Archive for November, 2011

Diner to again serve Lincoln Highway travelers

November 23, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review ran an update about the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor’s plan to open an interpretive center in Pennsylvania. Included was news of the former Serro’s Diner being restored. That diner — which I led the effort to rescue in 1992 for the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania (my employer, then and now) — will once again serve travelers, at least with pie and coffee.

The LHHC plans to open the Lincoln Highway Experience Museum in Unity (between Latrobe and Ligonier) near the Kingston Bridge (as of 2012, the museum has opened). The diner is being restored by Travis Smeltzer and his crew from Travis Smeltzer Construction of Apollo, in consultation with preservationists. Smeltzer hopes to have the diner back to its original glory by this spring. The diner was originally bought by the Serro family from the Jerry O’Mahony Diner Co. in New Jersey. There was table seating for 16 patrons and 16 stools at the counter.

The 1938 O’Mahony diner, originally along Lincoln Highway/US 30 in Irwin, was moved to south of Greensburg in 1958 when the Serro family purchased a stainelss steeel-clad diner. John and Lillian Rolka operated it as the Willow Diner until 1992, when it was sold to HSWP, which donated it to the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor in 2003.

From the article:

“We never know what we are going to find,” said Smeltzer as he emptied a bag of muddy silverware found behind the cooking counters of the 1938 diner that first operated on Route 30 in Irwin. All of the items — along with an apron, condiment bottles, bread baskets, ashtrays, old newspapers and receipts — have been cataloged.

“With any project you peel away layers,” said Olga Herbert, executive director of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor. “You never know what’s there until you remove the layers.”

Crews discovered stained glass windows under several coats of paint. Beneath a linoleum floor, they found maple floors. The biggest surprise was a solid mahogany refrigerator, with glass-door insets, buried underneath stainless steel framing.

The Unity site includes a stone, Colonial-style home and former tavern built by Alexander Johnston in 1815. The historic landmark, once called the Kingston House and later known as the Johnston House, will house thousands of Lincoln Highway artifacts including signs, vintage postcards and photographs, and other highway memorabilia.

Read more at

http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/westmoreland/s_768642.html

Past LHA President Christopher Plummer

November 21, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
Christopher Noel Plummer, a past president of the Lincoln Highway Association, died November 15, 2011, in Rock Springs, Wyoming. Christopher was born December 19, 1950 in Bedford, Pennsylvania. A memorial service will be held on Monday, November 28 at 11:00 am at the Bridger Valley Baptist Church.

Christopher worked for Tata Chemical in Green River, Wyoming. He enjoyed collecting cars and watching races. He is survived by his wife, Carol Graeber Plummer; son Aaron (Kristen) Plummer of Kennewick, Washington; step-sons Bill (Dawn) Morgan of Overland Park, Kansas, John (Anya) Morgan of Littleton, Colorado, Jeff (Kristin) Morgan of Parker, Colorado; step-daughters Cristel Morgan of Glenrock, Wyoming, and Jennifer Morgan of Ontario, California; 11 grandchildren and a brother Mark Plummer.

Thanks to Kelly Hughes, curator at Bridger Valley Heritage Museum, and Russell Rein for the information. For more, see Crandall Funeral Home.

 

Lincoln Highway Kiosk dedication this Saturday

November 18, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
WTCA-AM serving Plymouth and north-central Indiana reports that the dedication of a stone Lincoln Highway Kiosk in the 200 block of East Jefferson Street in Plymouth is set for Saturday, November 19, at 1:00 p.m.


The paper (which published the photo above) reported:

The designation came after more than four years of planning by the Indiana Lincoln Highway Association which culminated in a presentation to state officials in April 2010. Plymouth resident Kurt Garner assisted the INLHA (Indiana Lincoln Highway Association) with survey work of the route….

Establishing the route of the highway was mixed with factors such as population centers, grade and land formations, and by influence of politicians. “These factors all played a role in Indiana where a unique situation developed creating a later southern alignment through Plymouth in 1928,” Garner said.

Garner believes the project completion will lead to marketing opportunities for Marshall County. He said, “The Lincoln Highway is already marked across most of Indiana. The INLHA has developed a byway committee that will begin making marketing plans for communities along the route.”

