Posts Tagged ‘Utah’

Lincoln Hwy’s “Man from Utah” Rollin Southwell

March 29, 2013



Long-time Lincoln Highway advocate Rollin Southwell passed away suddenly on Sunday while in Iowa. Among the many contributions of “The Man from Utah” to Lincoln Highway history, preservation, and promotion was the conception and creation of a monument to Carl Fisher in central Utah.

Rollin’s family has planned a service for Monday, April 1, 2013, 11 am at the Twenty-Seventh East Ward, 185 North P Street (corner of 4th Ave), Salt Lake City. In lieu of flowers, Marie Southwell, Elizabeth Southwell, and Robert Southwell ask that donations be directed to the Utah State Historical Society in honor of Rollin’s love for historical research, particularly the history of the Lincoln Highway.

Rollin post

The Lincoln Highway in Basin and Range

August 14, 2012

I’ve been meaning for more than half a year to post about an impressive, engaging, and informative blog. Grover Cleveland, via his “Camera and Pencil in the Mountains,” has been regaling us with detailed trips along “The Lincoln Highway in Basin and Range, ” that is, across Utah and Nevada.

The latest trips cover Fish Springs, the John Thomas Ranch, and what Grover calls Black Point, above, a few miles west of Fish Springs. I really appreciated the link to the 1859 report of Captain James Simpson, who explored the major wagon and Pony Express route throughout Nevada.

Blogging the Lincoln Highway in NV and UT

November 17, 2011

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

Order Lincoln Highway Companion from Amazon – click HERE

Denny Gibson's new Lincoln Highway adventure

June 29, 2011

We’re once again lucky to have Denny Gibson traveling and documenting part of the Lincoln Highway, this time some of the roads to and from the 2011 LHA conference in Lake Tahoe. You can follow his adventures beginning at when he visits bits of the Lincoln in Utah. He starts with the beautiful little Lambs Canyon bridge (below). Then it’s across the Utah desert (below #2) and into Nevada.

At the conference, participants rode the old road at Clarksville, Cal., in Model A Fords (below). We’ll save more for our next blog entry….

You too can race at the Bonneville Salt Flats

September 9, 2010

PBS producer Rick Sebak passes on a reminder of a one-a year opportunity September 15-18, 2010. From a release: “Call it a hunch, but you’ve long suspected that when it’s really on the line, you could race a motorized bar stool across some salt flats faster than anyone. And soon, you’ll have your chance to prove it. Once a year, the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association puts on a crazy drag race between old VW vans, go-karts and, if you insist, regular old race cars.” Read more online at the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association and check out photos of past events.

LHA mainstay, Fish Springs manager Banta retires

March 22, 2010

The Salt Lake Tribune ran a feature story (and the photo below) about the retirement of Jay Banta as manager of Fish Springs National Wilflife Refuge, an oasis along the Lincoln Highway in dusty central Utah. Banta, long-time LHA member and membership director, has managed the preserve for the past 19 years. He’s also become an authority on fabled rancher and auto-service provider John Thomas, who pulled motorists from quagmires a century ago.

Jay Banta, known for his long beard, strong opinions and passion for all things wild, is calling it a career this week, exactly to the day he came to the most remote national wildlife refuge in the lower 48 states as its manager. How far off the beaten track is Fish Springs? Consider that the only way to reach the refuge is on a dirt road along a path that once served as the route for the Pony Express, the first transcontinental telegraph and the Lincoln Highway. The dirt roads are so bad that Banta always purchased lifetime warranties on tires, shocks and mufflers.

After working at Fish Springs as a seasonal employee in 1981 and 1982, Banta dreamed of coming back to the 17,992-acre oasis in the desert. It was established as a refuge in 1959 to provide habitat for migrating and wintering birds. “I think some people are possessed by this place,” he said. “I was possessed.”…

Banta has built a new house in Torrey where he plans to retire. He has part-time work lined up, including working as a barista to support his coffee habit.

Fisher Pass monument dedication this Saturday

September 29, 2009

A monument for Lincoln Highway “father and founder” Carl Fisher will be dedicated this Saturday, October 3, 2009, at Fisher Pass in central Utah. Family member Jerry Fisher, who wrote The Pacesetter biography of Carl, will sign books afterwards. The site of the monument is at a crest on UT route 199 between Clover and Terra, Utah.

UT_FisherPass invite

Guiding force Rollin Southwell writes:

Its been a long haul and we have lost a few of our committee members that gave their time and first $1000.00 for this project. They are the late Thomas A See and the late Norma Berns. But with the help,support and donations we are ready. A great big thank you goes to Stephen Ehninger of EFT Architects, Jerry Timmins, Jack Mason, Kenn Gillette with UDOT-Region 2, American Road Magazine, National Lincoln Highway Assoc. and State Chapters.

