Almanac: Adopt-a-Highway signs

And now a page from our "Sunday Morning" Almanac: March 9th,1985, 29 years ago today, the day champions of a pristine American landscape hit the road.

On March 9, 1985, the first road sign was erected, in Tyler, Texas, announcing a civic group's commitment to clean up litter along the roadside. CBS News

For that was the day a civic group in Tyler, Texas, put up the first Adopt-A-Highway sign, committing its members to cleaning up litter along a two-mile stretch of highway at no cost to taxpayers.

The Adopt-A-Highway idea was quickly adopted by other states around the country, though not without controversy.

Facing opposition for its white supremacist views, the Ku Klux Klan had to go to court to win the right to sponsor a stretch of highway in Missouri.

Missouri responded by renaming the highway for civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks.

Over the years, volunteer groups and individuals of every background and persuasion imaginable have proudly adopted highways coast-to-coast.

Adopted highways have worked their way into popular culture, providing gags for cartoons.

The Adopt-A-Highway theme even showed up in an episode of "Seinfeld," when Cosmo Kramer declared, "As of today I am the proud parent of a one-mile stretch of the Arthur Berkhardt Expressway. I'm part of the solution now."

Though the TV Kramer took his pride of highway ownership to disastrous extremes, the real-life volunteers who work along our roadsides are serious and dedicated, willing to clean-up the messes others leave behind for nothing more than the recognition bestowed by a simple sign.

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