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Author Topic: Florida's colored shields  (Read 60430 times)

flaroads

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Florida's colored shields
« on: January 19, 2009, 01:21:49 AM »

Here are some blast from the past photos of some of Florida's famous colored shields:


A Junction assembly for US 41 and US 27



Directional assembly for US 41 and US 27



Junction US 98 sign facing the wrong direction



A very faded US 29 directional sign



US 441 directional assembly



Directional assembly for US 17 and US 92 (along with CR 555 and CR 557
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deathtopumpkins

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #1 on: January 19, 2009, 01:33:42 AM »

Anyone care to explain the scheme behind the coloring of Florida signs? I've always thought that was neat and unusual, but never known why they did them that way.
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flaroads

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #2 on: January 19, 2009, 01:49:07 AM »

Anyone care to explain the scheme behind the coloring of Florida signs? I've always thought that was neat and unusual, but never known why they did them that way.

They were done that way starting in 1956 to help tourists in the state.  Transportation officials thought at the time it would make it easier for tourists visiting the state to figure out the routes they needed to take.  Plus, I am sure a part of it was to attract more visitors to the "Sunshine State" by having it's US Highway routes in bright colors (except for the reversed black and white 98).  By the mid nineties though, those thoughts were thrown out the window, especially when the federal government stepped in and told the state that the colored shields would no longer be federally funded.  Thus ended a great era of the US Highway system in the state of Florida.
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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #3 on: January 19, 2009, 02:03:08 AM »

hmm... thats an interesting backstory. Sounds like a good idea, but I understand why the federal government pulled out...
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agentsteel53

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2009, 03:29:29 AM »

many states had colored shields; Florida is just the most well-known since theirs was so long-lasting.  1993 officially is when the program ended: I've seen a yellow US-301 (the only 30x24 Floridachrome US shield I know of; all 3dus shields other than that are 24x24) in Pasco County with an installation date of 1996!



Mississippi, for example, used colored shields from 1938 to 1980 or so; same basic idea as Florida, as far as I know, and they extended it to state shields too. 



They only used the colored shields in cities where highways were liable to be multiplexed together - the rural areas had the standard black and whites.  Nowadays, Mississippi uses blue instead of black to identify its scenic routes; as far as I know, only state routes have been deemed scenic.  I don't know of any blue/white US shields in the Mississippi.

Connecticut employed a similar scheme (each route gets its own color) from 1952 until the early 60s or so.  So did Rhode Island, but I know very little about their scheme, other than that I have a blue US-44 on my wall, and I remember, as late as 1988, seeing a red US-1 sitting in the wild. 

South Dakota used a similar scheme based on colors for each route, but I don't know very much about it, other than that it was used between 1940 and 1955 or so, and that only the lower half of the shield was colored.  The crown, with the words "SOUTH DAKOTA" remained white with black legend.

(Much later, the town of Huron, South Dakota marked their business loop US-14 with green and white US cutout shields to reflect the color scheme of business interstate highways.  The signs were produced in the late 90s and, as of 2006 when I was last there, several were still around.)



Some other places had colored shields based on direction.  Washington DC and Arizona each used a different color for the four cardinal directions - so, for example, one had Arizona US 66 shields in brown (east) or blue (west). 

Idaho still marks their scenic highways with brown shields on a white square.  I am not sure when they started this, but they've been going at it for a while; the oldest scenic brown/white shield I know of is from 1949. 

Kansas marked US-56 in green from 1950 to the late 70s, because the old Santa Fe Trail markers, denoting the 1910s road that was later signed US-56, were green and white.  Similarly, Wyoming marked US-20 in yellow until the mid-1930s because it led to Yellowstone National Park.

Many states, primarily in the midwest, used yellow-background shields to mark city routes (later known as business routes) as early as 1927.  The 1931 MUTCD officially forbade yellow as a route marker color, reserving it only for cautionary signs, and some states dutifully complied (Missouri, for example), while others kept on posting the yellow shields until the 50s (Wisconsin) and even as late as the 70s (Nebraska).  This example is faded completely so that the yellow cannot be seen...