Fisher Pass was part of a plan by the Lincoln Highway Association to shorten the route across the Great Salt Desert. Using what was then calledJohnson Pass and building a road across the great Salt Flat (Goodyear Cutoff) would shorten the distance between Salt Lake City, Ut and Ely, NV by some 50 miles. Though the Cutoff was never compleed, Fisher Pass was finished. The State of Utah received Fisher money with interest, but the agreement was never completed as it was to include a monument to Fisher. The RG Southwell Foundation has led the charge in recent years to finally complete the task. Learn more at

Immerse yourself in Denny's Lincoln Highway trip

August 24, 2009

A week ago I reported on Denny’s Gibson’s blog but if you didn’t bother visiting it, go to now and spend a half hour seeing, feeling, and tasting a trip along the Lincoln Highway westward from Illinois. Make sure you click his photos to see them bigger; here are a few.

Denny_NE_CvrdWagonA real heartbreaker, the Covered Wagon attraction near Kearney, Nebraska. Someone was working on the building last year, with plans to restore the wagon and oxen, but now they look worse than ever.

Denny_WY_MedBowW Here’s a great old road segment west of Medicine Bow, Wyoming. A truck used the road while Denny was there.

Denny_UT_FisherMonumentThe pull-off has been paved and ground was recently broken for the Fisher Pass monument south of Grantsville, Utah.

Fish Springs to offer trails class for its 50th

April 14, 2009

The Fish Springs National Wildlife Refuge, a wetland mecca along the Lincoln Highway in western Utah, is celebrating its 50th anniversary. The refuge was established in 1959 by the Migratory Bird Commission and is managed as a unit of the National Wildlife Refuge System.

The celebration will take place May 9-10, 2009. Billed as a weekend of Wildlife, Wildlands, and History, participants will accompany instructors in the field for natural history classes in any of three sessions (two on Saturday, one Sunday). Topics will include land birds, aquatic birds, aquatic botany, area geology, refuge archeology, and most notably, a class titled Fish Springs the Crossroads which looks at the many important pioneer trails that passed through the refuge.

sebak_ut_bantaloABOVE: Refuge manager and LHA membership coordinator Jay Banta was photographed by PBS producer Rick Sebak as the crew filmed for last year’s Lincoln Highway program.

Refuge manager Jay Banta says that class will cover “the Jackass Mail, the Pony Express, the Central Overland Stage, the Transcontinental Telegraph, the Lincoln Highway, and maybe even a bit of the CCC history as they built most of the country roads in our part of the world.” Classes are limited to 20 students and require pre-registration, available online, by email, or by phone — see below.

Camping will be allowed on the refuge Friday May 8 and Saturday May 9. There will be a group potluck dinner on Saturday with a “Campfire” program by manager Banta and some surprise guests!

The refuge is 135 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. Commuting time is approximately 3.5 hours from SLC, with half of that distance being gravel roads.

For more information check the Special Events at or e-mail or call the refuge from 7 am to 4:30 pm, M–F. (435) 831-5353 x2

Utah main street stars in Disney movie tonight

February 16, 2009


Magna, Utah, just west of Salt Lake City along the Lincoln Highway, is the setting for Dadnapped, premiering on the Disney Channel at 8 pm tonight. The movie features Disney’s stable of teen stars like Emily Osment and others from Hannah Montana. The photo above showing the town’s Empress Theater and others can be seen on the Flickr page of DWRowan. The town (renamed Mercury in the film) was spruced up and altered some for the film but many buildings will be recognized such as the Empress. Filming was late in 2007. The trailer also features some scenes of the town.

Osment will be promoting it on The View this morning, other Disney stars are on other ABC shows today, and with two music videos premiering later, Disney at one point reportedly billed tonight’s schedule (perhaps overbilling to us older than teens) as “the equivalent of the Beatles and Rolling Stones appearing on the Ed Sullivan Show on the same night.”

The plot? “Melissa has a bad case of sibling rivalry, only her competition is a fictional character in her father’s best-selling novel about a teenage super spy. When her father is ‘dadnapped’ by a group of overzealous fans, it’s up to Melissa to muster the courage and know-how to find him… which suddenly puts her in the midst of her own adventurous plot.”

ABC in Utah reports that Salty Pictures Inc., the production company that made Dadnapped, received $400,000 in economic incentives from the state. In return, the company spent almost $2.7 million in Utah. Filming for Dadnapped wrapped up in June of last year.

Other shows filmed around Magna range from an episode of Everwood (2003) to Stephen King’s The Stand (1994) to Carnival of Souls (1962) at Saltair.


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