebraska roads were considered part of the federal highway system, including U.S. 30, part of the Lincoln Highway. In 1925, Nebraska established a two-cent gasoline tax to help construct roads. Before federal roads were numbered, they had names. For example, the S-Y-A Road was Seward–York-Aurora.

Written by Claudia Reinhardt.

Moving Livestock to Market

Air Travel in the 1920s


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