Archive for the ‘roadside’ Category

Drive-In Gas Station’s 100th on Lincoln Highway

December 2, 2013

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
On December 1, 1913, the Lincoln Highway had only celebrated its dedication a month earlier when the world’s first architect-designed drive-in gas station opened along the new coast-to-coast road in Pittsburgh.

Gulf’s pioneering station in Pittsburgh.

Gasoline had been sold for years at hardware stores and other businesses serving the burgeoning auto industry. There were also places selling only gasoline, even drive-in stations.

Gulf logo

But the fuel was often kept in barrels and poured from large cans. And unlike those existing buildings or informal shacks, Gulf Oil had an architect design the new building to efficiently and elegantly pump gas and provide other services. In fact, the following year, the station would start giving away the first free oil company road maps.

The station featured a canopy to shield motorists from weather, new Bowser hand-cranked pumps, large incandescent-lit signs, attendants on duty day and night, and the checking of fluids — all new to the industry.

The station was on Baum Boulevard (the Lincoln Highway) at St. Clair Street. Baum was quickly becoming Pitsburgh’s “automobile row” (common in all cities), filling with garages, tire shops, and car dealers — even the local auto club. Baum already served the carriage trade so this was a natural outgrowth. That itself made sense since Baum connected the city to the mansions being built to the east along on Penn Avenue in Point Breeze — also  the Lincoln Highway.

An informal station was already operating on the site when landowner James Mellon contracted the new station. The Mellon family was Gulf’s first and foremost investors, intertwining their Mellon Bank and Gulf Oil for decades. Gulf was an early proponent of branding gas, especially with its bright orange circle logo, as opposed to generic gas that was also often of lower quality; a branded station was a natural next step.

Gulf2

The station didn’t last long, perhaps as late as 1950. Since then it’s been a parking lot. In 2000, the Gulfoil Historical Society campaigned for, and helped erect, a state historical marker to the station. I visited the site today, on the station’s 100th birthday, in the Lincoln Highway’s 100th year.

US Senate recognizes the Lincoln Highway

June 28, 2013

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
On Wednesday, June 26, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution introduced by U.S. Sens. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) and Deb Fischer (R-Neb.) to recognize the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln Highway. The highway’s centennial celebration begins this Sunday in Kearney, Nebraska, with day-long events on Monday, the actual 100th anniversary.

Unfortunately, the resolution missed the actual date by one day, naming June 30 as the anniversary, when July 1 was the day of incorporation. That date and it’s significance to history and Lincoln held great importance to the LHA founders.

Also, headlines from the representative are calling it the centennial of “Highway 30.” Although much of the Lincoln Highway later became US Route 30, and that the numbering of much of the route that way was intentional, there is no real connection between the era of named auto trails from the 1910s and the federal numbered highways of 1926.

Still, Lincoln Highway fans can bask in the glow of federal recognition for their road.

See the full text of the resolution at

http://www.johanns.senate.gov/public/?a=Files.Serve&File_id=48e1da3a-7e19-482d-b5e2-137f0fc78a4f

New Lincoln Highway Mural in Chicago Heights

April 14, 2013

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
The 33rd roadside mural from the llinois Lincoln Highway Coalition was installed at 137 East 14th Street, Chicago Heights, Illinois. The mural depicts a vintage photo of the McEldowney Bridge that once crossed Thorn Creek in Chicago Heights and Henry C. Ostermann, the Lincoln Highway Association Field Secretary who traveled the Lincoln Highway to inspect it. Chicago Heights is known as the “Crossroads of the Nation” where the Lincoln and Dixie Highways intersect. A special element in this mural is the “L” sign, a three-dimensional piece attached directly to the mural surface.

IL_Chicago Hts mural

Another mural was installed the same day in Crest Hill, at 1701 Larkin Avenue in the Hillcrest Shopping Center. The story was also reported at nwitimes.com. For more information or to download an Illinois Lincoln Highway Visitor Guide, visit drivelincolnhighway.com.

 

Small-town Nebraska hotel to be demolished

February 24, 2013

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
As reported by Nebraska Outback, the town of Brule (west pf Ogalalla) wants to tear down an old hotel along the Lincoln Highway to make way for other businesses. According to KNOP-TV (source of the screen shot below), “A new Community Development Agency in Brule wants to revitalize the downtown area, starting with this old hotel building on 2nd and State streets.”

LH_NB_Brule hotel

Although no plan or even interest in the location is mentioned, the agency official nonetheless says a replacement “will be a nice looking structure that will start bringing in tax base. That basically helps all those entities that are dependent on upon tax income.”

It is unfortunate that when a structure looks old or in disrepair that so many want to demolish, when it is just those structures, restored or not, that  give a community its character. This sense of heritage is exactly what people come to such towns looking for, not chain businesses that can be found anywhere.

Illinois Lincoln Highway murals need your vote

January 29, 2013

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
IL_MuralsThe Illinois Lincoln Highway Murals, created by artist Jay Allen for the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition, won first place in the Murals/Exhibit Graphics category in an annual sign contest presented by Signs of the Times magazine.

Now the murals are competing in the Signs of the Times 2013 Readers’ Choice Awards. They need YOUR help. It’s EXTREMELY easy and fun to see the competing projects.

Every mural is a hand-painted, unique work of art.  So far, 29 have been installed. Upon completion, the series will be one of the largest works of public art in the country.

Visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/8DV5THL and vote for your 3 favorite projects, including of course the murals. Voting is limited to once per computer and concludes on February 8.

