The 1919 Military Convoy in the Smithsonian National Museum of American History

The National Museum of American History in Washington DC hosts a small exhibition, "Crossing the Country: The Army Crosses the Continent," near Horatio's iconic car.

The 1919 military convoy exhibit shows four minutes of historic footage.

This display comprises a small video monitor looping four minutes of historical video from the three reels of the convoy and the 1919 Firestone video.

Crossing the Country: The Army crosses the Continent

In the summer of 1919, the United States Army organized a convoy of trucks, automobiles, trailers, and motorcycles that traveled from Washington to San Francisco.

The drive was a publicity stunt and also served to test military vehicles developed during World War I, to train troops, and to highlight the inadequacy of roads.

Rural roads were so poor that engineers had to build and repair bridges and rescue trucks that crashed through inadequate wooden bridges built to accommodate horse and wagon traffic.

Film courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration Running time: 4 minutes

Nestled near Horatio's car, this small exhibit, showcasing the 1919 U.S. Army convoy's challenging journey from Washington to San Francisco, doesn't always capture the immediate attention of the museum's guests.

The 1919 military convoy exhibit is near the iconic Horatio's car,

The After Ike documentary educates people about this pivotal event in American history. It serves as a poignant reminder of the Army's remarkable cross-country expedition, a testament to innovation and adaptability in the face of daunting challenges, and a tribute to the journey that changed America forever.


Transcontinental Motor Convoy Report by Col. William T. Carpenter – 1920
Divided Paths: Urban Renewal and the Legacy of the Interstates
The Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1956, commonly known as the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act
Image Gallery – After Ike Documentary
Aerial Image Gallery – After Ike Documentary
Firestone Film – 1919
Contributors to After Ike