On December 20, 1893, this petition for the establishment of a department of roads was rolled out onto the Senate floor and referred to the Committee on Interstate Commerce for consideration. The petition is over 6 feet high, one of the largest petitions in the holdings of the National Archives. The printed sheets of approximately 150,000 signatures are attached and wound around two gigantic wooden spools, reminiscent of bicycle wheels. The petition was organized and funded by Colonel Albert Pope, known as the father of the American bicycle.
The petition prompted the creation and funding of an office to conduct road research. The office would later become the Federal Highways Administration.
Petition for the Establishment of a Roads Department, Referred to the Committee on Interstate Commerce (2600933), 12/20/1893, Records of the U.S. Senate
“It is the intent of the Congress that the Interstate System be completed as nearly as practicable over a thirteen-year period and that the entire System in all the States be brought to simultaneous completion. Because of it’s primary importance to the national defense, the name of such system is hereby changed to the “National System of Interstate and Defense Highways.”
National Interstate and Defense Highways Act
An ardent supporter of a “modern, interstate highway system,” ever since his experience in the arduous 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy, President Eisenhower signed this bill into law on the 29th of June, 1956. The act authorized the building of highways throughout the nation, which would be the biggest public works project in the nation’s history.
"New Roosevelt Dam Salt River Project Ariz." Pencil and ink on tracing linen By Vitaliano, November 29, 1982
Constructed between 1903 and 1911 by the U. S. Reclamation Service, the historic Theodore Roosevelt Dam was extensively redesigned between 1984 and 1996.
In 1933, after submitting an outline for an introductory photographic survey of Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) projects, Lewis W. Hine was hired to do a one month assignment in East Tennessee. This photo of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) workers was taken November 17, 1933.
"Newly-arrived replacements at CCC Camp, TVA #22, near Esco, Tennessee, lined up before their first meal in camp. The boys arrived at New Tazewell on November 17, 1933, in day coaches form New York, tired and hungry, but eager for their new life. For many of these boys, this was their first time away from home."
September 30, 1935 - Hoover Dam Dedicated by President Franklin Roosevelt
Five years of work, an average of 3,500 workers a day - here’s a look at the construction of the Hoover Dam.
"High-scalers at work on the Arizona intake towers location some 550’ above the level of the Colorado River. The background seen is the Nevada side of the canyon.", 07/28/1932
Photograph from a series documenting the construction of Hoover Dam, Boulder City, Nevada.