Thursday, September 22, 2005

Random Trivia

Back in the days before state and federal highways, roads were basically maintained on their own. Private stretches of roads would be closed off to people. They could, however, travel on these private roads, if they paid a certain fee. These days we recognize that fee as a toll. How did the Powers That Be ensure people paid the toll? They would take a large log, called a pike, and place it at a point in the road. The only way to get your carriage past the pike was to pay the toll, at which case the attendent would rotate the pike on its axis (usually a post it was attached to, think of a gate). From this practice of turning the log we get the term turnpike.

1 comment:

Weary Hag said...

I know you'll find this rather odd, but I've wondered about this for a long time. The New Jersey Turnpike is one of my least favorite roads, largely due to the tolls one has to pay and the crazy traffic. Now, how in the world did we manage to get a "parkway?" :)