Posts Tagged ‘history’

Nebraska’s 1733 Ranch in 1915

November 1, 2016

A century ago, Lincoln Highway tourists crossing Nebraska often stopped five miles west of Kearney for a photo at the 1733 Ranch. Its sign “1733 miles to Frisco, 1733 miles to Boston” was iconic … except that both mileages were wrong and the Lincoln Highway never went to Boston.


The 1915 LHA guidebook lists Kearney as 1752 miles from San Francisco and 1632 miles from New York City. So why 1733, and how did Kearney come to promote itself as the “Midway City”?

History professor John T. Bauer wrote in the Summer 2015 issue of Nebraska History that the 1733 mileage is derived from the railroad route between the two, which the city embraced as early as 1890.

When the LHA movie caravan crossed the country in 1915 to produce a promotion film, hundreds of photos were taken by Edward Holden, secretary to LHA vice president and field secretary Henry C. Ostermann. The above photo then leads to an interesting question; the  1733 Ranch name has long been said to stem from new owners in 1917, but this 1915 photo indicates otherwise.

The modern LHA now sells a CD with 300 of Holden’s photos at the Lincoln Highway Trading Post.

The ranch itself is long gone—only the 1733 Estates remind us of that long-ago era.



June 27, 2012

The most revolutionary event for the Lincoln Highway since it was founded 99 years ago is now available — free, detailed, online maps of the Lincoln Highway!

The LHA Mapping Committee (myself and 2 dozen others) has worked for a decade to map all generations of the Lincoln Highway, from the obscure Proclamation Route to the equally-rare city feeders. Mapping software expert (and committee chair) Paul Gilger has done a stunning job, spending hundreds of hours to apply our info to DeLorme and now Google Maps. The maps are now available to the public for free. Click to see for yourself this stunning resource detailing exactly where the LH went from coast-to-coast. Here are some samples that you should be able to easily identify.

Review of Shelton's Lincoln Highway Festival

August 11, 2010

The Grand Island Independent ran a nice follow-up to the Lincoln Highway Festival in Shelton, Nebraska, including a walk through of the LH Visitor’s Center there. Following are some parts of their story.

But now as the 80-year-old Nebraska president of the Lincoln Highway Association, Stubblefield is doing more than watching the highway and its traffic — he’s helping preserve the history of its creation.

He helped create the Lincoln Highway Visitor’s Center located at C Street and Highway 30 in Shelton and shares time staffing that center with other volunteers of the Shelton Historical Society. All are just a cell phone away to greet visitors and open the center’s doors at the back of the historic First State Bank building….

Once inside, it’s everything Lincoln Highway.

Pens, postcards, water, letter openers, ashtrays.

There’s Lincoln Highway cigars — just 9 cents in the day — and of course, there’s Burma Shave memorabilia.

“Do you know where Jerome’s Tepee was in Grand Island?” Stubblefield inquired as he pointed to an original black pennant professing the tepee in Grand Island to be in the “center of North America.”

It was right by the big Husker Harvest Days billboard located at Highway 30 and Husker Highway, Stubblefield said, on the north side of the road.

“It was what was called a tourist trap,” he chuckled.

One of the most stunning displays in the visitor’s center is a row of original metal Lincoln Highway mileage markers. They were purchased by the Automobile Club of Southern California and erected along the highway to give travelers an idea of distance to the next stops.

“Brule 1 mile, Big Spring 11 miles,” stated one sign. “Paxton 10 miles, North Platte 43 miles.”

Stubblefield and other members of the association (there are 100 in Nebraska and 1,100 nationwide) have purchased the signs at auctions, antique stores or wherever they are found.

Effie Gladding's Lincoln Highway book online

August 9, 2010

Project Gutenberg, the first producer of free electronic books, offers more than 33,000 free ebooks of previously published titles, all digitized with the help of thousands of volunteers. Now available is an early road book, Across the Continent by the Lincoln Highway by Effie Price Gladding. Other ebook sites have already taken the file and reposted it but without the images (or I assume permission), and PG warns that these are most likely spammers. You’ll find the safe original here:

As I wrote in my Greetings from the Lincoln Highway book:

Effie Gladding had just returned from three years touring the world when she departed San Francisco on April 21, 1914. She and her husband Thomas first drove the El Camino Real 600 miles south before turning and meeting the Lincoln at Stockton. In a 262-page book she titled Across the Continent by the Lincoln Highway, she doesn’t reach the focus of her title till page 108, then detours off it for another 47 pages near the end, skipping most of Ohio and Pennsylvania. But it was the first full-size hardback to discuss transcontinental travel, as well as the first to mention the Lincoln Highway.

