Knowing my lifelong love of comic books, Sydney couldn't resist taking a photo of me at the intersection of old U.S. 40 and Green Lantern Road.
This Green Lantern Road apparently got its name from a hotel and restaurant called the Green Lantern, which sat for many years at that intersection, west of Frostburg, Md., near the Eastern Continental Divide. Hundreds of hotels, bars and restaurants nationwide were named the Green Lantern in the heyday of the railroads, when a signalman waving a green lantern on the tracks meant that all was well.
In fact, the signalman's green lantern inspired the comic-book superhero Green Lantern, back in the 1940s. Many years later, creator Martin Nodell recalled that he got the idea as a New York City commuter:
The subway platform was crowded. There was some kind of delay; the train was not coming into the station. On the tracks I could see a trainman holding a red lantern as he checked the rails. Then he hit behind a pole, waving a green lantern, indicating that all was now safe. At last, the train pulled in, and I had a title: Green Lantern. It still sounded good to me by the time I reached home.(Thanks to Sleestak's blog for this info.)
I don't think the Green Lantern on U.S. 40 is in business anymore
-- but the Green Arrow Restaurant is! It's in nearby Mount Savage, Md.
Whenever I pass our Green Lantern Road, I pledge to recite:
In brightest day, in blackest night
No evil shall escape my sight
Let those who worship evil's might
Beware my power, Green Lantern's light!