Historical road markers are making a comeback

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[I]n spite of Americans' tendency to zip by them, historical road markers are making a comeback, thanks in part to new state programs that have reinvigorated an old genre.

New, more detailed, markers are filled with tales of ordinary people doing extraordinary things, and the organizations behind them want to ensure that their groups get recognized for their contributions to our collective history.

"We want to tell more of the story," says Scott Arnold, author of "A Guidebook to Virginia's Historical Markers: Third Edition," to be released by the University of Virginia Press early next year.

As manager of the historical highway marker program at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources from 1999 to 2005, Mr. Arnold saw the replacement of 400 old signs with new ones that "tell more of the story" -- among them the "illegal duel" marker on Route 120 -- and the installation of more than 900 additional markers.

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