Archive for December, 2007

Wyoming's Lincoln Highway Educational Series

December 31, 2007

The Wyoming State Parks and Cultural Resources has produced 20 short educational videos on the Lincoln Highway and posted them on veoh. Each one, typically a half-minute long, looks at a theme by using some facts or stories. The videos mostly use pans of still photos, many from the LHA archives. Click here for the series to start—once you do, they play consecutively, or see them all in outline form here. Here’s a screen capture of the Intro video (with a picture of the LHA’s Henry Joy and Austin Bement stuck in Nebraska):


Unless I’ve missed more of the content, there is no accompanying material on veoh or on the state website to tell how best to use these or what materials were referenced, leaving a gap if they’re for education, and leaving helpful resources uncredited. For example, quotes from Thornton Round about the Rock Springs camp and the sounds while camping at night are likely culled from Gregory Franzwa’s Wyoming book. Or in discussing Navigation, they quote from what is said to be an LHA road guide, but the distinctive “Turn left around the shearing pens” material is actually from a 1913 Packard guide to the road, which is quoted in my Greetings from the Lincoln Highway book.

Here are the episodes:
1) A Brief Introduction – :37
2) What Started It – :38
3) Henry B. Joy – :16
4) The Virginian – :15
5) US Army Convoy – 1:34
6) Rock Springs – 1:07
7) Laramie – :13
8) Road Hazards – :40
9) Plains Hotel – :15
10) Mechanics – :34
11) Wyoming – :42 (though the quote is about western Nebraska)
12) Crash – :29
13) Camp – :16
14) Railroad – :45
15) Church Buttes – :24
16) Navigation – :58
17) Evanston – :23
18) Fences – :50
19) Camping – :17
20) Flat Tire – :19

Mystery Photo 4: Illinois Railroad Crossing

December 30, 2007

Here’s a sunny view of the Lincoln Highway to make us look forward to Springtime travel. It’s a railroad crossing in Illinois – can anyone identify where it’s at?


From Calif to Mich in a 1967 British sports car

December 29, 2007

Automobile magazine copy editor Rusty Blackwell bought a 1967 MGB/GT Special through Craiglist this past fall. The challenge was getting it from San Francisco back to Ann Arbor, Michigan. His adventures with early snows and faulty fuel pumps are fun reading, even if much of it is along I-80. He does detour onto the Lincoln Highway briefly, such as Soda Springs, California; Rawlins, Wyoming; and Sidney and Gothenburg, Nebraska. He also took lots of photos. In all, his 2,300-mile trek that he hoped would take 4 days took 8. Click HERE for the first of his 9 posts. Here’s a screen shot of the opening page:


Wal-Mart bringing change to LH south of Chicago

December 28, 2007

A story in the Southtown Star of suburban Chicago, Illinois, reports that the Lincoln Highway through New Lenox south of Chicago, will be remade over the next 18 months:

“This is the biggest news of the year. This is incredibly good news. This is the big one we have all been waiting for,” New Lenox Mayor Tim Baldermann said….

Upgrades include left-turn lanes at cross streets from Marley Road to Joliet Highway and in front of Lincoln-Way Central High School, plus temporary signals at Marley and new signals at Schoolhouse Road. [See Google Maps aerial view below.]


The work, which will greatly alter the Lincoln Highway roadscape, is in preparation for a Wal-Mart plaza across from Cooper Rd/Roberts Rd/Williams St. It looks like the development will fill one of the last large pieces of land along the LH there: note the house and surrounding fields on the north side of the road.

Oddly, this is just preliminary until permanent upgrades can be done:

All work is compatible with IDOT’s ultimate $80 million plan to make Lincoln Highway a fully improved five-lane road. Money for that massive construction project is not included in any budget at this time, said New Lenox village administrator Russ Loebe.

But these interim improvements “should buy the community quite a few years of smooth cruising” on Lincoln Highway, he said.

An insightful article also was published in Chicago Business News about the real estate deal. McVickers Development bought 73.5 acres from two sellers for a combined price of $18.9 million, then will sell it to Wal-Mart, Menards home improvements, Petco, Staples, Aldi, and other retailers. McVickers will likely lose money on the sale to Wal-Mart:

Typically, an anchor tenant such as Wal-Mart demands better financial terms because the company knows the developer can make it up by charging higher rents to the smaller tenants.

“In general, developers almost never, ever make money on the big boxes, and very often they lose money,” says Matthew Silvers, a principal in the Midwest brokerage arm of Northbrook-based Next Realty LLC, who represented McVickers in the acquisition.

Mr. Silvers says major retailers like Wal-Mart dictate how much they are willing to pay for land based on their forecast of a store’s profitability.

“They’ve got their own economic analysis, and that’s just going to be what they can pay for the land, and the developers have to deal with it,” Mr. Silvers says.

