In days gone by, long before the first four lane highways were constructed in the States, two lane roads, and US highways were the only means of travel. On a number of these thoroughfares passing over mountains and hills with long range scenic views, entrepreneurs constructed facilities that allowed tourists to take in the view, and then attempted to sell them something.
On Ray’s Hill located in Bush Creek Township in central Pennsylvania, east of Bedford on US Route 30, William Wakefield a huckster, began selling trinkets at a roadside vista with an elevation of 1958-feet and a forty mile view of the scenic countryside. By reinvesting his profits, in time he built up a road side “tourist trap” complete with a tower, the smallest post office in the country, a store for selling sheep skins and Indian knickknacks, ten gasoline pumps selling fuel from six oil companies, and an open fronted repair garage out back.
According to the book “Greetings From The Lincoln Highway” by Brian Butko in 1923 Wakefield began his endeavors there and continued to operate it for quite some time. He later sold the operation, and it was closed and torn down due to changes in the late-1960s on the nearby Pennsylvania Turnpike when a bypass of the Sideling Hill Tunnel was constructed.
An early postwar view of the gasoline pump island at Bill’s Place.