Click the link above or go to Project Gutenberg’s main page for the book for other ways to download the text and images.

Mister Ed's Elephant Museum destroyed by fire

July 6, 2010

Olga A. Herbert, Executive Director of Pennsylvania’s Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor, just alerted me that Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum in central Pennsylvania has been destroyed by fire. Owner Ed Gotwalt has spent decades amassing his collection of elephant-themed objects joined to a candy and gift store; he also serves on the Corridor board of directors. Olga said it “burned to the ground late last night, including every elephant. He plans to rebuild and be open by September 1.” Although the news is horrible, it’s equally astounding that he’s ready to rebuild and so quickly! The York Distpatch covers it here and the York Daily Record ran a story about Ed vowing to rebuild.

Mural for Army's Transcontinental Motor Convoy

April 7, 2010

Here’s a story from Sauk Valley Newspapers (Dixon-Sterling, IL), April 6, 2010:

DIXON – The City Council on Monday approved two lease agreements for painting a mural that will be at Galena and River roads. The mural, part of a series of Lincoln Highway Association projects, will re-create members of the first Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy lunching on the lawn of the Old Lee County Courthouse.

“That’s going to be a really nice mural,” Mayor Jim Burke said.
He appointed a three-person committee 6 months ago to work with the Lincoln Highway Association.

One lease agreement calls for the mural to be painted on the Pattie Hummel Photography and Dixon Tourism building at 106 W. River St. The other is for use of adjacent property on Galena Avenue during the mural’s painting.

“We want it up by the Fourth of July, and even June,” Burke said, adding that Lincoln Highway Association members will be in Dixon June 22-26 for their national conference.
In July 1919, the Army convoy made a historic cross-country trek from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco. It stopped in Dixon for lunches made by residents, according to the Dixon Telegraph’s archives of July 22, 1919.

More on Lincoln Highway bricks that moved west

January 6, 2010

Updating yesterday’s story on Brian Cassler’s efforts to deliver bricks to Nebraska, dad Jim sent this photo and info on where they came from:

The bricks were uncovered in the summer of 2007 when Tuscarawas Street (the Lincoln Hwy through downtown Canton, Ohio) was unearthed as a part of a street renovation project. Former LHA president Bob Lichty asked the city to save them to be used for a future project. When the Archway requested bricks, we were able to fill their request.

The bricks will be used for a recreated stretch of the transcontinental road at the Great Platte River Road Archway that spans I-80 near Kearney in central Nebraska. Cleaning the bricks and arranging their transport was an Eagle Scout project for Brian Cassler. Jim operates the Lincoln Highway Trading Post.

1919 Ohio route change got people talking

August 10, 2009

How many of you got to visit at least part of the Lincoln Highway Buy-Way event this past weekend? Write and tell us about it!! Mike Hocker, executive director of the Ohio Lincoln Highway Historic Byway and director of that state’s Buy-Way event, sent the following article that shows the struggle over routing the LH. Nancy Everly actually found the article in the The Crestline Advocate, July 10, 1919, while researching her forthcoming book on Leesville, and Nancy Hocker transcribed it.


Residents of the Western Part of the County are Scrapping Over the Much Talked of Lincoln Highway

From Bucyrus west to Oceola and Nevada the residents of the county are having much ado about the route of the Lincoln Highway. The original route of the Highway was to go from Bucyrus to Upper Sandusky through Nevada but the Crawford county improvement has gone by was of Oceola, which seems to be a straighter road.

As a national advertisement the Lincoln Highway is considerable institution but in reality it cannot be considered seriously. As it is laid out at present it will never be a monument to good road building. For instance, Wayne County is now closing the gap by improving the Highway from the present end of the brick road five miles west of Wooster to the Ashland county line. In order to do this the Highway leaves the main east and west road about six miles west of Wooster and takes a crooked and circuitous route over through Ashland and then back to Mansfield. No one will ever be able to give a good reason for such a route when the Highway could be laid out over the straight road from Wooster to Mansfield, a safer, prettier and shorter route.’ Coming into Mansfield on Fourth street the Highway takes a snake like course through that city and thence by way of a longer and more dangerous route through Richland and Crawford counties and another snake-like route through the city of Bucyrus. If the Highway is really supposed to be the most direct route from coast to coast it would leave Mansfield on Fourth street, the same street on which it enters, proceed right west to Bucyrus on a straight line and enter the latter city on the same street by which it leaves, Mansfield street. An improved road from coast to coast by the shortest and most direct route through the country would stand forever as a monument to the cause of good roads – an incentive for all time to active construction and maintenance of better roads. But the Lincoln Highway does not fulfill this mission and it will never be the great institution which good roads enthusiasts from coast to coast hoped it would be.

