Archive for November, 2007

14,400 slides part of Cushman Photo Collection

November 30, 2007

The Charles Weever Cushman Collection at Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana, consists of ten cubic feet of materials, including 2,200 b/w negatives and prints. Just three of those cubic feet are slides, but what a collection — more than 14,400 color Kodachrome slides shot from 1938 to 1969. Cushman’s photos have been digitized through Indiana University’s Digital Library Program and the Indiana University Archives and are now online.

Cushman and his LZ
Cushman and his trusty 1940 Lincoln Zephyr at San Francisco, 1958, at 202,000 miles by then.

An amateur photographer, most of Cushman’s images are scenic, many are from such countries as from Lebanon, Germany, Austria, England, and Mexico. There are few roadside or industrial sites, but roads and cars do make it into many of the slides. Here are some from along the Lincoln Highway or close to it—click the links to see larger views.

The old Lincoln Highway snakes under the railroad at Donner Summit, CA, 1958.

Along Lake Tahoe at Tunnel Rock, NV, 1953.

An antique car climbing Spooner Summit, NV, 1958.

Check out Green River, Wyoming, in 1958, or another view in 1963 showing the Husky Truck Stop Cafe.
WY_GrRiv 58

WY_GrRiv 63

A clear day in Salt Lake City, 1958, looking north on State Street toward the capitol.

There’s lots else to see plus essays about Cushman and his collection. Photos reprinted here with the kind permission of Indiana University, Office of University Archives & Records Management, with special thanks to Curator Bradley D. Cook.

Fort Cody Trading Post Writes Its History

November 29, 2007

NE_FC logoOne of my favorite stops along the Lincoln Highway is Fort Cody Trading Post in North Platte, Nebraska. Since moving closer to I-80, it’s now a few blocks south of US 30 through town, though the original LH actually followed the Gothenburg Stairstep that came into town from the south on Locust (now Jeffers) Street, so Fort Cody actually overlooks the 1913 LH.

The Henline family has operated numerous businesses along the Lincoln Highway and elsewhere, so they are preparing a booklet detailing their history. Leigh Henline told me, “We are having a company make us a 24 page souvenir book to sell. We are hoping it will be ready in February. It will tell a little bit about the history of Fort Cody, a bit on the Sioux Trading Post and Buffalo Bill Trading Post. Some on the museum, LOTS on the little Buffalo Bill Wild West show (he took hundreds of photos!), and some on the Muffler Man! We are very excited about all this. This guy is also doing a bunch of photo magnets for us on the little Wild West show, due any day.”

Chuck Henline at Fort Cody
Teen-aged Chuck Henline points to the new Muffler Man Indian in the 1970s.

Here are the places the family has operated along the Lincoln Highway:
• Sioux Trading Post, Ogallala, 1952-1969.
• Buffalo Bill Trading Post, US 30 W, North Platte, 1950-1954.
• Fort Cody, US 30 W, North Platte, 1963-1969.
• Present Fort Cody, I-80 Hwy 83, North Platte, 1968 to present.

NE_FC display
Chuck Henline crafted an animated display of their Sioux Trading Post.

The family also operated the Wigwam in Atlanta, Nebraska, and the Seminole Trading Post and Indian Village near Miami. They have some photos displayed on their office walls:

NE_FC Wigwam

I’ll be writing more about their roadside adventures soon, and will post an update when their booklet is published.

Back on Board – Lincoln Highway Association

November 28, 2007

I’m once again on the Lincoln Highway Association board. I was a founding director in 1992, representing Pennsylvania, then left to raise kids and write books. I’m still doing those but will be filling a vacancy in an At-Large position. For the full list of directors, visit the LHA’s web site:

LHA banner

Plan to attend the LHA conference in Evanston, Wyoming, June 17-21, 2008.

Weiss Duo Cover Triangle of Historic Highways

November 27, 2007

John and Lenore Weiss are well-known to Route 66 fans for the work they’ve done to help preserve, promote, and document that road, especially in Illinois. Lincoln Highway fans are starting to hear about them too, most noticeably leading the acquisition from IDOT of a 1928 concrete LH post, then John served as Master of Ceremonies at its dedication on Veterans Day 2006 at the Joliet Historical Museum. Their newest project merges 66, the LH, and even the Dixie Highway.

