Posts Tagged ‘Illinois’

Iowa Gumbo Snared Lincoln Highway Travelers

January 16, 2018

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO

Early motorists writing of cross-country journeys had little to say east of the Mississippi; once on Iowa’s dirt roads, they couldn’t stop. Iowa was notorious for “gumbo” mud, a result of the land between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers once having been submerged. Superb for crops, that same rich soil stymied cars when wet.

Making matters worse, Iowa’s roads were improved at the county level, where voters preferred minor overall improvements over diverting more funds to the Lincoln Highway. LHA president Henry Joy took the state legislature to task in a scathing article for Collier’s in 1916: “Not a wheel turns outside the paved streets of her cities during or for sometime after the frequent heavy rains…. Millions of dollars worth of wheeled vehicles become, for the time being, worthless.”

LH_IA_Joy_UM1964_bb.jpg

Henry Joy in gumbo near La Mouille, Iowa, June 1915. [UM 1964]

That article followed a 1915 trip that Joy made with LHA secretary Austin Bement and Packard mechanic Ernie Eisenhut in a new Packard 1-35 Twin Six, the first 12-cylinder production car. His photo album, with hundreds of snapshots from the muddy 2,885-mile journey, can be found at the University of Michigan’s Bentley Library. The captions themselves are often entertaining:

“Nearing Tama, Iowa, our rear wheels threw gumbo higher than the telephone poles.”

“The natives took reserved seats to watch us work their roads.”

“Three hours were spent in this mud hole near Tama.”

“Four hours were needed to dislodge us from the Lincoln Highway east of Marshaltown.”

“He pulled us out for $3.00 and a drink of whiskey.”

In By Motor to the Golden Gate (1916), future etiquette writer Emily Post wrote, “Illinois mud is slippery and slyly eager to push unstable tourists into the ditch, but in Iowa it lurks in unfathomable treachery, loath to let anything ever get out again that once ventures into it. Our progress through it became hideously like that of a fly crawling through yellow flypaper…. Our wheels, even with chains on, had no more hold than revolving cakes of soap might have on slanting wet marble.”

By 1920, with more than 430,000 registered vehicles, Iowa still had only 25 miles of paved roads outside of cities. The 1924 LHA guide warned, “It is folly to try to drive on Iowa dirt roads, during or immediately after a heavy rain.”

Dry spells brought horrible clouds of dust but it was the gumbo that was forever remembered. George Schuster said it best in his recollection of Ogden, Iowa, during the 1908 New York–to–Paris race: “It rained all day, the mud is nearly hub deep. We slid from one side of the road to the other. We covered more miles sidewise than ahead.”

Advertisements

“Pedaling Lincoln Highway” show follows IL route

April 27, 2013

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
To mark the centennial of the Lincoln Highway, Dan Libman rode his bike along the road through Illinois and recorded his recollections for a 3-part radio series. “Pedaling Lincoln Highway” aired this week on the university’s radio station WNIJ 89.5 but you can listen too.

LH_DanLibman_Roch

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Libman, an avid cyclist and professor at Northern Illinois University faculty DeKalb  says traveling by bike put him at the speed of early automobiles.

Read along here (also includes an audio player): Intro, 1, 2, 3.

Or if you just want to listen: Intro, 1, 2, 3.

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.

 

Illinois B&B wins award

February 6, 2013

The Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition (ILHC) blog reports that a bed & breakfast along the Lincoln Highway corridor has won a prestigious award. Parkside Bed and Breakfast, 200 E. Roosevelt Street, DeKalb, Illinois, was awarded the prestigious Guest Favorite Award from BnBFinder. Only 8 out of 3,000 that are listed on the BnBFinder.com site were chosen for this award. The main house was built in 1854; the attached apartment was opened as a B&B in July 2010. They are located just south of E. Lincoln Highway.

IL_Parksid B&B

Learn more about innkeepers Bob and Pam Snow or make a reservation at www.parksidebedandbreakfast.com.

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.

Museum for LH & Route 66 restoring 1928 post

January 23, 2013

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
LH_IL_Joliet markerThe Joliet Area Historical Museum, at the crossroads of the Lincoln Highway and Route 66 in Joliet, Illinois, is asking for help in restoring its 1928 Lincoln Highway concrete marker. According to a release, the museum hopes “to raise $5,000 to restore the highway marker which is deteriorating rapidly. Restoration includes: stabilizing the interior rebar, re-adhering the broken segments, removing bronze disease, brightening the paint, and displaying it inside.” Of course, there is no paint — the colors are in the concrete — but the rest sounds like a worthy endeavor.

Read more HERE in the release:

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.

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/.

New Lincoln Highway mural for Batavia, Illinois

August 8, 2012

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
A new mural was placed in Batavia, Illinois, today as part of a series sponsored by the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition. The large works of public art stretch along the 179-mile Illinois byway corridor, in over two dozen communities. The latest mural is on the Batavia Floral building at 109 South Batavia Avenue. Artist Jay Allen, owner of ShawCraft Sign Company, created the interpretive mural series.

The Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition’s multi-site mural project showcases the history of the early highway, bringing the intriguing stories into people’s lives so they can recognize its impact on American travel and the communities. Visit drivelincolnhighway.com 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.

New Lenox gets new Lincoln Highway Mural

June 7, 2012

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
The next in the series of Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition Interpretive Murals was installed today in New Lenox, Illinois.

This collection of large scale works of public art can be found along the 179-mile Illinois byway corridor, in over two dozen communities. The latest mural is at 125 West Maple Street. It brings to life the story of the streetcar’s competition with the automobile.

As the designated Scenic Byway management agency overseeing the Lincoln Highway National Scenic Byway, the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition (ILHC) received a National Scenic Byway Grant from the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and an Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, Office of Tourism, Attraction Development (TAP) Grant, to work with Jay Allen of ShawCraft Signs to implement the project.

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.