Posts Tagged ‘Ohio’

End of an Era: Our friend Bernie Queneau

December 8, 2014

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO

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The Boy Scout Safety Tour visited the Linn County Courthouse, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on July 19, 1928. From left, Carl Zapffe, Edward Pratt, Mark Hughes, driver Reese Davis, Bernard Queneau, BSA Tour Manager Charles Mills, BSA Director of Demonstrations Reno Lombardi, and their Reo Speed Wagon.

 

If you attended a Lincoln Highway event in the past decade, you know there was only one celebrity who fans waited to see: Bernie Queneau, with his deep voice and big smile. Of course, his world was much larger than the Lincoln Highway. When I last spoke with him, an interview actually, he asked if we could talk about something else. “There was more to my life than that trip” he said, not grouchy but proudly.

Still, to Lincoln Highway fans he will always be the Scout on the 1928 coast-to-coast Safety Tour, the last connection to a long-gone era when Model T’s dominated the dusty/muddy, roads.

Bernie was born in Liege, Belgium, on July 14, 1912—Bastille Day he liked to point out—two months before Carl Fisher gathered auto industry friends to propose his crazy cross-country highway idea. Bernie had vague memories of WWI, and then at 13, his family moved to Minneapolis. Thanks to his advanced education, they made him a high school sophomore. His family moved again to New Rochelle, New Jersey, where he graduated in 1928 at age 15.

He entered a contest for Eagle Scouts to go to Africa and was one of seven finalists. After three were chosen, Bernie and the remaining three were offered a tour along the Lincoln Highway that would promote both Scouting and the road itself, which was being superseded (as were all named trails) by the Federal highway numbering system. Much of the Lincoln Highway from Pennsylvania to Wyoming was marked as U.S. 30, but they were different paths, and many bypassed parts of the Lincoln never did receive a number. Those are the parts the Scouts would have traveled.

I first met Bernie when LHA President Esther Oyster tracked him down in 1997. I was a founding director of the LHA and had published my first book about the road the year before. Esther was looking for a special speaker at the upcoming LHA conference in Ohio and was surprised to find one of the Scouts still living. Bernie was 84 and here in my hometown of Pittsburgh. She arranged for us to interview him on March 20 at my workplace, the Senator John Heinz History Center, where I still work. Bernie was amazed that anyone had heard of his road trip seven decades earlier, let alone might be interested in it.

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Esther and Bernie at the fun, informal premier of Rick Sebak’s PBS program about the Lincoln Highway. Sebak’s impromptu showing of clips on the wall pleased fans crowded into the Road Toad near Ligonier, Pa., September 20, 2008.

Esther and Bernie met again at the 2002 LHA conference in San Francisco, where he dedicated a replacement marker at the Western Terminus, and a few months later they invited me to lunch. Plans were made for the William Penn Hotel, a prestigious venue in downtown Pittsburgh, opened 1916. We three reunited at the History Center, and as we walked outside I asked Bernie where he was parked. “We’ll walk” he said and for the next seven blocks it was hard to keep up with this sprightly 90-year-old! Their treat that day was to tell me they’d gotten engaged!

Bernie liked to joke about meeting Esther’s family, that they teased him whether he had any piercings or if he worried about being 12 years older. He joked back that he thought Esther would be sufficiently mature. They were married and in Summer 2003 they re-drove his trip across the country with an LHA tour group that celebrated the 90th anniversary of the Lincoln Highway, the 75th anniversary of the Scout trip, and their marriage.

Every few years our paths would cross, usually at a Lincoln Highway event. Last year, after a historical society evening banquet, the older audience was ready to go home, but Bernie ordered another bottle of wine. After lunch just a few months ago, he jumped behind the wheel of his new car and drove Esther home on the Penn-Lincoln Parkway, Pittsburgh’s frantic 4-lane successor to the old Lincoln Highway through town.

The History Center will open a WWII exhibit next Spring, hence my invitation to Bernie for another oral history. The three of us met up here once again, and for a couple hours he held us spellbound with first-hand recollections of being in the Navy 1939-1946. He used his Ph.D. in Metallurgy to investigate many important applications, from oxygen tanks to aircraft armor to improved ballistics. After the war, he joined U. S. Steel, rising in 1970 to General Manager Quality Assurance for the entire company, which was producing 25 million tons of steel a year. He retired in 1977 only to become a Consulting Engineer, not really retiring for another decade.

