California Department of Transportation (Caltrans)
The Caltrans Transportation Library holds a selection of historical materials that include documents, photographs, maps, and objects that document the road and bridge history of the Department.
The Caltrans Transportation Library's digital collection at California Revealed contains two oral history series and a short series of early biennial and annual reports produced when the Department of Transportation was first known as the Department of Highways then the Division of Highways within the Department of Public Works.
The Highway Recollection series consists of tape recordings and transcripts of interviews of retired engineers, highway maintenance workers, administrators, and other personnel. Participants share their insights on past highway development and changes within the Department. The oral history tapes were produced by Department volunteers, Caltrans History Preservation Committee and District 3 history committee members in the late 1970’s. Twenty-one interviews are included in the series.
The Loma Prieta series was developed by District 4 administration in the wake of the October 17, 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. The professional and personal experiences of 258 Caltrans employees who worked to restore the State’s damaged transportation system in the earthquake’s aftermath were documented. The oral recording project was quickly organized and completed within three months while memories were fresh. The interviews are informal and of varying lengths. The participants were selected from a cross section of jobs and geographic areas to better illustrate the size and scope of the disaster.
Early Reports on California highway development
Biennial reports (1895-1906) issued to the governor by the Department of Highways in California and another group of annual reports (1948-1960) issued by Division of Highways within the Department of Public Works. These reports provide an overview on highway development in California.
Also included is a 1925 Study of the State Highway system in California and the first biennial report (1922) when the Department became the Division of Highways within the Department of Public Works.