According to RailRoadCity.com, when the Horseshoe Curve railroad track in Altoona, Pa. opened in 1854, it was a huge innovation for its time. Once the track opened, people could cross Pennsylvania at practically lightning speed: 15 hours!
Pennsylvania is a wide state, but you can probably drive from border to border in about 5 or 6 hours, present day.
As you can see, I did a little research for this postcard post. I know about the train track because it's local, and it's named after a minor baseball team in that town, but didn't know all of the details about why a railroad track that makes a 180 degree turn had so much fame.
The back of the postcard reads:
World famous Horseshoe Curve showing parking area visited by hundreds of tourists each year, Altoona, Pa.
Because of the topography in Western Pennsylvania being so hilly, traveling in the 1800s was very laborious, especially if trying to cross parts of the state with Appalachian Mountains.
I love the picturesque hills and trees of the region, but it still sometimes is a pain in the ass to get around. Haha. Pittsburgh is known not only for its bridges (rumor has it that Pittsburgh is home to more bridges than Florence, Italy), but for its tunnels and great scenic views, mostly because of the hills here.
I picked this postcard up in an antique shop last summer, I think, not far from where Altoona is located. I loved it because of the beautiful foliage; autumn is my favorite season. And the old cars in the photo are great. With the cars, my guess is the picture was probably taken in the late 1950s or early 1960s.
This is also the first postcard I decided to buy, eventually sparking this feature and my ridiculous postcard collection. We'll also be going through Altoona on an upcoming train trip Mark and I have planned. How exciting, right??
Are there any weird historical innovations that are known in your town or region?