Of course, even real retirement for Bernie was busier than a workday for the rest of us. He volunteered for Meals on Wheels, as a hospital escort, and more recently at the used book store at his nearby Mt. Lebanon Library. He and Esther saw a great deal of the world together. He was even a bit late to his own big 100th birthday party, having toured the city all day.

On Saturday, December 6, 2014, he was bestowed the rare Distinguished Eagle Scout Award for outstanding career achievement, on Esther’s 90th birthday. He passed away hours later, on Sunday, Pearl Harbor Day.

There is so much more to his life but it’s the Scout trip that always fascinated Lincoln Highway fans. His 1928 diary holds the precious insights of a teenager on an arduous and monotonous trip.

In New Jersey: “We saw the mayor and veteran of Civil War…. we did over 60 on the crowded highway.”

“Ohio is full of pigs, cattle, bad roads, and rain.”

And Utah: “On and on and on over the worst U.S. route I ever hope to see.”

We’ll miss his honesty, his thoughtful observations, his sense of humor, his love of history and good food. Most of all, I will miss his steady demeanor behind all those other things. As Esther likes to say, he was an old-school gentleman. When in his company, you felt you should do better too, be a better person … and be at least half as active. We’ll miss Bernie but he surely has 102 years of friends waiting for him….

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Tired Scouts in a Hudson convertible on the long trip home. Bernie is at right.

 

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Lincoln Highway Buy-Way Yard Sale August 8-10

July 24, 2013

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
The ninth annual Lincoln Highway Buy-Way Yard Sale will be held August 8-10, 2013. The sale, started in Ohio in 2005, has expanded westward but the Ohio Lincoln Highway Historic Byway still leads the efforts; last year saw more than 1,200 sales from East Liverpool to the Indiana border according to Mike Hocker, executive director of Ohio’s byway.

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The Ohio Historic Byway publishes a Travelers Guide that includes a map showing the Lincoln’s route and its relationship to US 30. The guide can be found at many businesses along the corridor.

Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa will also have sales along the route. In fact, Council Bluffs in western Iowa will host its own Lincoln Highway Buy-Way Yard Sale on Saturday, August 10, at 2400 N. Broadway (site of the former Pee-Wee Gardens on the LH) from 9 am to 2 pm. It will feature antique cars, model airplane demonstrations, and Lincoln Highway Association members discussing the highway’s history.

For Ohio, see http://www.historicbyway.com/buy-way-yard-sale/about-the-buy-way.
For Indiana, see http://indianalincolnhighway.org/?page_id=931 (still showing 2012)
For Illinois, see http://illinoislincolnhighwayassociation.org/?p=625.
For Iowa, see http://iowalincolnhighway.org/node/39.

Lincoln Highway Buy-Way Yard Sale this weekend

August 6, 2012

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
The 8th Annual Buy-Way Yard Sale along the Lincoln Highway starts this Thursday and runs through Saturday, Aug. 11. Started in Ohio, it has grown to include West Virginia and parts of Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa’s Lincoln Highway communities.

“If you are looking for it, it’s out there somewhere waiting for you to buy at a bargain price,” says Mike Hocker, executive director for Ohio’s Lincoln Highway Historic Byway. “This three-day BUY-WAY Yard Sale has not only introduced people from all over the country to the history of America’s first coast-to-coast paved roads, but it also provides an economic boost to the communities that participate, and it serves the thrifty side of all of us who find that bargain.” Visit www.historicbyway.com for more info.

2012 LHA conference in Canton, Ohio

June 18, 2012

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
Today launches the 20th annual Lincoln HIghway Association conference, located in Canton, Ohio. The Ohio chapters of the national Lincoln Highway Association along with the official Ohio Lincoln Highway Historic Byway are hosting some 200 visitors at the McKinley Grand Hotel for a week of lectures, seminars, day-long road trips, banquets and other evening activities. The theme — Pathways and Presidents — celebrates the Lincoln Highway.

The annual conference is held each year somewhere along the corridor from New York to San Francisco. In 2011, Lake Tahoe dazzled attendees with local culture and history, and two years ago Dixon, Ill., hosted the week-long conference.

