Transportation & Technology

1940 - 1969

1956 OldsmobileBy the 1940s, the automobile permanently changed the way people lived in Northwest Franklin County. Can you think of one way it affected travel? People were relying more and more on automobiles to get to and from the city. But as great as the automobile was, there was another way to travel that was just starting to get off the ground. What exciting new way to travel was just off in the horizon?


The use of trains and rail system really declined during this period of time. By 1944 passenger trains stopped in the area. Freight service ended in 1962 and finally in 1969 the Pennsylvania Railroad closed. The form of transportation that had essentially founded Hilliard was no longer in business. People had moved on to bigger and better things, namely the automobile and trucks.

The automobile opened doors for people. Now that people could live farther away from where they would work, more people were moving to the suburbs around Columbus and using their car to travel into the city. But it also created some problems. Before people had been using horses and buggies to travel on dirt roads. As more and more people were buying cars the need for properly constructed roads and highways grew. In 1957, a plan was created to build an outerbelt to handle all of the traffic around Columbus and its suburbs. It’s amazing how quickly the need for an outerbelt was in 1957 when the car was new only 50 years earlier. Eventually that outerbelt was name Interstate 270.

Did you figure out the final way to travel that  was “just off in the horizon”?  Of course, it was the airplane!  In 1938, a new plane the DC-3, was created to carry both mail and passengers. It could carry 21 passengers. Compare that to today’s airplanes which are designed to carry hundreds of passengers. As planes improved they further decreased the need for the use of trains to travel far distances. In 1959 jet service was introduced, enabling fast cross-country service. Today we can fly from the United States to Europe overnight! Do you think that the residents of Hilliard would have even thought that was possible in the 1940’s?


phoneHilliard residents continue to communicate using the telephone. They were using the rotary (dial-up) until the 1962 Seattle World Fair. The touch tone phone was introduced and the public loved them.

Families continue to listen to the radio for news and information, but now they have a new way to not only hear information, but to also see it as well. Can you guess what it is? 

The television was not only used for communication, but also for entertainment. Televisions were first available in black and white and by 1967 most broadcasts were in color. On July 20, 1969 600 million Americans watched Neil Armstrong land on the moon.


Technology begins to take off during this time period. The television undergoes many changes. It begins as a black and white and is upgraded to color by 1967. The first remote control is invented in 1956.

Washing machines now had timers on them. There were now also electric dryers. People could choose between an electric stove or a gas stove.


Overview Compiled and Edited by Lauren Davis

Communication and The Railroad
The Quartoquecentenial of A Pride Community – 1978, Hilliard, Ohio

Northwest Franklin County Historical Society Library
Airplane Photo