The Bucyrus Forum makes the following remarks concerning the changing of the courses of the Highway we of Bucyrus:
The Lincoln Highway board in Nevada has received notice from the Lincoln Highway Association to put up markers and detour signs along the old Nevada road from Bucyrus to Nevada. The signs are being put up.

In the word which was sent to the Nevada board, it was stated that the signs would be necessary to accommodate the United States government motor transport corps which is scheduled to come through over the Lincoln Highway. The motor transport corps left Washington and is scheduled to stop over in Bucyrus, making this a night stop about the 16th or 17th of this month.

While there has been some contention over the routing of the Lincoln Highway from Bucyrus to Nevada, this is the first evidence of any official action upon the part of the Lincoln Highway Association in selecting the road. Nevada men feel that this indicates that it is the intention of the war department engineers to use the original route through Nevada. Quoting from a letter recently received by Dr. S. S. Barrett, as chairman of the board at Nevada from H. C. Osterman, Nevada men feel confident of their case. The letter says in part:

“After full investigation by the army engineers and the Lincoln Highway Association,” Osterman says:  “The official Lincoln Highway route from Upper Sandusky to Bucyrus is by the way of Nevada, almost parallel with the Pennsylvania railroad, and will not be changed.”

As the route was originally laid out over the Nevada-Bucyrus and not the Oceola-Bucyrus road, this letter is taken to indicate that there is no question that it will be the official route. The change was asked for by parties desiring it to go over the Oceola road, it was stated.

A. F. Bennett, vice president of the Lincoln Highway Association, in a letter to the Nevada board, says: “It is distinctly against the policy of the association to make a change in the route of the Lincoln Highway. The army engineers in connection with the routing of the trans-continental motor convoy through Ohio requested that the route of the Lincoln Highway be removed from Forest, Dunkirk, Ada and Lima, to the route following directly west from Upper Sandusky through Williamstown and Beaver Dam and West Cairo to a junction with the Lincoln Highway west of Gomer. The directors of the Lincoln Highway Association have authorized this change.

Consul Pontius of Upper Sandusky has removed the signs to the new route as instructed.

The Nevada board plans to place the signs as requested to enter Nevada over the old route of the Lincoln Highway.

Famous Phila Lincoln Highway piece to change

July 10, 2009

A small segment of Lincoln Highway on the northeast border of Philadelphia is due for change next summer; whether that will affect an 18th century stone arch bridge remains to be seen. Here’s a scene and a video walk along the road and bridge by Rick Sebak when filming his PBS special, A Ride Along the Lincoln Highway.

PA_Byberry stone arch bridge

Plans to fix up Benjamin Rush State Park, parallel to Roosevelt Boulevard/the Lincoln Highway, have languished for decades due to a city-state dispute about the improvements. But according to, John W. Norbeck, director of the Bureau of State Parks, last week said he and City Councilman Brian O’Neill reached “an agreement in principle” during a June 30 meeting.

The parks director said last week that the state will proceed as planned to put out bids early next year and for work to commence by June 2010…. The design stipulates that Burling Avenue, a beat-up old city road that cuts through the park from Roosevelt Boulevard’s outer northbound lanes, will be removed and filled in along with another street [Byberry-Bensalem Road, aka the old Lincoln Highway] that can be seen only on maps.

Striking Burling Avenue and Byberry-Bensalem Road from the city’s street map had been a sticking point for years. O’Neill had maintained that city law bars building on a city street unless the street has been “vacated” by ordinance. Later, city zoning matters further complicated things….

When City Council reconvenes in the fall, the councilman said, he will introduce legislation that would erase the streets from city maps and also change the city’s passive recreation ordinance to accommodate the state’s plans for Rush.

3rd PA Roadside Giant dedication 1 pm today

May 27, 2009

The third Roadside Giant sculpture along the Lincoln Highway in western Pennsylvania will be unveiled today. The Community Installation Celebration for the Central Westmoreland  Career & Technology Center’s “Packard Car with Driver” will take place at 1 pm at the entrance to the Westmoreland Chamber of Commerce and the Mt. Odin Golf Course, on the original Lincoln Highway. Guests will enjoy a “giant” Packard Cake, in the same shape as the giant, but edible! Photos of the installation courtesy Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor.