Look what I came across at the good ol’ public library:The Lincoln Highway, for those who don’t “knowed” (as Woody Guthrie sings in a favorite song of mine, “Hard Travelin'”) is the United States’ oldest cross-country highway, dedicated in 1913. I was pleased to find this state-by-state book on the journey was sprinkled with postcard images. Ready to hit the road?
The original New York Times building, One Times Square, opened on the eve of 1904In 1928, during the city’s hotel boom, the Hotel Lincoln was founded on Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. It’s now the Milford Plaza Hotel.1950s “Night view of State Street West from Broad Street, Trenton, N.J.”1920s “Calhoun Street Bridge, Lincoln Highway, Trenton, N.J.” “High in the Alleghenies on the road to Pittsburgh, travelers pay their respects at the site of one of the Lincoln Highway’s best-known attractions–the S.S. Grand View Point Hotel, later known as the Ship Hotel. Located fourteen miles west of Bedford at the top of Mount Ararat, the hotel burned to the ground in October 2001.
…Joan Crawford, Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Greta Garbo, and Tom Mix, among a host of luminaries, stayed at the hotel in its heyday.” (p. 67)Chester Bridge in Chester, WV with a photo of a Lincoln Highway marker (they’re planted all along the route)
“The Chester Bridge, a 705-foot suspension span, served the Lincoln Highway and U.S. 30 as the river crossing for motor vehicles and, for a time, a local trolley…The bridge closed in the spring of 1969 and was dismantled the following year.
…For seven years after the Chester Bridge’s removal, traffic was diverted a mile dowstream over the Newell Bridge, until the 1977 opening of the Jennings Randolph Bridge, named in honor of a west Virginia senator. The pylons for the new bridge stand on Babb’s Island, where George Washington and his surveying party reportedly buried a barrel of biscuits.” (p. 81)The Wold’s Largest Teapot, Chester, WV circa 1938, the year of its founding
“Since Chester and nearby Newell (and East Liverpool across the river) had long dominated the pottery market, [William “Babe”] Devon thought a huge teapot not only honored the area’s heritage but would attract passing customers…Local teens ran the souvenir and concession stand inside the pot except for a couple of years during World War II, when Devon was forced to close because of the decrease in traffic due to gas and tire rationing.” (p. 81)
“This amusement center opened in 1897 and continued to operate well into the twentieth century on land where George Washington had camped and sipped water from the natural springs, probably about the same time he buried those biscuits on Babb’s Island.” (p.84) The park remained open till 1970. The 1927 roller coaster sold for one dollar. Another view of the Chester Bridge, connecting Chester, WV with East Liverpool, OHA Romantic View The beach ball seems overwhelmed by the beauty of the steel mill smokestacks on the horizon.Studebaker Vehicle Works, South Bend
“Notre Dame may have put South Bend on the map, but so does the Studebaker National Museum and Archives, chronicling the carmaker’s rich history from horse-and-buggy days until the last Studebaker rolled off the line in 1966. West of South Bend, in New Carlisle, is what some consider the world’s largest “living sign” at the old Studebaker proving grounds, where white pines were planted to spell out the company name. The former racetrack and test grounds eventually became a county park, and the trees planted in 1938 have grown so tall that the only way to see the Studebaker name is from an aircraft.” (p. 116) 1920s Valparaiso, generally called Valpo
Valpo was the original home of the Orville Redenbacher packing plant. (Redenbacher was from Indiana.) The city continues to hold an annual popcorn festival. The corner inset is of the “First Trans-Continental Sign erected on the Lincoln Highway.” “Tama, the home of Iowa’s only Indian reservation” refers to the Meskwaki Settlement. The Meskwaki number about 1,300 members, around 800 of whom live on the “Sett.” The Meskwaki make up the Sac and Fox Tribe of the Mississippi in Iowa. (There are several Sac and Fox nations. They’re Algonquin peoples who were forced to relocate to the prairies.)
“Cronk’s Cafe, built in 1929, and the Park Motel still serve large numbers of old-road wayfarers. The Park, a classic Spanish Colonial Revival constructed in 1940, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The list of well-known guests over the years is impressive, including motion-picture and television actress Donna Reed, who was born and raised in Denison. It’s a Wonderful Life, the name of one of her most beloved films, is scrawled across the town’s water tower. The Donna Reed Theatre is located in a restored opera house at Broadway and Main. Even after the passing of Denison’s favorite daughter, the Donna Reed Festival for the Performing Arts is still held every June.” (p. 165)The ten-story Hotel Yancey operated from 1923-1982. A hotel with a black guy who called you sir when he opened the door for you was evidently the height of sophistication in Grand Island.
This sign welcoming all to Rock Springs was erected in 1928.
Rock Springs was the coal supplier for the Union Pacific Railroad and is best known for the Rock Springs Massacre of 1885. The Union Pacific Coal Department preferred hiring Chinese miners over white miners because the railroad could get away with paying Chinese much less. In response, white rioters burned 75 Chinese homes, leaving a confirmed 28 Chinese dead, and likely more. Those who could, fled, and were picked up by Union Pacific trains. The trains deposited them in the town of Evanston, 100 miles away but equally hostile. Within days, they were ushered back to Rock Springs under the protection of federal troops. Sixteen rioters were arrested, but a grand jury refused to bring any indictments, let alone convictions. Many anti-Chinese riots immediately followed, particularly in the state of Washington.
Today, Rock Springs pointedly embraces racial diversity, even holding and annual International Day festival.
“In New York, where the old road starts, life is going a mile a minute, just as it should. And along the road of Mister Lincoln–across the land in villages, farmhouses, and cities–the lights are turning off one by one. Another day has finished on the Lincoln Highway. The journey has come to an end.” (p. 279)
You going to pay me back for gas now?