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Historical Notes


The Greater Motorways System was largely the brain-child of Erie County Engineer and Superintendent of Highways George C. Diehl. Diehl conceived of a series of concentric belts of roadways girdling the City of Buffalo, allowing traffic to flow around rather than through the city. In 1926, with support from Supervisor Ira H. Vail, Chairman of the Erie County Board of Supervisors and Supervisor George B. Abbott, Chairman of the Board's Highway Committee, County Engineer Diehl took two significant steps. First was the appointment of Major Theron M. Ripley to assist Diehl and to be the manager of the Greater Motorways System construction projects. The second was obtaining authorization to spend $50,000.00 for an aerial survey of Erie County. In the spring of 1926 a contract was awarded to Ronne & Washburn of Buffalo, New York to photograph the county from the air. Flying a Curtiss Oriole bi-plane, Ronne & Washburn took what must have been thousands of photographs which formed the raw material out of which Fairchild Aerial Surveys Incorporated of New York, New York produced the plates as they presently exist.