Posts Tagged ‘roadside attraction’

A.L. Westgard visits Frenchman’s Station

March 12, 2015
French1922_UM lhc0819

Looking west at Frenchman’s Station, aka Bermond’s Ranch, Nevada, 1922. University of Michigan Special Collections Library, lhc0819.

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO

Here’s a fun and fascinating story by Anton L. Westgard from his 1920 book “Tales of a Pathfinder” about Frenchman’s Station, a tiny outpost on the Lincoln Highway east of Fallon, Nevada. It was named for its French proprietor, Aime Bermond, who opened the stage station in 1904. The USPS named the site Bermond, with the Frenchman himself as postmaster. The business survived into the 1980s, when the building was sold to the Navy — the area is used for air warfare training by the Fallon Naval Air Base. It was demolished in 1987; only a few scattered remnants mark the site, which you can see at https://goo.gl/maps/yX50c.

French

 

“FRENCHMAN’S STATION”

One moonbright midsummer’s evening our party arrived at Frenchman’s Station, located in the most arid part of Central Nevada near the trail that in former days was the Pony Express route and two generations later became the Lincoln Highway. The station was kept by a Frenchman who made a living by hauling water from a spring, twelve miles distant, and selling it to freighters hauling ore and supplies between mining camps to the South and the railroad at Eureka. He also had sleeping accommodations in one of the two rooms in his cabin and furnished meals to travelers.

As the hour was late and my wife somewhat tired, we thought, that rather than take the time to pitch the tent and prepare camp, we would look over the accommodations of the station. I was deputized to examine these and report. I found that the double iron bedstead in the “guest room” occupied every inch of space necessitating undressing in the other room or perform the feat in the bed somewhat in the manner necessary in a Pullman berth. The facts were promptly reported back to the car.

Friend wife thought she had better have an individual peep and after looking the situation over thought it would do if the host would furnish clean linen. After having this cryptic word explained to him as meaning clean sheets and pillow cases he rolled his eyes and sputtered a flow of protestations assuring us that we need have no worry about the linen as the people who slept in that bed last were perfectly clean people, in fact as he put it: “as clean as Bill Taft.” Mr. Taft at that time was our President.

Eventually we succeeded in inducing the production of satisfactory bedding and proceeded out into the lean-to shed of a kitchen in anticipation of something to eat. Here my wife discovered a luscious-looking watermelon partly covered by a wet cloth to keep it cool and at once made a requisition on a generous slice. Our host, however, held up his hands in protest and with many apologies maintained that to grant this request would be out of the question and entirely impossible as he had had it brought all the way from Reno in anticipation of the visit of the “great pathfinder” who was expected over the route on an inspection trip as stated in the Reno papers and this was intended as a pleasing surprise to the great man. To encounter a luscious watermelon in the most arid part of Nevada, a hundred miles from a railroad, would be sure to convince him that after all this route had its advantages and should be advocated as a National touring boulevard and thus bring lucrative business to the station.

When my wife asked who this great man was he produced a copy of a Reno newspaper a few days old which contained an account of the expected visit of her husband. The half-tone photograph accompanying the article was taken when I wore city clothes and thus he had not recognized me. We chose not to enlighten him and enjoyed a fair meal sans watermelon. Our host in the meantime volubly set forth his bright prospects of future profits from travel over the expected boulevard. He was so earnest and enthusiastic that we did not have the heart to discourage him.

Now on the door of my car was a small brass plate on which was engraved my name and official position. Next morning when I went out to the car to see if everything was all right, I found the watermelon on the tonneau floor covered by the wet cloth but our host was nowhere in sight. In fact we prepared our own breakfast and only when we were ready to depart did he come from behind a nearby small hill and with tears in his eyes uttered his profound mortification over the fact that he had not recognized me, and his hopes that I would not let “this unfortunate demonstration of his absurd stupidity” influence me against “locating the boulevard” past his station.

While the boulevard is still only on the maps this route has attracted such a share of the transcontinental motor traffic that it is safe to assume that our host is reconciled for the lack of the boulevard by the increased flow of revenue from the tourist traffic. At least I hope he is as he was a cheerful, good old soul, residing alone out there in the barren and burning desert.

Postcard exhibit at Lincoln Highway museum

January 2, 2014

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
The Lincoln Highway Experience Museum east of Greensburg, Pennsylvania, has launched a new postcard exhibit. “Wish You Were Here” features six greatly-enlarged postcards showing iconic locations along the Lincoln Highway in central and western Pennsylvania.

Trib LH Experience

A screen shot from the Trib Live news story about the postcard exhibit.

The postcard backs are also reproduced, including the personal handwritten messages. All paid visitors to the museum will also receive a free new postcard (and stamp) to write out and address while at the museum.

The museum has an archive with more than 3,000 Lincoln Highway postcards. It is located just west of the Kingston Bridge on US 30 eastbound. The exhibit is located in a room of the historic 1815 Johnston House, one of the oldest structures along the Lincoln Highway.

