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A Visual Documention of Historic Route 1

While building the source material for his latest series of paintings, artist Steve Hedberg camped in the midst of howling coyotes in Maine and delved into the lives of the residents and roadside vendors along the historic eastern roadway now known as Route 1. A century ago, it served as the main artery for the Eastern Seaboard and was called the Atlantic Highway. Decades after being designated as Route 1, it lost its lifeblood when the Highway Act of 1954 rerouted road-tripping Americans onto speedy interstates. Today, it’s a cultural patchwork of yesteryear, showing a vibrancy of life alongside the rusted-out promise of 20th-century commerce and industry. In the faded remains of Route 1’s boom time, Hedberg finds a struggle between today’s on-the-go corporate culture and its impact on small-town America.