Good Roads – Ford Motor Company – 1919 Film

Motion Picture Films Relating to the Ford Motor Company, the Henry Ford Family, Noted Personalities, Industry, and Numerous Americana and Other Subjects

This item was produced or created in 1919. NAID: 92791Local ID: FC-FC-3139 - National Archives 

All rights were conveyed to the U.S. Government on Nov. 28, 1962. However, proprietary rights or existing copyright in footage obtained from other sources by Ford Motor Company may exist. 


The original catalog description provided by the Ford Motor Company reads as follows: “Good Roads?"

Good Roads - Ford Motor Company - 1919 - After Ike Documentary


  • Years before the white man came the Red Man breaking rough trails through the forest.”
  • Indian girl overtaken by Indian brave in forest.
  • “And then the pioneer, whose clumsier conveyances demanded wider avenues traffic.”
  • Indians watch party of white men on foot. “In these days, they traveled 10 to 15 miles a day.”
  • Pioneers on horseback, covered wagon, pack horses.
  • “Bumbling along like a train without a track and covering the landscape with dust.”
  • Cars and trucks pass on a deeply rutted, dirt road.
  • “Transportation has wonderfully improved, but the highways are lamentably behind the times. In fact many of them are in identically the same condition as when traveled by the pioneer in his oxcart.”

Good Roads - Ford Motor Company - 1919 - After Ike Documentary

  • Truck becomes mired in deeply rutted, muddy road, driver gets out, kicks tire, hails passerby and finally gets pulled out.
  • “The village Smithy was once a busy man.”
  • Blacksmith shop, men loitering in front, man greets blacksmith.
  • “Today he realizes that his trade has gone to the…!!” Dejected blacksmith.
  • “While the garage man across the way is too busy to go to lunch.”
  • Busy garage with mechanic working on automobiles.
  • “When we drove to church in the old Surrey --”
  •  People entering a small church.
  • “We had no hint of the automobile.” (Unrelated footage: a large building).

Good Roads - Ford Motor Company - 1919 - After Ike Documentary

  • “Grandmother didn’t object to ‘joy riding’ then, as Grandfather will tell you with a wink.”
  • Young girl conversing with an elderly couple - couple rides a horse.
  • “So how can she object to this?”
  • Young man and woman ride along highway in automobile.
  • “Where farm folks once had to be satisfied with occasional entertainment at the Schoolhouse --”
  • Students play.
  • “They now find ‘reel’ entertainment and instruction at the movies when the roads are good -- thus making farm life more attractive.”
  • Exterior of motion picture theater, with sign, ‘Madison, Featuring Norma Talmadge.’
  • Man and woman drive up to theater, woman leaves car, man drives away.

Good Roads - Ford Motor Company - 1919 - After Ike Documentary

  • “The mud road to the little red school house is still with us.”
  • Children walk along muddy road.
  • “Our children of today should have clean, hard roads to travel on their way to school.”
  • Children, adults, horse-drawn cart and bus travel along paved highway.
  • “Good roads make for better homes and better schools for happier and contented children.”
  • Children playing in schoolyard, teacher rings bell.
  • Woman and child in rural setting - muddy road.
  • “The way must be opened for a brighter, happier social life in the country.”
  • Woman carrying child leaves farmhouse, gets into automobile, drives away, leaves man feeding chickens in front of house.
  • “Farm lads once rode to the village for the weekly mail.”
  • Boy on horseback rides up to village post office, men loitering on front sidewalk - goes into store - interior of store with women customers - men playing checkers.
  • “Uncle Sam now carries the mail to the farm every day --”
  • U.S. mail truck and uniformed driver pick up packages.
  • “And brings back produce direct to the city man’s door.” 
  • “Economic forces are shifting traffic to the highway and today where roads will permit, the ‘Rural Motor Express’ handles farm freight.”
  • Truck is driven up to platform along road, driver puts calf into the back of truck.
  • “Motor trucks aid the farmer in getting his milk to market, saving time and enlarging the market.” 

Good Roads - Ford Motor Company - 1919 - After Ike Documentary

  • Truck driver unloads milk cans from truck onto platform. 
  • “Once the farm wife had to wait until Sunday to market her eggs and butter.” Woman in horse-drawn carriage.
  • “Cash comes into the house every day as the market shifts to the farmhouse gate -- where the roads are good!”
  • People around vegetable stand with sign, ‘Fresh Vegetables…Farm to Table.’
  • “Do not think of a road as meaning merely the distance between two given points or cities. It is one of the arteries through which flows the life blood of the nation.”
  • Automobile and truck traffic on an open highway - cartoon of farmer in muddy boots sinking deeper into mud as he walks, falling into the mud - beginning of caption ‘Did this ever occur to you? Vote For…’ [1919]

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