Airmail in the Early Days

All over the USA, Seventy foot concrete arrows can be found in remote locations. Follow them, and they’ll point you out of the desert.


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They come courtesy of the US Postal Service’s Air Force and will point you all the way across the continental United States.


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They were constructed in 1924 to guide postal planes in the right direction as they carried mail from coast to coast.


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These old planes couldn’t rely on radio as much at the time, so they used these arrows, along with beacon towers, to navigate.

 

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The arrows and beacons bisect the United States

from San Francisco to New York City.

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The towers were 50 feet tall and fixed with gas lights

that could be seen from 10 miles away, in order to help

lost pilots find their way.

 

 

This is a model of the arrows and towers in their heyday.

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World War II brought new advances in radio technology effectively making the towers and arrows system obsolete. The towers were mostly dismantled.


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There has been an effort to restore and preserve some of them, however. Like this one in New Mexico complete with its generator shack.


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This is a pretty cool piece of history, even if it was short lived. To think of those early postal pilots navigating like this from coast to coast is mind blowing.


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