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The Lincoln Highway turned 100 this year!

| Aug 21, 2013

 

At the beginning of the Automotive Era, about a century ago – if you are following the timeline of the Lincoln Highway Anniversary, roads were of an exceptionally poor quality. Americans were not traveling long distances by car since train travel was more convenient and cleaner than driving on the packed dirt roads.

The Lincoln Highway was created by business men who wanted to encourage American leisure travel – and sell car parts along the way. The founders of the Lincoln Highway Association hoped to fund road way improvements by donations from industrial leaders and private citizens. The founders were not able to secure the private funds necessary, forcing them to seek an alternative funding strategy. Their plan was to introduce Americans to the concrete paved road. The belief was that if Americans pushed their legislators towards improved concrete roads the highway route could be created without the Association having to fund construction or infrastructure work. This successful advertising campaign promoted the freedom and adventure of traveling by car, utilizing many of the roads that were already built. The Highway route was marked with signage and was named after one of our most famous Presidents in honor of the work he did to preserve the unity of the nation that the Highway crossed.

The highway turned 100 this year, and the celebrations traveled from coast to coast. A Lincoln Highway tour was planned at the end of June. East met West on June 30th in Kearney, Nebraska with a parade and celebration. Participants of the tour started in either New York City or in San Francisco or Oakland California and followed the road to the meeting point. Along the journey participants were able to explore all the unique towns and tourist industries that started along the Highway. In Kearney, Nebraska the two lines of cars drove past each other amidst the sounds of an Americana celebration. Participants in the tour have described it as “Fourth of July every day” on the tour. Small towns sent out their patriotic finest to celebrate the history of the road that brought our coasts together.

Our Executive Director Mindy Crawford took part in some of the Lincoln Highway festivities and enjoyed every minute of it. In fact, she was interviewed on WITF about the Highway’s history and her experiences on the road. Her interview was the second half of the Radio Smart Talk show on Monday, July 29, 2013. Listen in as she shares the history of such historic landmarks as the Shoe House in York and Dunkel’s Gulf in Bedford. If you missed this event check out the Lincoln Highway Association to learn more about the event and the road’s history.