Organizer Jim Cassler said there will be tours focusing on Ohio’s Amish Country, a train trip on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway and a trip to the Packard Museum in Warren honoring Lincoln Highway co-founder Henry Joy, then president of Packard Motors. Presidential activities will include Canton’s McKinley and the First Ladies Museum, while a trip to Marion will highlight Warren Harding’s involvement in the early highway.

For details and developing registration information, go to www.lincoln highwayassoc.org or www.historicbyway.com.

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.

Ohio tours: Ghostly Tales of the Lincoln Highway

March 27, 2012

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
A short and long tour this fall will feature visits to haunted places along the Lincoln Highway in Ohio. The 5-day tour runs Monday–Friday, September 17–21, 2012; the one day is Saturday, October 6, 2012.

The long trip begins with a guided motor coach tour of ” Half Acre of Hell,” a shady little neighborhood of East Liverpool. By Friday, you’ll have reached Salem for a Haunted & Historical Trolley Tour and dinner at Ricky’s English Pub. The one-day bus trip includes a tour of Columbiana County’s Ghostly Tales, Ricky’s, and the Salem tours. Fee for the week-long tour is $565 p/p and includes overnight stays and most meals, with motor coach pickups in Beaver Falls and Cranberry, Pa., and East Liverpool, Ohio. The one-day bus tour is $75. Contact Connie Faulk, conniegoldentriangle@gmail.com or 724-843-0980.

Hit the road with MyLincolnHighway

January 9, 2012

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
Stuck inside with no road trips till Spring? Click on over to mylincolnhighway.com for a fun look at some LH travels in Ohio. Jamie calls her blog “A somewhat baised guide to the greatest road across the USA.”

Her trips so far are mostly in east-central Ohio but she’s also traveled a few times to Grand View Point near Bedford, Pennsylvania, and even visited the new Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum past Chambersburg. Below, she is at Grand View Point (which was renamed Mt. Ararat a couple decades ago when the Ship Hotel was ark-ified). The view of the gas station across the road. Note the pillar on the right is missing, spelling certain doom for the roof. Also note the graffiti artist reminding us of their trip in “20010”!

2012 Lincoln Highway conference in Canton

October 11, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
The Ohio chapters of the national Lincoln Highway Association, along with the official Ohio Lincoln Highway Historic Byway, are planning to bring over 200 visitors to the McKinley Grand Hotel in June 2012 for a week of lectures, seminars, day-long road trips, and banquets all with the theme of “Pathways & Presidents” and celebrating the Lincoln Highway.

The 2012 Lincoln Highway Association conference begins Monday, June 18, with a welcome reception open to anyone wishing to have answers about the historic road. Later in the week will be a special Marmon automobile exhibit.

In addition to official East and West tours, organizer Jim Cassler says there will be additional trips focusing on Ohio’s Amish Country, a train ride on the Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railway, and a trip to the Packard Museum in Warren honoring Lincoln Highway co-founder Henry Joy, then President of Packard Motors. Presidential activities will include Canton’s McKinley and the First Ladies Museum, while a trip to Marion will highlight Warren Harding’s involvement in the early highway.

Visit www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org or www.historicbyway.com for general history of the highway. Registration information will be available there at a later date.

Lincoln Highway Buy-Way coming your way!

July 16, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
It’s once again time for the annual Lincoln Highway Buy-Way Yard Sale running August 4, 5 and 6, 2011. The miles-long event began in Ohio seven years ago and has since expanded to all of Iowa and parts of Illinois and Indiana.

Ohio publishes an official Traveler’s Guide that includes a map of the state’s Lincoln Highway alignments plus listings of many yard sales and community events along the way. This free guide is available at convention and visitor bureaus and chambers along the route.

BUY-WAY Yard Sale participants in any state may list their yard sale information on the byway website www.historicbyway.com that shoppers can  print out and use to navigate their shopping.

For more information on the Buy-Way, call (419) 468-6773 or visit www.olhhc.org/index.php/buy-way-yard-sale/.

Denny visits OH Lincoln Highway League meeting

May 5, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
Fellow roadtripper Denny Gibson visited the Ohio Lincoln Highway League’s meeting last Saturday in Ashalnd Ohio. As always, he documented it with great photos. Click the link to start on the second day, then follow along as he takes the Lincoln Highway through Mansfield and westward. www.dennygibson.com