1818 Chambersburg PA tollhouse donation, rehab

December 27, 2007

A 189-year-old tollhouse along the Lincoln Highway/US 30 west of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, will be donated to the local historical society for offices and a museum. According to an article in the Chambersburg Public Opinion, the tollhouse is owned by the developer of a limestone quarry that has just won a 3-year battle to quarry 89 acres of surrounding land. St. Thomas township supervisors unanimously approved the general plan, and directed St. Thomas Development to the township planning commission, which will make a formal recommendation to the supervisors. The company plans to subdivide the land around the tollhouse and donate it the Franklin County Historical Society-Kittochtinny. Access and parking will have to be added.

PA_St. Thomas tollhouse

The small stone house just west of Campbells Run Rd was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. It served as was Tollhouse No. 2 on the Chambersburg & Bedford Turnpike (named for the its termini). Such turnpikes covered Pennsylvania in the early 1800s but fell into disrepair with the rise of canals and railroads. Bicycling, auto travel, and the Lincoln Highway revived them, though the LH worked to eliminate all tolls. Rehabbing the site also would add another tourist attraction to the 6-county Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor.

A news staff editorial supports the developer’s plan: “The more legitimate attractions Franklin County boasts along the Heritage Corridor, the more attention it will get from the state in terms of grant money and tourism development.”

Webb’s one-stop in Western Ohio profiled

December 26, 2007

OH_Webb familyThe Times Bulletin of Van Wert, Ohio, ran a nice story about Webb’s one-stop that once served travelers north of Convoy in the far western part of the state. The story focuses on Larry Webb, whose family owned it. Larry is active in the LHA and Ohio LH activities.

At left, L-R, are the owners of the business around the time of purchase: Jenny Webb (Larry’s mother), Ola Wherry (grandmother), Myron Webb (father), and Harry Wherry (grandfather). Courtesy Larry Webb

Webb’s Hi-Speed Service Station, Restaurant, and Tourist Cabins actually had opened in 1931 under different owners, then in 1946, Webb’s parents and grandparents bought the business. They lived in the restaurant building along with Larry and his sister. When the road was widened in the 1960s, it took out the pumps, and with business already declining, they closed. The cabins are gone too, but the garage remains as does the restaurant, now a private home at the corner of Lincoln Highway and Convoy-Heller Road.


Christmas display in Marshalltown, Iowa – 2

December 25, 2007

As described yesterday, here’s last year’s Christmas light display at the home of Eric Rodemeyer in Marshalltown, Iowa, synchronized to the tune of fast-paced rock version of “Joy to the World”:

10 x 10 white square

This year, the display was moved to the Marshall County Courthouse as a fundraiser for the Marshalltown Optimist Club. Here’s a story about it from Radio Iowa. The song is “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24” (an instrumental of “Carol of the Bells” with a bit of a bit of “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”) performed by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra.

Christmas display in Marshalltown, Iowa – 1

December 24, 2007

Marshalltown, Iowa, has a Christmas display in front of its courthouse—with lights timed to rockin’ versions of holiday tunes—as a fundraiser for the Marshalltown Optimist Club. The display began last year at the 7th Avenue residence of Eric Rodemeyer: 14,500 lights controlled by 96 computer channels timed to 7 repeating songs, each requiring up to 150 hours of programming, then were broadcast on 96.3 FM in front of his house. This video from last year features a serene version of “Silent Night” at his house.

10 x 10 white square

This year’s display at the Marshall County Courthouse includes 21,620 lights controlled by 176 computer channels set to 8 repeating songs likewise on 96.3 FM. Lights are strung on eight 20-foot-tall trees, thirty 4-foot-tall spiral trees, plus strobes and a snow flake arch. Check the Marshalltown CVB web site for hours. Here’s the opening night introduction followed by a hard-rockin’ version of “Sleigh Ride,” then some views from a street cam.

We’ll check out more tunes tomorrow.

Mystery Photo 3: Barn with Gasoline Signs

December 23, 2007

Can you name the location of this barn along the Lincoln Highway/US 30? Most fans photograph a sign a few miles east but speed past this interesting landmark. Looks like a store or two were adjacent. Need more clues?

Mystery Photo 3

Nostalgic "Desert Empire" film shows Utah 1948

December 22, 2007

The Rio Grande Railroad produced this black and white documentary in 1948 to promote the state’s wonders, and of course, encourage train travel. The film is a half-hour long but split into three parts. It only sometimes visits LH locations but is nonetheless an entertaining and nostalgic look at the state, tourism, and travel by steam engine almost 60 years ago.

1: Intro, Arches National Monument, horseback ride and spectacular rocks, Wasatch Mountains, Soldier Summit, Provo and Escalante Trail marker, Utah Lake, sugar beets, cherry blossoms. 10:18 min.

2: Copperton, Bingham (with horse-delivered mail), Utah Copper Company, worlds largest open cut mine, copper to electricity climax. 9:03 min.

3: Black Rock on Salt Lake, Saltair Pavilion and its Putt Putt railway, salt beds, highways to Ogden, cattle, sheep, train to SLC, D&RGW [Denver & Rio Grande Western]-WP station, streets, capitol, statues, Emigration Canyon monument, tabernacle, temple, cactus beehive (!), organ recital, ride home. 10:23 min.