Old School Air Mail Markers Still Guide Travelers

  • Nov 18, 2013 9:35am GMT

Gone are the days of re-purposed World War I planes delivering our mail. Sigh. But the giant stone arrows placed along the air mail routes remain in place, guiding travelers... if they are really, really off the beaten path.

In 1918 the U.S. Postal Service formally established it's transcontinental air mail service, not only using the old war planes, but using many of the veteran Army Air Corps pilots as carriers.

These giant, forgotten arrows - some between 50 and 70 feet long - can still be found along the air mail route, show in this close up photo of an old post card.

Of course, as cool as I think it would be now-a-days to get my mail delivered via vintage aircraft, apparently back then folks weren't happy with this operation. It led to the Air Mail scandal of 1934, a messy PR nightmare for the Roosevelt Administration.

Even though it was a black eye for that administration, the scandal let to the growth of the airline industry and the modernization of the Air Corps.

So thanks, old concrete arrows. Not only do you still guide wayward travelers, you remind us that well-intentioned government operations can still go awry, and that we haven't learned anything since the 30's :)

For the full story and pics about the arrows, visit the Messy Nessy Chic, here.