Shunpikes

Residents of the Northeastern U.S. may be familiar with the concept of shunpikes. Though I lived in Massachusetts for five years and just learned of their existence recently.

A 'shunpike' is a road deliberately built, or taken, to avoid a toll road. It's short for 'shunning a turnpike'. This differentiates a shunpike from a 'freeway' which also doesn't have tolls, but wasn't deliberately built to avoid an existing toll road.

More info: wikipedia

image source: hmdb.org



Shunpikes are like the engineering equivalent of spite houses. Their purpose is to give the finger to someone else (the owner of the toll road). As such, they often inspire bitter grievances and feuds. Details of one such feud was reported in the Poughkeepsie Journal (June 3, 1962):

Dutchess Turnpike Co. was chartered in 1802 to build a new road from the Courthouse in the village of Poughkeepsie over the approximate path of the old Filkintown road for some 35 miles east to Sharon, Conn... The president of the Turnpike Co. was Jesse Oakley who had a storing, freighting and ferrying business at the Upper Landing, near the mouth of the Fallkill.

The principal landowner in the Lithgow area was old David Johnston who called his vast property and home Lithgow, a name borrowed by the little settlement nearby... David Johnson was so infuriated that the new turnpike was laid out considerably west of the old road, and so, quite a distance from his home, that he built the Shunpike on his own land...

Whatever the plans for the Shunpike were at that time, they certainly irked the Dutchess Turnpike Co. It published a notice, signed Jesse Oakley and dated Dec. 16, 1809, in the Poughkeepsie Journal of Dec. 20 telling of its intention of asking the next Legislature to permit to to change the location of its toll gates "from time to time in case any road shall be opened to permit travelers to pass around it. . ."

Residents of the Towns of Washington and Clinton promptly called an "Anti-Turnpike" meeting for Dec. 29.
     Posted By: Alex - Thu May 26, 2022
     Category: Highways, Roads, Streets and Traffic | Pranks and Revenge





Comments
Then we need a name for this kind of patio sculpture: "Man erects giant middle finger next door to ex-wife." Alan Markovitz is 'so over' his ex-wife, he bought the house next to hers and erected a 3.5 meter tall bronze patio statue of a hand with its middle finger raised, facing the windows of his ex-wife’s house.
https://nypost.com/2013/11/16/man-erects-giant-middle-finger-next-to-ex-wifes-house/

Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 05/26/22 at 01:11 PM
It's ironic that the shunpike sign says the battle for free travel on all Massachusetts roads was won in 1810. I've taken Route 2 (aka the Mohawk Trail) to avoid the tolls on the Mass Pike but primarily to avoid the traffic on the Pike as busy times. I highly recommend Route 2 for its scenery. I especially like the "Welcome to Florida" sign (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida,_Massachusetts) and the hairpin turn at North Adams.
Posted by ges on 05/26/22 at 11:30 PM
...only in the USA.

Only in the USA would this be necessary, and only in the USA would this be considered Sticking It To Da Man.

In France, these are official. Look up Bison Futé.
Posted by Richard Bos on 05/28/22 at 02:43 PM









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