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Highway History


Eisenhower Interstate Highway System - Then and Now

Since the start of the Eisenhower Interstate System in the 1950s, times have, as they always have, changed.  For those who did not live through the 1950s, there are books that provide a comprehensive look at the times out of which the Interstate System emerged.  See, for example, David Halberstam's The Fifties (Villard, 1993, 800 pages).  Just for fun, here's a less comprehensive look at how much things have changed since the 1950s.  If you have any "Then and Now" submissions as possible additions to the list, please email them to Interstate50th@fhwa.dot.gov.


Then Category Now
Rear fins Auto craze Hybrids
"I Love Lucy" Sitcom "Everybody Hates Chris"
Carl Sandburg Poet Bruce Springsteen
Newsreel Pre-Movie Feature Commercials
Davy Crockett Children's Fave The Bionicles
Hula Hoops Toy Nintendo
TV Dinner Meal Chicken McNuggets
Sandra Dee Girl Next Door Ashlee Simpson
Pressure cooker Cooking Device Microwave oven
Chuck Berry Rock n Roll Coldplay
Elvis Presley King-- Rock n Roll Elvis Presley
Jack Paar "Tonight" Host Jay Leno
Dave Garroway "Today" Host Katie Couric/Matt Lauer
"Peanuts" Comic Strip "The Boondocks"
Ike Presid. Nickname Dubya
Soda Drink Red Bull
Montreal Canadiens (1956) Stanley Cup Winner Season Canceled (2005)
Federal-Aid Highway Act of
1956 (29 pages)
Highway Law SAFETEA-LU (800+ pages)
Smoking Bad Habit Smoking
45's Teen Music iPods
"My Fair Lady" Movie Musical "Chicago"
"The Adventures of Superman" Superhero TV "Smallville
Jim Anderson on
"Father Knows Best"
TV Dad Ray Barone on
"Everybody Loves Raymond"
Johnny Unitas Quarterback Tom Brady
Three # of TV Channels 300+
BPR Agency Name FHWA
ARBA Contractor Group ARTBA
Mickey Spillane Writer of Thrillers Dan Brown
Trees Roadside View Noise barriers
Communism International Threat  Terrorism
"77 Sunset Strip" Teen TV Show "The O.C."
"Gunsmoke" TV Western "Deadwood"
Beatniks Alienation Trend Slackers
Nichols and May Comedy Team Will and Grace
Housewife Teen Dream (Girls) CEO
Baseball player Teen Dream (Boys) Football player
"Life" Magazine "Vanity Fair"
Antonino Rocca Wrestler (M) Triple H
The Fabulous Moolah Wrestler (F) Trish Stratus
John Wayne Action Star Vin Diesel
"War of the Worlds" Sci-Fi Movie "War of the Worlds"
New York Yankees (1956) World Series Winner Chicago White Sox(2005)
Stop motion Special Effects Computer Generated
Cary Grant Sex Symbol (M) Brad Pitt
Mickey Mantle Slugger Barry Bonds
"The Wild One" Rebel Movie "The Devil's Rejects"
Zsa Zsa Gabor Celebrity Paris Hilton
Marilyn Monroe Sex Symbol (F) Jessica Biel
Peter DeVries Humor Novelist Christopher Buckley
3-D Movie Gimmick IMAX
Drive-In Theatre Movie Viewing DVD
Alaska, Hawaii Not Yet States District of Columbia
James Dean Too Short Life Kurt Cobain
"Twenty-One" Quiz Show "Jeopardy"
Ted Mack's "Original Amateur Hour" Amateur TV Show "American Idol"
"Queen for a Day" Sad Appeals "Extreme Makeover-Home Edition"
Dick Clark's "American Bandstand" Music TV MTV
Mort Sahl Political Comedy Bill Maher
Telephone booth stuffing Teen Stunt Tongue piercing
Bridey Murphy Medium Alison BuBois
"Around the World in 80 Days" (1956) Best Picture Oscar "Million Dollar Baby" (2005)
Typewriter Office Tool PC
"Real gone" Teen Lingo (1) "Bomb!"
"Hang loose" Teen Lingo (2) "It's all good"
Howdy Doody Kid's TV Star SpongeBob SquarePants
Letter to the editor Express Yourself Blog
Closed circuit Pay TV Pay-per-view
Beat Teen Style Goth
3.8 million (1960) Bikes Sold 18.3 million (2004)
Golf President's Recreation Mountain biking
"Dragnet" TV Cop Show "CSI"
Sputnik Science Gap Educa. Crisis Dumbing of America
Egghead Smart Putdown Nerd
"Ten Commandments" Bible Movie "The Passion of the Christ"
Rosemary Clooney Pop Star (F) Sheryl Crow
Perry Como Pop Star (M) Paul McCartney
Homburg Hat (M) Off-center baseball cap
Flowery chapeau Hat (F) Sunglasses
EC Comics Comic Book Trend Graphic novels
"West Side Story" Broadway Hit "Monty Python's Spamalot"
"Confidential" Tabloid "National Enquirer"
Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier III Storybook Marriage Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck
Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher Splitsville Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt
Brigitte Bardot Foreign Movie Star Nicole Kidman
151 million (1950) USA Population 298 million (2005)
"Your Show of Shows" Sketch Comedy "Saturday Night Live"
Edward R. Murrow TV Commentator Bill O'Reilly
"I Love Lucy" Desperate Housewives "Desperate Housewives"
Omnibus Magazine TV Show "NBCs Dateline"
"Truth or Consequences" Stunt TV Show "Fear Factor"
"Black and White Telvision" Home Entertainment "HDTV"
Updated: 06/27/2017
Federal Highway Administration | 1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE | Washington, DC 20590 | 202-366-4000