California Highways in 1961

Cover of 1961 map

The 1960s could be considered to be the apex of California's highway construction program, with numerous freeways and other highways built. This map shows California highways as they were in 1961.

The California Department of Highways, the ancestor to what's now known as Caltrans, published annual reports starting in the late 1940s. Included in each annual report was a detailed highway map of the state. They're similar -- if not identical -- to the official road maps that were published. But they were folded to a different size and shape.

Unlike later maps produced by commercial publishers, this map was hand-drawn. The front of the map covered the entire state. It was in color. There were freeways on the map, but they were shown by a thicker casing around the color coding of the route as indicated by the map's legend. In practice, that thicker casing was rather hard to differentiate from the casing shown for other routes.

The front of the map also included insets for the Los Angeles region and the San Francisco Bay Area. Those insets were also in color. The rear of the map showed detailed maps for several major California cities.

From this page, you can access fair use excerpts of the map. The scans of the map have been color-corrected to compensate for yellowing of the paper. The map itself is in excellent condition, with no tears, pinholes, or stains.

Technical Info: These are huge scans, averaging 1.5 MB each. Scanning at such a large size was necessary in order to show the detail that this map provides. The areas shown by the scans overlap.

Regional Sections

Regional Insets

Detail Maps of Major Cities

Mark Roberts
Oakland, California
E-mail: Please see the Contact Information page.
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Disclaimer: This is an unofficial site. Route logs and other information have been the result of research through official state maps and other publications, as well as personal observation. All photographs at this web site were taken by me, copyright 1999-2015, Mark Roberts, all rights reserved, unless otherwise noted.