Read more at
http://triblive.com/neighborhoods/yourligonier/5236930-74/postcard-museum-highway

Small-town Nebraska hotel to be demolished

February 24, 2013

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
As reported by Nebraska Outback, the town of Brule (west pf Ogalalla) wants to tear down an old hotel along the Lincoln Highway to make way for other businesses. According to KNOP-TV (source of the screen shot below), “A new Community Development Agency in Brule wants to revitalize the downtown area, starting with this old hotel building on 2nd and State streets.”

LH_NB_Brule hotel

Although no plan or even interest in the location is mentioned, the agency official nonetheless says a replacement “will be a nice looking structure that will start bringing in tax base. That basically helps all those entities that are dependent on upon tax income.”

It is unfortunate that when a structure looks old or in disrepair that so many want to demolish, when it is just those structures, restored or not, that  give a community its character. This sense of heritage is exactly what people come to such towns looking for, not chain businesses that can be found anywhere.

Petroliana auction of Preston’s gas station in Iowa

July 11, 2012

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
An auction is set for Saturday, August 11, 2012 at 9 am for highway memorabilia from the famous gas station once run by George Preston in Belle Plaine, Iowa. Not to worry — the signs on the station and adjacent garage are not being sold.

The station moved to 1301 4th Ave (west end of Main Street, green line on map) in 1921 when the Lincoln Highway’s route was changed through Belle Plaine. George started working there in 1923 at age 13 and soon purchased the Standard Oil station for $100. It later became a Phillips 66 and remained operational until 1989. George and wife Blanche also operated a 3-room motel.

After his passing in 1993, the site was cared for by his eldest son Ronald with the same passion and intuition, and he continued collecting memorabilia until he passed away in 2011.

Ron’s daughter Mary Preston wrote to say, “We have no intention of selling the corner but in the same breath we must sell some of the ‘clutter’ on Preston’s Corner.” The family is working with the Lincoln Highway Association and Belle Plaine Historical Society to preserve The Corner for travelers to step back in time.

Objects for auction include gas pumps, toys, furniture, books, farm equipment, a 1927 Model T  … and lots of signs.

For additional information about the auction see www.billkron.com/duwa.12-0811.html

First waitress in 1938 remembers Serro's DIner

June 14, 2012

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
As the former Serro’s Diner moves closer to being back in service, the diner’s first waitress got to visit the restoration project. The Serro family opened the brand new 1938 O’Mahony-brand diner in Irwin, Pa., as a Lincoln Highway bypass was being built around the town for the coming Pennsylvania Turnpike terminus. The diner will soon be part of a museum complex being built by the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor between Greensburg and Ligonier.

A story in the Tribune-Review (including the two images here by Eric Schmadel) reported how 95-year-old Jenny Baloh recently visited the diner where she began waitressing in 1938. As one of the 10 Serro siblings, she was THE first waitress:

My brothers (Louis and Joseph) bought the dining car when I was a teenager. I told them I didn’t know a thing about waitressing. They said, “You’ll learn.”

The diner was rescued from likely demolition in 1992 when I had the pleasure of arranging for its purchase and move by the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, now the Heinz History Center. With no practical place to display the diner, it was given to the LHHC. After almost 2 years of work, the diner is almost ready for it’s new home, a  soon-to-be-constructed addition at the Lincoln Highway Experience Museum along Route 30 East, across from the Kingston Bridge.

Order Lincoln Highway Companion from Amazon – click HERE

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.

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”!

Coffee Pot attacks are "tall tales" says AP

November 11, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
The historic Coffee Pot along the Lincoln Highway in Bedford PA has made the news as a possible waste of taxpayer money — but the story is unfounded. Here are a couple news reports.

From Streetsblog:

A handful of Republican Senators really have a knack for rooting out waste in our transportation system — but only the kind of “waste” that is imaginary.

Contrary to claims by Senator John McCain, this giant coffee pot in central Pennsylvania received zero dollars from the Transportation Enhancements program. Despite their claims to fiscal responsibility, Senators Jim Coburn, John McCain and Rand Paul haven’t zeroed in on egregious transportation boondoggles like the $1.7 billion cloverleaf in Wisconsin or the $5.2 billion highway to nowhere outside Houston.

Nope. These “fiscal watchdogs” have taken aim at a $900 million program that provides the majority of the nation’s bike and pedestrian infrastructure. And they’ve used some wild and colorful examples to support their position. Senators Paul and McCain said the Transportation Enhancements program has been used to pay for — no kidding — a “turtle tunnel” and a giant roadside coffee pot.

But this weekend the Associated Press looked into these claims as part of their “Fact Check” feature and found the senators “exaggerated and misrepresented some projects” in their attack. Brent Hugh at the Missouri Bike and Pedestrian Federation breaks down how the AP report should inject some common sense back into the discussion:

The fact check is unusual — every supposedly horrible example of Transportation Enhancements spending is completely debunked. Each example turns out to be either grossly exaggerated or completely misleading. That’s not surprising, because Transportation Enhancements is the single largest source of funding for bicycle and pedestrian funding in the U.S. today, and those projects are important, popular, and much needed.