Similarly, New Mexico used a blue background, instead of white, to label its business routes in the 50s and early 60s... and a lot of states use shields with green instead of black for business routes.  Georgia, Maryland, and Minnesota come to mind.



Indiana used blue and yellow shields for several brief intervals, in the 30s and the 50s, as those are the colors of the state flag.

Some states, including Iowa and Arizona, experimented with "inverse color" shields (black background, white legend) to increase snow visibility.  This was done mainly in the 1930s before reflective technology was developed to outshine the snow.

Similarly, North Carolina experimented with yellow shields in the early 1950s for generally improved visibility while trying to save money by not investing in Scotchlite sheeting. 

There is something about Appalachian Development Corridors that results in white and blue shields in Alabama and Georgia.  I know very little about this!

That is just about all I know about colored US shields.  Many states use colored shields for their state routes, but they do not differentiate among the routes - for example, California shields are all green and white, and Minnesota are all blue, gold and white. 

If anyone has further information about colored highway markers - including pictures... mmm, sweet sweet pictures! - then please let me know!
« Last Edit: January 19, 2009, 03:37:13 AM by agentsteel53 »
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agentsteel53

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2009, 03:31:27 AM »

Brent - I know exactly where that 41/27 gantry is!



I hope it is still there!

if anyone would like to see more photos of old signs ... agentsteel53.livejournal.com - every photo I've ever processed :)
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Alex

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2009, 02:57:40 PM »

The Pasco US 301 shields are gone now. In fact, so are the reverse colored U.S. 98 shields at the end of Pasco 54. They likely have none left.

Also the US 19/98 at Gulf Hammock may have been Joelered. It was reported gone (don't know if it was replaced).

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2009, 06:52:41 AM »

Canberra, Australia still does something similar.

Each major route has an unique colour assigned to it... I suppose the same thing was done here. :P
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flaroads

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #8 on: January 21, 2009, 11:22:25 AM »

Canberra, Australia still does something similar.

Each major route has an unique colour assigned to it... I suppose the same thing was done here. :P

Yes, each US route in Florida was represent by a specific colour.  Those colours included orange, black, red, green, blue, brown and yellow.  And different routes could have the same colour, like for instance, US 17 and US 301 were represented in yellow.  Two colors, though, orange and black, were only used once and were used on US 41 (orange) and US 98 (black) only because those routes intersected all other colour schemes in the system and the state felt that would confuse motorists (though there was the rare occurance of the US 192 and US 27 interchange where both shield colours were green).
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Alex

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #9 on: January 21, 2009, 11:28:32 AM »

And the U.S. 27 and 192 confluence was just because U.S. 192 was extended west from Kissimmee to Four Corners during the coloured shield era.

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2009, 02:21:34 PM »

17/301/etc were more orange than yellow (before they started to fade!) and 41 was coral, except in Nipples, who never got the message and made some 41s the 301-orange.  Oops.
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flaroads

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2009, 02:34:36 PM »

17/301/etc were more orange than yellow (before they started to fade!) and 41 was coral, except in Nipples, who never got the message and made some 41s the 301-orange.  Oops.

Same difference.  I was just trying to simplify the colour scheme for others, and not trying to get too technical with the specific shades of colour. 
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Shadow Assassin

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #12 on: January 24, 2009, 08:51:02 AM »

Quote
Nipples

 :crazy:

Perhaps pink would've been suitable for them. :P
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agentsteel53

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #13 on: January 26, 2009, 06:29:34 PM »

this is the old kind, not the scenic route circles?

do you have photos?
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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2009, 12:20:59 PM »

The October 1946 issue of _Mississippi Highways_ states, "The system of colored highway markers replace the conventional black and white markers through Mississippi cities having two or more routes which might be confusing to motorists."  The coloured signs began at city limits with a sign reading {(red 49) (blue 51) (yellow Business Route 80) Colored Markers Through Jackson}.  By May 1953, the program included the cities of Jackson, Columbus, Greenwood, Vicksburg, Meridian, Laurel, Natchez and Hattiesburg.

