New Jersey Route 69, spanning 49 miles from Trenton to US Route 46 in Buttzville, was a route number that lasted only 14 years. Originally known as NJ Route 30, it was re-designated as Route 69 in the 1953 NJ state highway renumbering to avoid confusion with US Route 30 in southern part of the state. Soon, coveted Route 69 signs were being stolen off the road in significant numbers, and by 1965, they were being replaced by wooden signs. Finally, in 1967, the route number was changed to its present NJ Route 31. Sadly, the days when one could “take Route 69 to Buttzville” are long gone. I assume I have one of the many stolen NJ-69 shields, as the seller told me that it had been in the possession of her father when he was a college student in the 1950s.
This shield adheres to a 1940s NJ spec; cast aluminum, 18″ in diameter. I believe it was likely made close to the 1953 renumbering. The 1950s was a transitional time in NJ signage, with cast aluminum, black-on-white cutout and square sheet metal, and then green cutout sheet metal (see images on right) all being used within a short span of time.