The Great Wall of China to be Motor Highway (Feb, 1931)

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The Great Wall of China to be Motor Highway

The plans of the Nationalist Government of the Republic of China for converting the great wall into a major motor highway are revealed to the world for the first time in this exclusive story.

THE Great Wall of China, long considered one of the most remarkable engineering feats in the world, may soon become one of the greatest and most unusual motor highways on earth if the plans of the Nationalist government are carried through.

The great wall was built about 220 B. C. by the first emperor of the Tsin Dynasty as a protection against the roving bands of Tartars, which were then in the habit of descending from the Mongolian plains and making sporadic raids upon the Chinese cities to the south. After 2150 years the wall is still in a remarkable state of preservation considering that only twice, in the fifteenth and again in the sixteenth century, were any extensive repairs made upon the structure.

The height of the wall ranges from twenty to forty feet, while at intervals of about two hundred yards are towers about 25 feet higher than the wall. The northern parapet of the entire fortification is loop-holed to protect the defenders from the missiles of the enemy, while the towers are surmounted by such a parapet around all four sides. Many of the towers are roofed over, and were no doubt used as barracks by the Chinese soldiers, while sentries were posted at the other towers.

The wall is from fifteen to thirty feet wide at the base, and tapers inward to an average width of about twelve feet on top. Two solid masonry parallel walls from eighteen inches to four feet in thickness were first built, and the space between was then filled with loose stone and earth. Owing to lack of care, these outside walls have crumbled in places, but not to such an extent that their repair would be exorbitant.

Imagine, if you can, such a wall stretched across the United States. Starting at Washington, D. C, it would extend north to Cincinnati, then south around Cairo, Ill.; north again to Marshall, Missouri, south of Wichita, Kansas, and west to about fifty miles from Denver, Colorado—a serpentine path more than 1,500 miles in length.

With a smooth motor road laid on top of the wall its value to China would be enormous; for besides its unquestioned military value, enabling the government to stamp out the incessant banditry in the interior provinces, it would do much toward helping the rehabilitation of those who are isolated in this mysterious interior country, and who sometimes starve to death because food, plentiful on the coast, cannot be transported inland i*i time.

12 comments
  1. stefan says: August 31, 20087:46 am

    I wonder why that didn’t happen.
    And two-way traffic? Nice.

  2. flip says: August 31, 20088:40 am

    Oh google ads… I was presented with a wonderful collection of “Asian Girls for Love and Marriage” along with this article. That and an ad for Ford vehicles.

  3. Steve says: August 31, 20088:45 am

    Good thing the commies took over from the nationalists then. Who would want a bunch of McDonalds and BP stations all up and down the great wall. ;)

  4. Eliyahu says: August 31, 20088:59 am

    Great idea with only a few little problems… A collision would tie up traffic for thousands of miles, only room for truck traffic to flow in one direction at a time, inclines weren’t built with vehicular traffic in mind (too steep in places), and a complete absence of support infrastructure for vehicles and travelers. That, plus the problem that highways usually go from one destination to another rather than just rambling along the borders and outskirts of a country…

  5. Charlene says: August 31, 20085:28 pm

    That and the fact that the Wall would crumble under all the vibration…

  6. Toronto says: August 31, 20088:20 pm

    I’m calling this one as a complete fabrication. Perhaps the Nationalist Government had an opium stash.

  7. rsterling78 says: September 1, 20085:58 pm

    I heard the Jiffy Lube that was supposed to be placed in the Sistine Chapel fell through as well.

  8. Leon says: September 3, 20081:59 pm

    I visited the wall back in ’99. Only some sections were intact, while large swaths were falling apart. Aside from the horrendous cost in repairing the wall one has to remember it was placed often on hills and mountains, not sure how cars of the 30′s would handle a 30-40 degree incline.

  9. beagledad says: September 8, 20081:07 pm

    Actually, the idea began to seem (more) improbable when Japan invaded Manchuria seven months after this article was published. It was another couple of decades before Mao got his chance at big-time economic ruin.

  10. Bryan says: November 5, 20083:04 pm

    Just another crazy Great Wall myth. At least this one made me laugh! When they say it’s visible from space or the moon, or how many dead bodies are buried in it, I just shake my head… Bryan, http://www.greatwallfor…

  11. nay,nay hankins says: March 12, 20097:43 pm

    I whent to gaet wall of china and it so lovely you have seen nothing like it p.s. nay,any

  12. Steven Zuckerborg says: March 1, 20111:48 am

    The Great Wall of China is the longest and most massive structure ever created with its length of 8,851.8 km or 5,500.3 miles of earth and bricks, making the construction last for almost 2,000 years by different dynasties. The structure stretches into several provinces of China such as Liaoning, Hebei, Tianjin, Beijing, Shanxi, Inner Mongolia, Shaanxi, Gansu, and Qinghai. Learn more facts about the great wall of China here http://www.great-wall-o…

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