An American Automobile Association travel map held by special collections at the University of Delaware shows Elkton as it appeared in 1919.
In that year immediately after World War I, many of the 20th century changes people are familiar with today were yet to take place. The building of Route 40 wouldn’t happen for a couple more decades, so Main Street handled the heavy road traffic between Philadelphia and Baltimore. Lodging for weary motorist was available at the Felton House, Howard House Hotel and the Maryland Lodge.
It would also be a few more decades before the railroad straightened the tracks through town, moving the station and the line to its current location. So anyone planning to catch the cars went to the station on the south side of Railroad Avenue. The High School was on Mackall Street and Howard Street hadn’t been extended from the cemetery to Bridge Street. Elkton industries such as the Scott Fertilizer Company, the Ice Plant and Mill appeared on the map.
Accompanying the map were the complicated travel directions, showing the twists, turns, and landmarks for those early, venturesome motorists. As the state highway network wasn’t in place yet, the guide notes turns and landmarks, to assist the driver. When coming into Elkton from Newark it indicates the driver should go to the end of the road and then turn left onto Court Street. On your way on down the road to North East, you crossed a “covered wood bridge.”
The map was located by searching the Digital Public Library of America and as the University of Delaware has digitized resources in special collections, it was available online.
Thanks DPLA and U of DE. The 1918 AAA Blue Book is from a private collection.