Thursday, August 20, 2015

Momento of more financially flush times

These markers are every mile or two along US101 (where I spent several hours driving today). They're on both sides of the highway. That means there are hundreds of them. They were originally placed by the El Camino Real Association which must have had funds burning holes in their pockets back in the 20th century. At least they saved a few bucks making the bells from cast iron instead of bronze.

The bells were prone to theft, so the state decided to step in as caretakers, replacing bells whenever they went missing. Imagine a state legislature today saying, "Sure, why not. We'll allocate funds every year for something nonessential." There must have been some heavy-duty lobbying to make that happen. At least the replacements were made of concrete to save money and make them less attractive to thieves.

Furthermore, claiming US101 follows the historic El Camino Real is playing fast and loose with the facts. As this article explains:
The message implied by the presence of the mission bells -- that motorists' tires trace the same path as the missionaries' sandals -- is largely a myth imagined by regional boosters and early automotive tourists.
What? Businesses making things up to attract customers? Unheard of!

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