Before you could look up addresses on the internet, how did people find smaller locations like houses and restaurants?


I know atlases and roadmaps were a lot more common, but from my understanding those give more of a broader view of a large area like major roads and stuff. If you needed to find a small subdivision or small road, how would you do that before the internet?

In: 27

For a business, you’d use the yellow pages, or call them and ask. For a residence, you ask for directions on the phone.

I used a thing called the “Thomas Guide”. You could buy them for different regions. All maps were on a grid, and so if you needed the smaller section you found it on the grid and say it was at volume D and row 5, you’d look up what page the D5 map was on and that be a whole page map of just that area.

So basically, maps. Also people were much better at giving and writing down directions. That’s about it!

You’d either ask the person who lives there for directions, call the business and ask for directions, or you’d find a city map. There used to be racks in all of the gas stations in my town with maps of most of the nearby cities in addition to the state, the county, etc. You don’t see those so much anymore because digital maps and/or in-car GPS navigation are more ubiquitous.

I lived during the time
You looked the place up in the phone book and called for directions.
I have a pretty decent sense of direction and at work they would often ask me to come to the phone and ” tell this person how to get here”

ELI5: I remember relying on my parents and when I got older I realized it was directions given by word of mouth. We would either remember the directions, find it for ourselves and get lost in the process or we would just write the directions down from the person giving them. Dark times but you didn’t forget how to get there ever again once you got to the destination. I remember my grandparents kept books of road maps in the pockets behind the seats. Very fun to look through.