Cutting along the eastern edge of UMD’s campus, Route 1 is a familiar site and busy thoroughfare for students. Students roaming the sidewalks of Route 1 have immediate access to food, shopping, and housing. But that’s not all the highway has been used for over the years. Check out these changes to Route 1!
Farmers walk oxen down Route 1 near the Rossborough Inn, 1900.
This rural scene shows what Route 1 and College Park were like before the road became a bustling, paved main street. With the rise in popularity of the automobile, traffic on the road increased, and the state mandated that the road be paved in 1904. Officially designated “State Route No. 1,” the College Park segment of the road wasn’t paved until 1910.
Dairy cows crossing Route 1, 1933.
Widened and added to the official US highway system in 1926, Route 1 connects the country from Maine to Florida. But even as the road expanded, the sections around College Park remained rural. Cows and other livestock were frequently seen crossing the highway in the 1930s!
The growth of the University of Maryland drastically and rapidly changed the character of Route 1 in College Park. As the university expanded, businesses congregated along its waysides to cater to students. Stoplights were added, and the road was widened again in the 1940s to accommodate increased traffic. Below you can see the lit signs of businesses and the large number of cars parked along Route 1 in College Park after World War II.
Route 1 at night, 1949.
In the 1970s, Route 1 became a site of protest. In 1970, UMD students blocked this busy thoroughfare during protests against the escalation of Vietnam War into Laos and Cambodia. Similar scenes occurred again in 1971 and 1972. The National Guard was called to campus three times in three years.
Student protesters congregate on Route 1, 1970.
Today UMD students continue to have a deep appreciation for Route 1. In 2010, an alum named her online clothing company Route 1 Apparel. The company sells Maryland state pride and Maryland-themed clothing. Additionally, many of students’ favorite hangout spots are in Route 1’s many restaurants, bars, and coffee shops.
Route 1 at night, 2018. Photo credit: Washington Post
More changes are on the way for US highway 1. The street will intersect with WMATA’s new Purple Line that is scheduled to open in 2022, and new businesses continue to spring up along the street.
From cows to light rail transit, Route 1 has seen it all!