Tomorrow Abraham Lincoln turns 200! In honor of his big birthday here is a Lincoln Highway Map of the Week.
When I was a little tyke in Levittown, PA we had a street map I'd stare at for hours at a time. I noted that the big road with the drive-in theater, ice cream place, Thom McCann shoe store and 7-11 was called the "Lincoln Highway". Years later when I drove past a section of the highway in Nebraska, I began to wonder if it was the same road. I'd heard talk about the highway running from New York to San Francisco and roughly parallel to Interstate 80. Must be another Lincoln Highway? That route would put you way too far north. Turns out the route is not so direct after all.
There have also been many branches and alignment changes so following the route is not completely straightforward.
About a week ago I walked into my living room and the TV was on with people talking about some very familiar places near Levittown. It was a documentary on PBS called "A Ride Along The Lincoln Highway" produced by WQED-Pittsburgh. Apparently this country is full of Lincoln Highway fanatics. The Lincoln Highway Association founded in 1913 while the road was first being developed is once again an active organization and even has a trading post for merchandise including maps, CDs, videos and collectibles. There is also a Lincoln Highway News blog as well as a blog by Rick Sebak the author of the documentary.
After immersing myself in all these highway facts I can see why all the fuss. The Lincoln Highway was the first road to cross the USA. It leaves New York via the Lincoln Tunnel and enters San Francisco on the Bay Bridge (formerly by ferry). They built these cool looking markers along the route. Where they couldn't place markers they use signs or even telephone poles.
Here is the marker at the western terminus in San Francisco - at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park.
Finally, in closing here is a 1924 highway map with the Lincoln in red. I find the alignments of some of the other blue roads to also be interesting. Thanks to the WQED documentary page for most of the above photos.
1 year ago