Friday, October 20, 2006

A Small Town America Musing

I live in a rural small town. It’s actually the largest town for a hundred miles in any direction, so I don’t often think of it as all that small. The population is about 11,000.

Every now and then I hear a phrase that suddenly jolts me into realizing how far removed from the mainstream we really are.

Like this one.

“The 4 lanes.”

I have not heard it in a while. I used to hear it all the time.

It’s a stretch of road about a mile long and has two lanes in each direction. The speed limit is 50 mph. The 4 lanes have been here as long as I can remember and used to provide the axis for almost all of the directions given in this town. Nobody ever called the road by its proper name.

“Which park?”

“The one off the 4 lanes.”

“Where is that church?”

“Turn right at the light on the 4 lanes.”

“Where is that gas station?”

“Where the 4 lanes turn back into two lanes.”

With the nearest freeway 100 miles away, the 4 lanes were quite significant to this small town when they were built way back in the mid 60's. You could now pass people going in the same direction that you were going! Prior to the mass travel era, the 4 Lanes were as close to expressway driving as some from this area ever experienced.

As the older townspeople give way to a younger, more travel savvy generation, the term "4 Lanes" is used less often. When I heard it used today, it brought back a flood of old memories.

Here's rush hour on the 4 Lanes on Wednesday night.

Here's rush hour on an expressway.

Yes, the 4 Lanes represent small town life at its finest.


  1. After city living for 15+ years, this country girl finally got to move back! Our little town has a population of 2,400 people and I love it! Working at the local clinic, I have gotten to know most of the folks around here. It's the kind of place where everyone pitches in if anyone is in need. Our nearest 4 lane road is 50 miles from here! "-)

  2. Gee you are really rural. We have Route one about 3 miles away-two lanes going each way for as long as I can remember. And that was rush hour? Not bad at all.
    But they still fill the holes in our road here with tar and gravel. They did upgrade abit and gave us a double yellow line a few years ago. : )

  3. 11,000 is HUGE compared to the village we live near. Blink on the way past and you miss it!

  4. Giddy and Kerrie, I guess I am not as rural as I thought!

    Dianne, I pictured you as being "big city". More like the bottom picture I posted.??

  5. Oh no,we have 1.4 acres-it use to be more rural around here, but we have some new housing developments popping up. I live near horses and mushroom farms. The closer you get to Philly, you get more traffic, not quite like the photo (which is probably California?).


I appreciate you taking the time and effort to leave a comment. I will try to answer any questions you have. Please note due to Blogger changing word verification so almost nobody can read it, I have had to change to no word verification and only allow registered users to comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...