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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Another weird bit of history found under foot

I like to walk around new areas to get a feel for what's really going on. There's something about moving around at car speeds that makes it impossible to really notice everything which is there. A bicycle improves things significantly, but sometimes you really do need to get out on foot and go rather slowly. This is how I turned up my random anode and buried rails on past outings.

Last week, I encountered something even more unusual while crossing a street.

An unusual bump

Seeing a metal bump smack in the middle of a street which is otherwise entirely asphalt got my attention. Just at a first glance, it almost looks like someone left a shovel handle in place when the paving was done. However, a closer look reveals more.

Closer shot

Use your imagination and now you can see that it's not a shovel handle. Instead, it's the top third of four letters: S T O P. At some time in the past, this little town (Boerne, TX) must have used metal bumps in the road as "stop signs". I didn't even know such things ever existed. Based on my attempts to find information online, perhaps they were never widely used. Not knowing what to call this thing (a stop bump?) probably isn't helping.

I made no attempts to look for others, since it was just a random discovery and not an obsession. For all I know, the other side streets may also have these things set into the ground where they meet the main drag.

It doesn't seem like it would be particularly effective at being noticed by drivers, even when it wasn't mostly covered by asphalt. I guess the early days of anything are bound to have a bunch of dead-end inventions. It's just not every day that you can just stumble across one.