Pictures of two Miss. 11 blue shields can be found at http://www.southeastroads.com/hattiesburg.html.
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agentsteel53

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #15 on: January 27, 2009, 04:41:18 PM »

yellow 80!  good to know!

the US 11s are gone.  Only one was left in September 2006, and by July 2008 that one was gone too.
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agentsteel53

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #16 on: January 27, 2009, 04:44:53 PM »

so here is what I know now

US-11 = blue
US-45 = green
US-49 = yellow or red
US-49E = red
US-51 = blue or green
US-61 = green
US-72 = red
US-78 = red
US-80 = yellow
US-82 = blue
US-278 = blue
MS-6 = yellow
MS-7 = green
MS-15 = blue
MS-30 = green or blue

I'm not sure where they used different colors, but multiple sources identify multiple colors for the ones I've indicated.  Maybe each city had its own scheme??
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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2009, 08:11:18 AM »

Also the US 19/98 at Gulf Hammock may have been Joelered. It was reported gone (don't know if it was replaced).
If they were Joelered (which I assume is another way of saying...umm...swiped by a certain individual), they weren't replaced with new shields. 

Does anyone know if Brown US 441 or 221, Red US 1 or 29, or Green US 23 are still out there somewhere?  I think I have pictures of all the rest (except Green 331, which I understand to be totally gone now).  I thought I knew where a brown 441 was, but apparently they were replaced a year or two ago.  (I also thought I had a picture of a red END US 1, but I found the print...and it's black & white.)

Here's a couple of pix:


This is (as of Dec 2008) the only yellow 231 in Jackson County FL.

Blue 90


The joy that is Chiefland FL  :)

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #18 on: January 28, 2009, 12:01:41 PM »

Yes, those Gulf Hammock ones must have been Joelered if they are simply gone. When I photographed them a couple of years ago, I was able to pull over and partially block the westbound lane and stand there for a good minute setting up my pic and not a single car went by.  :-/

There are a few U.S. 29's left, but they are all sun-bleached to oblivion. Here's a look at what's left of the one on Escambia 164 eastbound:



There are no brown U.S. 221's, green U.S. 331's, or green U.S. 23's out there. I know of one U.S. 1 red in Boca Raton. I have not posted a photo of it, but its on the U.S. 1 Florida wikipedia page.

The one set of U.S. 441's that were coloured south of Mt. Dora were carbon copied (as were several U.S. 27/41's in southwest Alachua County):



You can somewhat see the brown version of these on Google Street View. Note the one-piece design, which is a direct reflection of the original color assembly.

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #19 on: January 28, 2009, 02:34:56 PM »

there was another red 1 in New Smyrna Beach as of December, 2006.  Is that gone?
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flaroads

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #20 on: January 28, 2009, 02:56:28 PM »

there was another red 1 in New Smyrna Beach as of December, 2006.  Is that gone?

Are you talking about the one near Florida 44?
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agentsteel53

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #21 on: January 28, 2009, 02:58:58 PM »

yes - on a side street to a side street, I think
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flaroads

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #22 on: January 28, 2009, 03:00:19 PM »

Okay, it's the one I was thinking of (being on a side street).  Well, I went to look before I moved from the area and it has been replaced with the standard black and white shield. :(
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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #23 on: January 30, 2009, 07:33:18 AM »

Thanks for the info.  I took my wife along when I went poking around Panama City for yellow 231s and black 98s, as well as our stop in Chiefland.  Then on the way back north we went hunting along US 301 -- she was the one who actually spotted the shield over there <---.  Anyway, she told me she had so much fun, that she wants to go back (soon!) and try hunting for more.

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Re: Florida's colored shields
« Reply #24 on: January 30, 2009, 12:33:57 PM »

Thanks for the info.  I took my wife along when I went poking around Panama City for yellow 231s and black 98s, as well as our stop in Chiefland.  Then on the way back north we went hunting along US 301 -- she was the one who actually spotted the shield over there <---.  Anyway, she told me she had so much fun, that she wants to go back (soon!) and try hunting for more.

Cool!! Glad to hear that she enjoyed the "hunt".  Yes, I like to do it as well.  I'm trying hard not to reveal the exact locations though because there are those out there that would do anything to get their hands on some of these shields.  I'd rather see them remain intact for as long as possible, or if I can obtain one legally that would be cool also :)
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