Blogging the Lincoln Highway in NV and UT

November 17, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
I’ve been following a fantastic blog for a couple weeks. Grover Cleveland — his real name — writes “Camera and Pencil in the Mountains” that details his travels in the Sierra Nevada range. Last year he bought a 1919 Model T Ford roadster and converted it into a pickup truck. He’s hoping to follow a good portion for the Lincoln Highway centennial in 2013.

He told me, “I just completed a 1,500-mile trip in Nevada and western Utah. I covered as much of the 1913 alignment as could be found from Verdi, Nevada to Tooele, Utah.” He writes online that he wants to help fellow travelers: “To provide travel notes, recommendations, and some serious safety information. I got in trouble because I didn’t heed some professional advice — you shouldn’t have to.”

For this trip, he loaded his dog Beasley into a 1989 Tiger van: “A conversion on an Astrovan chassis, nicely equipped with kitchen, bathroom, a pop-top, and oodles of radio gear (I’m a ham radio operator – K7TP).”

Click the images here to see Grover’s large originals. Then follow his adventures at sierratraveler.wordpress.com/.

Order Lincoln Highway Companion from Amazon – click HERE

Coffee Pot attacks are "tall tales" says AP

November 11, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
The historic Coffee Pot along the Lincoln Highway in Bedford PA has made the news as a possible waste of taxpayer money — but the story is unfounded. Here are a couple news reports.

From Streetsblog:

A handful of Republican Senators really have a knack for rooting out waste in our transportation system — but only the kind of “waste” that is imaginary.

Contrary to claims by Senator John McCain, this giant coffee pot in central Pennsylvania received zero dollars from the Transportation Enhancements program. Despite their claims to fiscal responsibility, Senators Jim Coburn, John McCain and Rand Paul haven’t zeroed in on egregious transportation boondoggles like the $1.7 billion cloverleaf in Wisconsin or the $5.2 billion highway to nowhere outside Houston.

Nope. These “fiscal watchdogs” have taken aim at a $900 million program that provides the majority of the nation’s bike and pedestrian infrastructure. And they’ve used some wild and colorful examples to support their position. Senators Paul and McCain said the Transportation Enhancements program has been used to pay for — no kidding — a “turtle tunnel” and a giant roadside coffee pot.

But this weekend the Associated Press looked into these claims as part of their “Fact Check” feature and found the senators “exaggerated and misrepresented some projects” in their attack. Brent Hugh at the Missouri Bike and Pedestrian Federation breaks down how the AP report should inject some common sense back into the discussion:

The fact check is unusual — every supposedly horrible example of Transportation Enhancements spending is completely debunked. Each example turns out to be either grossly exaggerated or completely misleading. That’s not surprising, because Transportation Enhancements is the single largest source of funding for bicycle and pedestrian funding in the U.S. today, and those projects are important, popular, and much needed.

Also from the AP:

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., raised the issue last month when he temporarily blocked action on a transportation bill. He said he wanted to allow state transportation departments to use all their federal aid on basic needs such as roads, bridges and tunnels, instead of setting some aside for enhancements.

“We are not pouring asphalt, we are not laying concrete, we are not decreasing congestion, and we are not increasing safety,’’ Coburn complained. He produced a list of 39 projects that he said exemplify extravagance at a time when states don’t have enough money to repair structurally deficient bridges.

Coburn picked his examples from the more than 25,000 projects that have received money since Congress established the enhancement set-aside nearly two decades ago.

First on the list: the Lincoln Highway 200-Mile Roadside Museum in south-central Pennsylvania. It was described as receiving $300,000 in 2004 for signs, murals, colorful vintage gas pumps painted by local artists and refurbishing of a former roadside snack stand from 1927 that’s shaped like a giant coffee pot.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was apparently working from Coburn’s list two weeks ago when he offered an amendment to narrow the types of projects eligible for enhancement funds.

“Pennsylvania ranks first out of all states for deficient bridges. Yet it seems to be more important to furbish large roadside coffee pots,’’ McCain said.

But no transportation aid was spent on the coffee pot’s $100,000 restoration, said Olga Herbert, executive director of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor. The money was raised entirely from preservation and civic organizations and local supporters.

“We did not use any of this $300,000 award for anything to do with the coffee pot,’’ she said. “It’s interesting that nobody from Senator Coburn’s office called me about this.’’


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