I've always assumed billboards arrived with automobile travel, but this Laraway plate from Glenwood, Iowa, circa 1900, proves me wrong. To the left of the carriage there's a billboard advertising "Lake Manawa" and another one questioning "Do You Know Uneeda Biscuit?". There are also 5 or more billboards on the right side of the road though I can't read them. How far back do billboards go? Did the Romans put Circus Maximus billboards along the Appian Way?
Lake Manawa is and was a popular recreation area in Iowa, and Uneeda Biscuits were a cracker produced by the National Biscuit Company (later Nabisco) all the way up to 2009. If you have any boxes in your cupboards, I'm sure they're still fine.
The road looks pretty wet
Jeff Bryant on 19th December 2022 @ 8:24am
I didn't think there were any hills that big in Iowa.
Harold on 19th December 2022 @ 10:37am
I know you've got better tools available with the prints, but is it possible that what appears to be billboards in the distance are actually railroad box cars?
starboard on 19th December 2022 @ 11:39am
A bunch of answers: this was from a series of images from a major flood in Glenwood, Iowa. Iowa does have rolling hills in this area, but what looks like a big hill is actually a defect in the negative. And yes, there are railroad boxcars in the distance. The billboards are in the mid-field, not the distance, and the billboards would be readable by people on the road or trains.
ArthurB on 19th December 2022 @ 12:33pm
Thanks Arthur, and thanks for all you do for this site. Happy Holidaze All!
starboard on 19th December 2022 @ 2:00pm
Looks like Lake Manawa came to Glenwood.
The Missouri is not far from Glenwood. There is also a Kegg Creek that runs through the town.
I wonder what the crop is on the right. Doesn't really look like corn.
L.E. on 19th December 2022 @ 5:13pm
This makes me think the horse and buggy era was a better option than our modern cars for dealing with flooded roads...unless you bogged down and got stuck in the mud. I was hoping that Arthur spotted a Burma Shave sign up there along the road.
kmb on 19th December 2022 @ 7:10pm
yes, sometimes the old technology works better. steam locomotives do low level floods better than our current diesel electrics....ukaine has brought out some steam locomotives to pull trains where their electric grid is down. Adolf used steam locomotives during WW II because he didn't have diesel but had coal. yes, my toyota camry does NOT do much water.
Arlen Sheldrake on 20th December 2022 @ 9:45am