In the '80s until I moved away in 2003, a Thomas Guide was indispensable. I always had one in my car.
It’s been over a decade since I lived in L.A. In that time online maps have gotten better. (Toward the end, it was often more convenient to print off MapQuest directions.) My car has a built-in GPS display. I have no need for a Thomas Guide anymore.
I remember them. Despite driving for a courier service, I never used 'em. I had AAA and got free maps, easily $200-300 worth a year.
Over the course of a full day of driving, it was easier to map out routes on one sheet rather than flipping multiple pages.
Wow. Used to be a religious artifact - one in each car, new ones for our field staff each year, must-haves.
Hadn’t even thought of the name in… eight years? Ten? Holy buggy whips, Batman!
ETA - Oh, and I lived almost on top of one of their copyright traps, too. A little loop street named… um… Redfern Circle? that most certainly did not exist. I stood in that vacant lot (SP property) and checked.
Thank you Johnny L.A. for reminding me of yet another of the artifacts of my SoCal life
Funny thing is, neither I nor anyone in my family ever had one, yet one of my favorite sarcastic comebacks whenever I was with other people and someone asked about location, i.e. “where’s the bathroom?” I’d always say “excuse me while I consult my Thomas Guide”.
I’m pretty sure every major metro area had something similar. Houston had Key Maps and Dallas had Mapsco maps (just called a “Mapsco”). Both of them were the page/letter square style where you could look up an address in the index, and it would tell you page and alphabetic grid square.
Yes, and Realtors loved them as Thomas coordinates were incorporated into many MLS listings. IIRC, it was something like “123 Fake Street, San Jose 163:C8” where the number at the end meant Page 163, grid C8 to help find an address.
They could be better than GPS as it was easy to look at a listing, quickly spot its location and realize it was close to the sewage plant, or see that it was a block away from a nice park, etc.
Well, I haven’t. I can find my way to the office (Harbor Island), Belltown, Trader Joe’s in West Seattle, and home again. Anywhere else, I use the GPS. I’ve been driving to Seattle and back for eight years, and I still don’t know where the traffic reporters are talking about.