Thursday, April 19, 2012

Safety, Courtesy, Dependability

Did you ever see a bit of ephemera that was so full of wonderful design that it made your heart skip a beat?  I got that feeling when I came across this Milwaukee Transit Guide Map:


Isn't it DREAMY??  Firstly, it falls into my favorite time period - late 40s-early 50s (1953, to be exact!).  The color is eye-catching, and the friendly bus driver - of course it's a white male for this time period - is reassuring and dependable (Heaven forbid a woman drive a bus!  Why, she'd crash it the first day!).


What really cracks me up is the "Rates of Fare" portion - in Milwaukee, which at this point was a booming metropolis, one could obtain a weekly pass for TWO BUCKS.  Cash fare was only 15 cents.  Yes, yes, I know that this was in keeping with how much folks made for the time period, which was around $4000/year.  But that in and of itself sounds quaint, doesn't it?  (Side note:  My dad, who was born in 1920, told me once that his first house he owned, in 1946, cost $1500, with a mortgage payment of $35/month, and the yearly property taxes were $50.  *SIGH*)

Here's the true beauty of the brochure - the MAP.  Because this was one of the items I bought in Wisconsin Dells last weekend, I showed it to my in-laws when Brian and I returned to the condo where we were staying.  Brian and his dad are big map people, and they both noticed right away that there are none of the major thoroughfares that exist today (for those of you who live in our area - notice the lack of Interstate 94 and Hwys 41 and 43!).  The biggest highway back then is one of the least traveled today - Hwy 175, which still runs through our Main Street here in Fond du Lac (remember when all highways traveled right through towns?).

Aside from the map logistics, aren't those colors just marvelous?  I am really torn with this map - on the one hand, it's a great piece of Milwaukee history and I admire it for that, but on the other hand I see all of those tiny red and yellow squares and I envision a super-cool collage or tiny bit for a pendant.  What to do?

Readers, I need your help on this - let's do an informal poll!  I'll put it up on Facebook if you'd like to follow along.  If you don't use Facebook, you can answer here, too.  Here's the question:

Say you bought this map because you loved it.  But it also contains many bits of collagey goodness.  Would you:

 A. Keep the map intact - it's a delicious slice of Milwaukee history!
B.  Use if for collages - it's only paper, after all!
C.  Save the cover and the back, and go to town on the rest

Thanks in advance for your help!  :D


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