Also from the AP:

Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., raised the issue last month when he temporarily blocked action on a transportation bill. He said he wanted to allow state transportation departments to use all their federal aid on basic needs such as roads, bridges and tunnels, instead of setting some aside for enhancements.

“We are not pouring asphalt, we are not laying concrete, we are not decreasing congestion, and we are not increasing safety,’’ Coburn complained. He produced a list of 39 projects that he said exemplify extravagance at a time when states don’t have enough money to repair structurally deficient bridges.

Coburn picked his examples from the more than 25,000 projects that have received money since Congress established the enhancement set-aside nearly two decades ago.

First on the list: the Lincoln Highway 200-Mile Roadside Museum in south-central Pennsylvania. It was described as receiving $300,000 in 2004 for signs, murals, colorful vintage gas pumps painted by local artists and refurbishing of a former roadside snack stand from 1927 that’s shaped like a giant coffee pot.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., was apparently working from Coburn’s list two weeks ago when he offered an amendment to narrow the types of projects eligible for enhancement funds.

“Pennsylvania ranks first out of all states for deficient bridges. Yet it seems to be more important to furbish large roadside coffee pots,’’ McCain said.

But no transportation aid was spent on the coffee pot’s $100,000 restoration, said Olga Herbert, executive director of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor. The money was raised entirely from preservation and civic organizations and local supporters.

“We did not use any of this $300,000 award for anything to do with the coffee pot,’’ she said. “It’s interesting that nobody from Senator Coburn’s office called me about this.’’

Pa LHHC Road Rally includes Ship Hotel mystery

October 6, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
Pennsylvania’s Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor is once again staging a Lincoln Highway Road Rally this weekend, October 8 and 9. This year’s rally will start in Jennerstown and end at Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum in Orrtanna, 12 miles west of Gettysburg, and includes a mystery! Although registration has ended, you can see the group along the way with its many antique car participants.

This year’s rally starts 9:30 a.m. with breakfast at the Coal Miner’s Cafe in Jennerstown, then visit the Bicycle Built for Two Roadside Giant, the new Flight 93 Memorial and the former site of the Grandview Ship Hotel. Lunch at the Omni Bedford Springs Resort, then a quilt show and Civil War exhibit at the Bedford County Historical Society. The day will end with a visit to a second Roadside Giant, a giant quarter in Everett.

Sunday includes a stop at the 1920 Seldon Truck Roadside Giant and a visit to Chambersburg, tours of the Thaddeus Stevens Blacksmith Shop, and a picnic lunch at Caledonia State Park. The drive will end at Mister Ed’s Elephant Museum about 2:30 p.m.

Participants will be asked to help solve the murder of a former naval officer at the S.S. Grand View Ship Hotel west of Bedford. Clues will be posted along the route to help solve the crime.

To find out more about the rally or other LHHC events, e-mail olga@LHHC.org or call 724-238-9030.

Shady Bend station restored and back in business

July 18, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
The Grand Island Independent reports that Shady Bend, an old roadside business along the Lincoln Highway in central Nebraska, has been restored and is again serving customers on the east end of Grand Island. I reported on the plans two years ago on this blog. The images below are from the site’s Facebook page.

From the news report:

Shady Bend, once the site of an old-time tourist court, restaurant and store at Highway 30 and Shady Bend Road, has been reopened as a restaurant…. H.O. “Doc” Woodward built the original Shady Bend in the late 1920s after returning from a family trip to Arizona. Doc also donated the land for the first airport in Grand Island. Shady Bend has been passed down in the family to Craig Woodward, the third generation at Shady Bend….

He said Shady Bend was once a meeting place for farmers and everyone passing through. Since there were hardly any phones, people knew who was going to be there and could leave messages for when they arrived. It was a general store that had a lot of different people coming in and out.

“Not only is it historical, it was a fun place to go,” said Craig’s wife, Karen Woodward. “We want to be able to share the history with the people around here.”… The Woodwards started their restoration in 2008 but were delayed by family illness. Things picked back up in January 2010.

“Obviously, the plumbing, heating and electrical is all new and up to code,” Craig said. “We have a new full kitchen, but other than that, there haven’t been any changes. It’s true to what the State Historical Society has for requirements.”

Shady Bend opened its doors to the public on Tuesday serving pop, candy bars, beer, burgers and Italian food….

“I remember when I was 5 years old, my mom used to clean the cabins [now gone] and Fritz, Craig’s father, would pick me up from school and bring me back here,” [one patron said]. “I played on the merry-go-round and fished in the sand pit across the highway.”

Hours are 11 am to 10 pm Tues through Sat, and noon to 10 pm Sundays.


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