Today marks an anniversary in Chicago, Illinois. On this day in 1961, the first section of the Dan Ryan Expressway was opened. Mobile Ed performers are very familiar with the Dan Ryan, as we travel it often bringing our assembly programs into Chicago from Michigan or where ever they have been the week before.
The Dan Ryan is, of course, part of the Interstate Highway system that covers the United States, carrying at different times, Interstate 90 and Interstate 94. Most of us just think of it as “the freeway” or “the expressway”.
The Interstate system was begun under President Eisenhower, through the Federal Highway Act of 1956. It is now a system comprising more than 47,000 miles of roadway, the second largest in the world, after that of China. I think our school show presenters have driven on just about every one of those long miles. We have come a long way since the beginning of roads in this country. Many cities originally covered roads in pavers, bricks, cobble stones or even wooden planks (which was a popular option in Michigan), before the first truly paved roads appeared. And where was that? Why, in Motown, of course!
The first stretch of paved road in this country was a mile long stretch of the famous Woodward Avenue in Detroit, between 6 Mile Road and 7 Mile Road. It was built in 1909, not far, as you would imagine, from the new Ford plant in Highland Park, Michigan. What a coincidence!
Of course, the first real controlled access highways were built in Germany not long after that, and that famous “Autobahn” system became the model for not only our Interstate system, but for high speed motorways around the world.
The Interstate System in this country has allowed our economy to become the largest in the world, carrying staggering amounts of people, materials and goods all over the nation every day. And also carrying a few brave school assembly performers. These intrepid soles venture out every day, often in vehicles that have themselves racked up hundreds and hundreds of thousands of miles, traveling to cities and towns nationwide, delivering high quality educational school shows to school children in more than thirty states. And they do it with a smile!
by Geoff Beauchamp
Geoff Beauchamp is the Regional Manager of Mobile Ed Productions where "Education Through Entertainment" has been the guiding principal since 1979. Mobile Ed Productions produces and markets quality educational school assembly programs in the fields of science, history, writing, astronomy, natural science, mathematics, character issues and a variety of other curriculum based areas. In addition, Mr. Beauchamp is a professional actor with 30 years of experience in film, television and on stage. He created and still performs occasionally in Mobile Ed's THE LIVING LINCOLN