Posts Tagged ‘auto travel’

Driving the LH in 1919 ~ part 6, smoky Pittsburgh

June 7, 2018

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO

Continuing our look at Beatrice Massey’s memoir of a cross-country trip, It Might Have Been Worse:

“We had come 442 miles, from New York to Pittsburgh, over fine roads and through beautiful country. Approaching Pittsburgh, we came in on a boulevard overlooking the river and ‘valley of smoke.’ Great stacks were belching out soot and smoke, obliterating the city and even the sky and sun. They may have a smoke ordinance, but no one has ever heard of it. We arrived at the William Penn Hotel, in the heart of the business center of the city, a first-class, fine hotel in every regard. We found the prices reasonable for the excellent service afforded, which was equal to that of any New York hotel. The dining-room, on the top of the house, was filled with well-dressed people, and we were glad that we had unpacked our dinner clothes, and appeared less like the usual tourist, in suits and blouses.

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Downtown Pittsburgh in 1919. [University of Pittsburgh, City Photographer Collection, 715.1924A.CP.]

“It was frightfully hot during our two days’ stay. You go out to drive feeling clean and immaculate, and come in with smuts and soot on your face and clothes, looking like a foundry hand. The office buildings are magnificent, and out a bit in the parks and boulevards the homes are attractive, and many are very handsome, especially in Sewickley. But aside from the dirty atmosphere one is impressed mostly by the evidences of the outlay of immense wealth. An enthusiastic brother living there took us through a number of the business blocks, and told us of the millions each cost and the almost unbelievable amount of business carried on. I can only describe Pittsburgh as the proudest city I’ve visited. Not so much of the actual wealth represented, but of what the billions had accomplished in great industries.

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Mills lined Pittsburgh’s rivers in 1919. Photo by Hugh C. Torrance. [Carnegie Museum of Art, 83.21.25.]

“We went out in the evening and stood on one of the bridges to look over the river lined with monster furnaces. The air was filled with sparks, jets of flame bursting through the smoke. All you could think of was Dante’s Inferno visualized. And what of the men who spend their lives in that lurid atmosphere, never knowing if the sun shone, nor what clean, pure air was like in their working hours ? I shall never look at a steel structure again without giving more credit to the men who spend their waking hours in those hells of heat and smoke than to the men whose millions have made it possible.”

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Lincoln Highway brochures (and a Rt 66)

March 11, 2009

il_rt66-brochureI met with LHA member Jim Peters today as he makes his way across the country. He’s exploring brochure ideas for the Lincoln Highway Association. Much of his trip, though, will be along Route 66 to browse some of the brochures that have made that road such a success, and such a pleasure to tour. I made sure to show him one of my favorites — the Illinois Historic Route 66 brochure (seen at right), which features a map spread over 11 panels. (Download it HERE.)

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In anticipation of the forthcoming LHA conference, pick up one of the new Indiana Lincoln Highway brochures, seen above. They feature a map of the route and info on other Lincoln-related sites in the state. If you’re too far away, you can request one from their website, or view the actual brochure online HERE.

New video on Alice's Drive 2009 commemoration

February 18, 2008

Richard Anderson reports that he and daughter Emily Anderson have produced and posted a new video about the 2009 journey Emily will take commemorating Alice Ramsey’s groundbreaking drive across the US in a rebuilt 1909 Maxwell. LH fans will note Lincoln Highway book state guides author and LHA Forum editor Gregory Franzwa about 50 seconds in and remaining a major voice in the 5:46 video.

Alice was the first woman to drive across the US, following a route that a few years later would be used by the Lincoln Highway in many places (though notably not across the Allegheny Mountains through PA or OH). Emily hopes to follow Alice’s original route as closely as possible, but will deviate somewhat due to roadway changes and the safety concerns.

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Learn more at their web site aliceramsey.org about the route, and about a film that Emily’s brother Bengt Anderson is producing about the event and women’s history, Alice’s Drive – Women Who Drove The Century. Richard also reports that the car body is finished and being painted, and that the engine needs only a few parts before being started, they hope in March. The most recent challenge was needing an exhaust manifold; not finding one, Richard modeled and cast one based one a 1908 Maxwell that he owns.