Weiss Book

Traveling the … Historic Three is a 74-page spiral-bound guide to traveling those three highways in a 110-mile, triangle-shaped route south of Chicago. John and Lenore freely give credit to the conceptual idea of combining these three roads into one road trip to Elaine Egdorf who administers Drivin’ the Dixie, a web site devoted to that road. The booklet has an intro, then tabs divide each section, and there’s a page of related organizations at the end. Narration is casual in the way a good friend would lead you on a tour, with instructions for when to turn, what to see, where to park, and recommended places to eat and visit. Lincoln Highway fans will be pleased to discover much that they may not have noticed until slowed down to a tour on the local level.

Lenore told me a little bit about their work:

The unique aspect of the triangular tour is that you can start at any of three locations and end up exactly where you started! With any road trips, folks travel say 100 miles, then they must return. This results in an extra 100 miles.

In this area, the Lincoln Highway and especially the Dixie Highway communities and businesses are not very accustomed to tourism. This is an interesting aspect when compared to those on Route 66. On the Lincoln, the town of Frankfort wants to get involved. On the Dixie, the town of Homewood is equally as excited.

Since we already had the Route 66 portion, and have lived on that particular section of the Lincoln Highway for 30 years, only the Dixie needed some real investigation. And that, too, was a rewarding experience.

And she notes that every time they drive it, as recently as last week, they keep discovering new things.

Above: John and Lenore Weiss with Route 66 tattoo man Jim Bush in the souvenir-filled gift shop at the Joliet Area Historical Museum, a must-stop for road fans.

Highlights at the intersections include the Art Institute of Chicago at Jackson Avenue and Columbus Drive in Chicago, where 66 and the Dixie launch; the Joliet Area Historical Museum where 66 and the LH meet, at Cass and Ottawa streets in Joliet; and the Arche Memorial Fountain where the LH and Dixie meet, built 1916 as part of a rest park for travelers of the two roads in Chicago Heights. As you can see, the three roads offer lots to see for fans of old roads. This and other books by the Weisses are available at gift shops such as the Joliet Museum or through the couple’s web site. An autographed copy of Traveling the … Historic Three is $9.95 + $4.60 postage and handling.

Cindy's Diner, Fort Wayne, in Travel Feature

November 26, 2007

IN Cindy’s signA lengthy article on Cindy’s Diner (830 S Harrison St, Fort Wayne) was published Sunday in the Toledo Blade. Anyone traveling the Lincoln Highway in eastern Indiana will want to visit the diner for excellent food and a fun, friendly experience—and a Lincoln Highway logo near the door. Owner John Scheele (below) can always be found cooking for 15 patrons and handing the take-out orders.

IN John Scheele

After recounting the diner’s history (a 1952 Valentine), the article discusses its clientele:

A large number of the diner’s patrons are regulars – “Probably 85 percent of them we know by their first names,” Cindy said – and they include students, businessmen, cops, lawyers, construction workers, and researchers using the nearby library’s world-class genealogical collection.

Plenty of out-of-towners find their way to Cindy’s, too. A dog-eared guest book has been signed by patrons from every state, as well as foreign countries from China to Iran to South Africa to Russia.

Mystery Postcard 1: Country Club motel, SLC, UT

November 25, 2007

Like the Mystery Photos we sometimes run on weekends, there are likewise lots of postcards that we wonder “whatever happened to that place?” This beautiful linen card from the Curt Teich Company pictures the Country Club Motor Lodge and Coffee Shop, 2665 Parley’s Way, Salt Lake City, Utah. It advertised 55 “strictly modern units” and “Sun Porch and Modern Coffee Shop for Convenience of Guests.” It’s named for The Country Club across the road, one of the West’s oldest courses (founded 1899) and still an elegant, private 18-hole course. Today, housing separates the two just west of the tangle of ramps where I-80, I-215, and UT 186 meet.

UT_Country Club

This card, postmarked Aug 4, 1949, was sent by a child:

“We got here right today We will be back to Sacramento California soon We are haveing a nice trip so good-by and I will see you soon from Mary Jean”

UT_Country Club back

What’s left at the site today? The phone number is now a private residence. A Yahoo aerial view shows it still there, but you can buy for a condo at the Country Club Ridge subdivision at the same address. Price for #310 is $649,000 for 2,065 sq ft, built 2007. Are we a year too late…?

UT_Country Club map

First-ever River to River Iowa Tour in August ’08

November 24, 2007

The Iowa Lincoln Highway Association is organizing its first-ever River to River Motor Tour across Iowa for August 8-10, 2008. All cars are invited, and classic car owners can rest easy that no gravel alignments will be on the official route. Participants can join or leave the tour at any point.

