The growth of the American auto industry in the early 20th century transformed America. Americans embraced their new freedom to explore, leading to a demand for transcontinental auto routes. In 1921, the Federal Highway Act was passed and the Victory Highway was established between New York City and San Francisco in honor of World War I veterans. Rather than being a single road, the Victory Highway was a transcontinental route that incorporated many existing roadways. In northern Nevada, this route included sections of the California Trail and abandoned sections of the Central Pacific Railroad. It was designated US 40 in 1927. This route also became a major artery for freight. Motels, campgrounds, restaurants and service stations sprouted up along the route in places like Winnemucca to provide services for travelers.
In 1956, I-80 was authorized as part of the interstate highway system with the final segment opening in 1986. I-80 paralleled much of US 40 and incorporated portions of it. Although I-80 by-passed towns, affecting commerce in places such as Lovelock, Winnemucca faired better than most because it is conveniently located as fuel, food and rest stop between Reno and Elko.
In 1923, Congress funded a lighted airway along the transcontinental airmail route from New York to San Francisco. Lighted airway beacons provided
navigational aids for nighttime flights. This reduced the time for coast-to-coast delivery of mail by two days because it was no longer necessary to transfer mail to trains for nighttime transport. Beacons were spaced 10 miles apart with closer spacing in flatter areas. Concrete arrows were used as beacon foundations - these pointed to the next beacon. Although beacons were abandoned due to changes in technology, some arrow-shaped foundations and a few standing beacons still exist.