Popular Joliet museum gets Lincoln Hwy exhibit

November 2, 2012

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
The newest project by Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition is not a mural or gazebo, it’s an exhibit at the Joliet Area Historical Museum in Joliet, Illinois. The unveiling coincided with the first-ever Illinois Scenic Byway Week, recently designated by Governor Quinn.

The new exhibit offers striking graphics and vintage photos complimented by stories that convey the Lincoln Highway’s impact on America and its increasingly mobile society. A detailed map and a replica 1928 Lincoln Highway marker help visitors find the route on paper and on their next rip on the road. The Joliet Area Historical Museum is a popular jumping-off point for followers of Route 66 heading west from Chicago to the Pacific coast.

Poster Commemorates Lincoln Hwy Centennial

October 29, 2012

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
A new poster commemoratees the forthcoming centennial of the Lincoln Highway in 2013. The Merrillville-Ross Township Historical Society Museum of Merrilville, Indiana, commissioned Mitch Markovitz to create the evocative image.

An article at nwitimes.com explains:

“We started this project more than a year ago,” said Dan Kleine, the project manager for the poster commissioning and a member of the Merrillville-Ross Township Historical Society board. “The whole idea was to build awareness that the Old Lincoln Highway is 73rd Avenue, just outside the museum’s front door.”

In his oil-on-canvas painting that is reproduced as a poster, Markovitz of Knox, creates a scene from 1929 when the Lincoln Highway was a major thoroughfare that led to Broadway and then north to Gary and Chicago….

Jeff Blair, Indiana’s national director on the Lincoln Highway Association, traveled from Leesburg, Ind., to witness the poster’s unveiling.

“Last year, I walked the Lincoln Highway west from Ohio to Illinois for charity. Next May, I’m going to walk east from Illinois to Ohio and I’ll pass right by here on the first day,” Blair said.

The article claims that the poster shows a 1929 Ford Model T, which is impossible. More likely it’s a Model A, though just as perplexing is why the image is said to portray the LH in 1929, a year after the LHA ceased active operations. Perhaps it was to include a 1928 concrete post, but that too is in an incorrect orientation, i.e., not facing the road.

Carl Fisher featured on Lynwood IL mural

October 12, 2012

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
The Village of Lynwood, Illinois, sports the newest mural in the Illinois Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor’s series that spans the 179-mile Illinois byway corridor. Lynwood marks the eastern terminus to the Illinois portion of the Lincoln Highway. The mural wasinstalled October 10, 2012, at 21490 East Lincoln Highway, on Lynwood’s Senior/Youth Center building.

ILHC works with artist Jay Allen (above, installing the mural), owner of ShawCraft Sign Company; every mural is a hand painted, unique work of art.  Upon completion, the series will be one of the largest works of public art in the country. This mural depicts Carl G. Fisher, the “Father of the Lincoln Highway” and elements of his life that helped turn his dream of the first transcontinental highway into a reality.

For more information on the Illinois Lincoln Highway, places to see and things to do, stories of the highway’s significance and history, or to download an Illinois Lincoln Highway Visitor Guide, visit drivelincolnhighway.com. To see the mural larger, visit my Facebook page at facebook.com/groups/28162312417/.

Petroliana auction of Preston’s gas station in Iowa

July 11, 2012

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
An auction is set for Saturday, August 11, 2012 at 9 am for highway memorabilia from the famous gas station once run by George Preston in Belle Plaine, Iowa. Not to worry — the signs on the station and adjacent garage are not being sold.

The station moved to 1301 4th Ave (west end of Main Street, green line on map) in 1921 when the Lincoln Highway’s route was changed through Belle Plaine. George started working there in 1923 at age 13 and soon purchased the Standard Oil station for $100. It later became a Phillips 66 and remained operational until 1989. George and wife Blanche also operated a 3-room motel.

After his passing in 1993, the site was cared for by his eldest son Ronald with the same passion and intuition, and he continued collecting memorabilia until he passed away in 2011.

Ron’s daughter Mary Preston wrote to say, “We have no intention of selling the corner but in the same breath we must sell some of the ‘clutter’ on Preston’s Corner.” The family is working with the Lincoln Highway Association and Belle Plaine Historical Society to preserve The Corner for travelers to step back in time.

Objects for auction include gas pumps, toys, furniture, books, farm equipment, a 1927 Model T  … and lots of signs.

For additional information about the auction see www.billkron.com/duwa.12-0811.html

Crawford monument cleanup tomorrow in Ohio

June 8, 2012

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
Members of the Galion Historical Society, Crestline Historical Society, Bucyrus Historical Society, and New Washington Historical Society will gather on Saturday to refurbish a monument to Colonel William Crawford, who was captured by Indians and killed in 1782. The monument erected by the Crestline Kiwanis Club in 1928, when Leesville Road was the Lincoln Highway. (Image below and more info at
www.touring-ohio.com/history/crawford.html.)

An article in the Bucyrus Telegraph-Forum quotes Mike Hocker, Executive Director of the Ohio Lincoln Highway Historic Byway:

“I have no idea when the last time it was cleaned was,” said Mike Hocker, of the Galion Historical Society. “It sits in the shade next to the woods and the moss really loves that.”

Hocker said the monument is made primarily of marble and limestone with a brass plaque.

“It really is a gorgeous monument,” Hocker said. “As part of Crawford 20/20 Vision, we are reaching out to the other historical societies and trying to get to know one another a little bit better.

“We can all benefit from helping one another out on larger projects. We figure if we all get out there, we can have it done in about an hour and a half.”

The monument cleaning begins at 10 a.m. Saturday.


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