1954 Travelmat Place Mat Map of Highway 40 in California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado

Travel mat Scenic Hi-Way U.S. 40. - Main View

1954 Travelmat Place Mat Map of Highway 40 in California, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado


'The Main Street of America'.


Travel mat Scenic Hi-Way U.S. 40.
  1954 (dated)     9 x 12.5 in (22.86 x 31.75 cm)


This is a 1954 Travelmats Corporation of America pictorial 'Travel mat' illustrating stops along U.S. Route 40 - 'The Main Street of America' - on a stretch spanning four states from San Francisco, California, to Denver, Colorado. Route 40 was one of the first US Highways, having been created in 1926; it once spanned the continent, from San Francisco to Atlantic City.
A Closer Look
The map covers route 40 - exclusively - noting the distances between important waypoints as it passes from California to Nevada to Utah, and into Colorado. It identifies towns, restaurants, parks, hotels, and motels, along with suggesting interesting stopping points. Some locations feature short descriptions and summaries of services available. Specific attractions along the way are illustrated - the continental divide, the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City, and Bing Crosby's ranch in Elko, Nevada. The Donner Monument in Truckee is pictured (the featured dining establishment there, the Donner Lake Lodge, touts an unsurpassed view of Donner Lake, offers reservations, and boasts 'the finest food served in cheerful, quiet surroundings'. There is no reference to special rates for parties.
The Bygone Main Street of America
U.S. Route 40 had been built upon earlier routes - along the pictured sections, it ran along what had been known as the Victory Highway, created in 1921 and dedicated to American forces who died in World War I. Today, route 40's western terminus is just short of Salt Lake City, where it joins Interstate 80 at Silver Summit.
Travelmats Corporation of America
The Travelmats Corporation of America (1948 - c. 1972) was an American advertising and publishing company based in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin founded by J. Alvin Dru'yor. Travelmats manufactured place mats of well-traveled highways and distributed them to restaurants, motels, hotels, and other places frequented by tourists across the United States. The company began publishing its 'Adventures in Travel' guidebook, or 'map-book' in 1948. In 1963, Dru'yor stated that businesses nominated for their guidebook should have a parking lot, good food, be modern and clean, and give the traveler outstanding value and service. By 1965, the company, which was started as an offshoot of a weekly newspaper in Prairie du Chien, grew to nearly 4,000 subscribers and was the second largest company in the United States that provided tourist information. Travelmat's ultimate fate is unclear, but it is known that Dru'yor retired in 1972.
Publication History and Census
Not all Travelmats were clearly dated; happily, this one bears a 1954 copyright. We see no other examples of this on the market, and there are no examples of this specific Travel Mat listed in OCLC. The Newberry Library has an impressive collection of Travel Mats, but this span of Hi-Way 40 is not among them.


J. Alvin Dru'yor (August 18, 1903 - April 29, 1990) was an American newspaperman and publisher. Born in Wall Lake, Iowa, Dru'yor graduated from high school in Cherokee, Iowa, after which he attended advertising school in Indiana. He worked for the Cherokee Times and the Elkader Register before moving to Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin in 1928 where they purchased the Crawford County Press. He founded the Travelmats Corporation of America in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, in 1948 as a secondary business to the Crawfordd Country Press, which he sold in 1954 to work full-time at Travelmats to continue to foster its success. He worked at Travelmats until 1972. Dru'yor was a member of the Kiwanis Club, the Masonic Lodge, an the Great River Road Commission, a board member fo the Prarie du Chien Foundation and a founding member of the Chamber of Commerce. He married his wife Inez Bock in Tampa, Florida on February 6, 1928, with whom he had one daughter. More by this mapmaker...


Very good. Some toning and wear to right edge.