History of Car Culture in the United States

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    Evolution of the Car Culture

  • Cars are built as a luxury item for the wealthy

  • Henry Bliss becomes the first American pedestrian to be killed after being struck by an automobile.

  • First Ford Model T is produced.

  • Henry Ford begins to pay assembly-line workers $5 a day.

    Ford used this raise in order to promote his employees to use their earnings on new automobiles.
  • Lincoln Highway, the first national highway is built.

    This highway travels cross country and was originally designed as an efficient way to transport military across the nation in the event of an emergency.
  • Fifty percent of American families own automobiles.

  • Garages become important selling points for expensive homes.

  • Strip malls become prominent across the nation

  • Royce Hailey's Pig Stand becomes the first roadside fast food restaurant.

  • White Tower becomes the first fast food franchise

  • First roadside motel, The Word, is established in California

  • Alfred P. Sloan of GM introduces idea of annual model change.

    This was done in order to keep customers dissatisfied and wanting new cars.
  • New Deal programs double the number of paved roads to 1.3 million miles.

    Funding for public transit by the New Deal was only 1/10th of that spent on roads.
  • In the 1930s, many major American oil companies are established.

    These companies included Shell, Mobil, Texaco, and Esso (now known as Exxon).
  • GM launches plan to buy up urban transit systems (street cars, trolleys) and replace them with buses.

  • GM forms National City Bus Lines.

    This bus line system was a consortium of Firestone, Mack Trucks, Phillips Petroleum, and Standard Oil Companies.
  • 41 million cars on the road in the United States.

    Despite this large number, many working class families still don't own vehicles at this time.
  • First motel franchise, Holiday Inn, is established in Tennessee

  • Construction begins on the Long Island Expressway

  • Reformed Church in America in Garden Grove, CA becomes the first drive-in church in the U.S.

  • Interstate Highway Act provides $50 billion over 10 years for interstate construction.

    Highway Trust Fund is established, allowing government to tax gasoline and tires for road-building funds. Just one percent of this fund was set aside for mass transit support.
  • Southdale Mall becomes first shopping mall in the nation, located in Minneapolis

  • First super regional mall is established in Fairfax, VA

  • 154 million vehicles on the road in the United States.