IA_lhc2218.jpg bridge
Above: The newly wiidened bridge between Omaha, Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa, 1924. (Univ of Michigan, Special Collections Library, lhc2218)

Starting in Clinton, highlights will include:

• Site of the Lyons-Fulton Bridge in Clinton
• Walk on the abandoned Lincoln Highway west of Lowden
• Restored Youngville Café in Benton County
• World-famous Lincoln Highway Bridge in Tama
• State Center, the “rose capital of Iowa”
• Tour restored Reed/Niland corners in Colo
• Lincoln Highway Clubhouse in Jefferson
• Drive on the brick Lincoln Highway in Woodbine
• Hitchcock Nature Center near Honey Creek

Registration is $20 per vehicle for Iowa LHA members or $30 per vehicle for non-members that registers that person for a one year membership to the Iowa LHA. For more information, visit the Iowa LHA website or contact coordinator LHA Iowa director Jeff LaFollette, who has previously chaired motor tours along Route 66 in Illinois, at or (563) 349-3047.

Kearney Covered Wagon photo update

November 24, 2007

Leigh and Chuck Henline of Fort Cody Trading Post in North Platte, Nebraska, stopped at the Covered Wagon west of Kearney on their Thanksgiving trip to snap a few photos of the Covered Wagon, previously reported on here. Note the office now has a second story. Here’s a closeup of the wagon, still awaiting restoration:

NE_Cov Wag1-Henline

Or click below for a 2-photo panorama of the site. Note the houses rising behind it on what was once the 1733 Ranch:

NE_Cov Wag2-Henline

Classic News Stand Closing in DeKalb, IL

November 23, 2007

Friday was the last day for a popular DeKalb intitution. A story in the DeKalb Daily Chronicle recounts the history and good times at Ralph’s News Stand & Trophy House, 664 E. Lincoln Highway. Ralph Seats owned and operated the store from 1952 until his death last year at age 83. It was popular with locals but, as the article explained, “With a small number of street parking spots near the store—and an influx of chain stores offering some, but not all, of the same services as the shop—Ralph’s is yet another signature mom-and-pop style shop to shut its doors.”

Like an old-time general store, Ralph’s carried a bit of everything: “Lock de-icer can be found next to chewing tobacco. Toward the back of the store are rows of cards offering warm praises for birthdays, graduations and other life events. Sitting among chewing gum is an old-fashioned rotary-dial phone with a detachable ear piece connected to a cord … lottery tickets, trophy engraving, Western Union service, tobacco, magazines, newspapers and a tube tester from the years when TVs needed tubes to operate.

Ralph’s first opened in the middle of the 600 block before moving to the corner of Seventh Street and Lincoln Highway. For decades it was open 5 am till midnight. Ralph insisted a big-band radio station be on at all times, which it was—until he left! His widow Doris said it’s hard to close, but “it’s a little more than I can take. It’s sad not having him here. I miss him.”

Photo Ralph’s Magazines by Joe Thorn

Lincoln Highway connection to Vietnam Memorial

November 23, 2007

The black granite used in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., was supplied by a family firm along the Lincoln Highway in Lynwood, Illinois, south of Chicago. According to a recent article in The Times of Munster, Indiana, Rogan Granite (21550 E Lincoln Hwy/US 30, about 1000 feet west of the Indiana border) supplied the granite that carries the names of 58,256 veterans who either died in Vietnam or are listed as prisoners of war or missing in action. Tom Rogan says, “It was a very proud moment for our company and our family…. It was an opportunity for us to show what the region could do in support of our veterans.” The company, with roots back to 1874, was known as Calumet Memorial until 1980, when Tom and brothers Jim and Mick expanded the business.


The article recounts, “As part of the company’s headstone business, Rogan Granite supplied grave markers for veterans in several states. It was during a 1982 trip to Washington—to see which grave marker bids were successful—that Rogan learned of the plans for the memorial.” The bid required black granite because it could polish to a mirrorlike reflective surface and allow etched names to show up as white. The granite actully came from India, was cut and polished in Vermont, and etched in Tennesse, but the Rogan family coordinated the process of providing the 144 panels, each 44 inches wide each, that make up the two walls that are each 246 feet, 9 inches long. The memorial was dedicated on Veterans Day in 1982.

Photo Vietnam Memorial, The Wall, Washington D.C. by ehpien