American Automobile Association

Few organizations in the century since the explosion of the automobile into the American consciousness have been more associated with the repurposing of the United States into a mobile culture than the American Automobile Association (AAA). Begun in 1901 at a time when there were fewer than 20,000 cars in the United States altogether and fewer than 25,000 miles of paved highway, AAA was conceived as a kind of self-help organization started by and designed for car owners in the Chicago area.

The association offered information about available garage mechanics or working fuel stops or reports on the general conditions of roadways (many of them dirt and gravel) and even weather forecasts since many cars were still open-air. There were so few automobile drivers, so few ...

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