Delaware Turnpike turns 50 years old

| November 12, 2013

A newspaper clipping from 1963 shows President John. F. Kennedy, Delaware Governor Elbert Carvel and Maryland Governor J. Millard Tawes cutting the ribbon at the Delaware Turnpike’s opening ceremony. (Photo via Delaware Public Archives)

A newspaper clipping from 1963 shows President John. F. Kennedy, Delaware Governor Elbert Carvel and Maryland Governor J. Millard Tawes cutting the ribbon at the Delaware Turnpike’s opening ceremony. (Photo via Delaware Public Archives)

Interstate 95, previously known as the Delaware Turnpike, will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Thursday.

According to the Delaware Department of Transportation (DelDOT), the opening ceremony for the turnpike took place on November 14, 1963, at the Maryland and Delaware border — also the site of the Mason-Dixon Line, which celebrated its 200th anniversary that day.

President John. F. Kennedy, Delaware Governor Elbert Carvel and Maryland Governor J. Millard Tawes led the ceremony, along with architect and urban planner Robert Moses.

The day it opened, the Delaware was 11.2 miles long, with the route ending at the junction with Route 141 at Minquadale, just outside of Newport, Maryland.

DelDOT notes that the turnpike’s opening ceremony is well-known for being one of President John. F. Kennedy’s last public appearances. He was assassinated in Dallas eight days later.

The highway was dedicated in the late president’s honor as the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway in December 1963.

Continuation of I-95 was continued in the 1970s, and DelDOT reconstructed the mainline toll plaza in 2010 and 2011.

The Delaware Turnpike now stretches 24 miles.

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