Nevada July 15, 2019
Most People Don’t Know The Story Behind These Massive Concrete Arrows In Nevada
It doesn’t matter how long you’ve lived in Nevada, it seems like there’s always something new to uncover about our glorious state. There will always be places that you never knew existed and stories you’ve never heard before, including the one featured here. If you’ve spent a lot of time exploring the Nevada backcountry then you might’ve come across these giant concrete arrows placed in the ground. Many people pass by them without a second thought, but it turns out there is a fascinating story behind them. Keep reading to find out exactly why these arrows were placed here, and no, it has nothing to do with aliens!
Have you ever stumbled across these humongous concrete arrows during your adventures in Nevada? If so, you've probably wondered where exactly they came from, and why they are here. It turns out there's a completely sensical explanation and it has to do with air travel.
When airplanes were first taking off (pun completely intended), there was no such thing as high-tech navigation systems...or any navigation system at all. Navigating the skies proved to be a difficult task. The solution? These arrows.
An intricate network of beacons and arrows was placed all across the country in order to lead pilots from destination to destination. They were specifically placed here to guide the country's earliest airmail service called the Transcontinental Airway System.
The Transcontinental Airway System was deployed during the 1920s. Comprised of 2,665-miles that stretched from New York to San Francisco, the system made it possible to deliver mail from coast-to-cast in just two business days.
In order to safely guide pilots from city to city, the Post Office Department constructed a series of lighted beacon towers which pilots could find by simply following the gigantic arrows on the ground.
The 50-foot-tall beacon towers proved to be extremely helpful during those pre-radio days of air travel. However, the system definitely had its flaws. The beacons were designed to be seen at night, but you couldn't see the arrows at nighttime.
Additionally, the towers' effectiveness was limited by visibility and weather conditions. As navigation technology progressed, the system of beacons and arrows became outdated. The very last concrete arrow was placed in 1931.
Although many of the system's towers and arrows have since been removed (many of them during World War II in order to prevent aiding enemy bombers), many of them still remain. If you're lucky enough, you may just come across one or two!
Interested in tracking down one of these arrows for yourself? Check out this
which pinpoints each and every remaining arrow and beacon, including many right here in Nevada.
Did you know the story behind these massive concrete arrows? It’s pretty cool that such a fascinating piece of history has remained after all these years. Check out more little-known tidbits with our list of
10 Historical Facts You Probably Don’t Know About Nevada.