Archive for March, 2008

Vintage gas station photo from eastern Indiana

March 31, 2008

LHA president Jan Shupert-Arick sent along some images from eastern Indiana courtesy of the Ternet Collection at the Allen County Public Library (downtown Fort Wayne, a block north of Washington Boulevard and in the midst of three different routings of the Lincoln Highway). The renovated library includes a cafe, bookstore, auditorium, art gallery, computer center, and underground parking.

The photo below shows Oberley Lunch and Standard Oil Station, 1941, on the Lincoln Highway at Zulu, Indiana, a tiny town just west of the Ohio border.


Mystery Photo 8: Which way is Lincoln Highway?

March 30, 2008

Which way is the Lincoln Highway? They both are! The original route curves past the old house and junkyard, while the bypass crosses the old road at left – this view looking east. Though the original road can be driven, that may change in the next few years as a big project might remake the mostly rural roads. Related to the same subject, the junkyard was in the news a number of years ago. Those are big clues – the only other one for now is that it’s in the eastern U.S. Any guesses as to the location, or need more clues?

Guess another clue is needed – it’s in Pennsylvania.

112206_7467.jpg - mystery photo 8

CA LHA state mtg & regional tour in Dublin

March 28, 2008

The California Lincoln Highway Association chapter will hold its state meeting on Saturday, April 12, noon, at Athens Restaurant, 6999 Dublin Blvd, Dublin. A caravan tour is scheduled afterward to visits sites in Dublin Canyon and East Castro Valley. LHA meetings (including lunch) generally run 1-5 hours or less, and the tour another hour. This one will explore recently discovered sections of the Lincoln in east Castro Valley and Dublin Canyon with a possible stop in Dublin itself. Contact Norm Root at normanroot [at] for more info.


Photo from, map from Google.


More images from Stone's in Marshalltown IA

March 27, 2008

A couple more great images from Randy Stone: the dining room with a bust of Abraham Lincoln, and the storefront in 1909. His family owned the restaurant along the Lincoln Highway in Marshalltown, Iowa, for more than a century, but they closed due to changing economics. Read my earlier blog posts here, here, and here.



Tunnel Diner in Jersey City slated for demolition

March 26, 2008

The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor folks received word that the Tunnel Diner in Jersey City, New Jersey, is slated for demolition. This classic factory-built diner (1950s interior, 1960s redo outside) at 184 14th Street is along the later Lincoln Highway, once it was rerouted between New York City and New Jersey due to the opening of the Holland Tunnel in November 1927. It had closed in 2007. The cover of the album Tunnel Diner (by Steve Mackay and the Radon Ensemble on Qbico Records) shows one of the diner’s most memorable features, a vertical neon sign. The diner reportedly appeared in the 1996 film City Hall about the accidental shooting of a boy in New York City, with a cast headed by Al Pacino, John Cusack, Bridget Fonda, and Danny Aiello.


Anyone know more about the closing and scheduled demolition?

Carl Fisher grave site to be on LHA 09 tour

March 25, 2008

LHA president Jan Shupert-Arick sent along this photo of Crown Hill Cemetery, the final resting place of Lincoln Highway founder Carl Fisher. It’s on West 38th Street in Indianapolis, Indiana. Dedicated June 1, 1864, Crown Hill’s 555 acres makes it the third largest non-government cemetery in the country. It will be a tour stop during the LHA’s 2009 conference, headquartered in South Bend.


Fisher is listed on their Noted Persons page, though there’s no mention of the Lincoln or Dixie highways that he conceived and nurtured:

Carl Fisher, 1874-1934, Section 13, Lot 42.
Co-Founder of Indianapolis Motor Speedway; developer of Miami Beach, Florida.

Also in the overall list is his infant son by wife Jane.

Another auto-related burial is Edward “Cannonball” Baker, winner of the first race at the Speedway and a racer in the first Indy 500.

Magic Highway USA shows what might have been

March 24, 2008

Here’s a portion of an episode from the 1958 Disney TV show titled “Magic Highway USA” that looks at the future through transportation advancements. It portrays a centrally designed, controlled, world where slums and poverty are nowhere to be found, and work only occurs in office buildings.

The video has received hundreds of comments, and no wonder: the future never looked so good, or so bad. Some write that the world portrayed will never come to pass; others think much of it already has. Some of the technology itself is already passe. If nothing else, the inherent optimism disappeared long ago.

The narrator intones, “The shape of our cities will change, as expanded highway transportation decentralizes our population centers into vast urban areas. With the advent of faster expressways, the commuter’s radius will be extended many miles.

But just as the founders of the Lincoln Highway dreamed of a straight boulevard across the country within their own mostly rural context, the predictors here never saw the complications or drawbacks of their dream world. Indeed, postwar suburbia brought Interstates and decentralized population, but it quickly was derided as sprawl, not celebrated.

Also, the futurists who wrote the show had no idea gender roles would evolve, or that computers would infiltrate all aspects of life. Technological advances are only a small part of the evolving world. Like most predictions, the video has become an interesting relic of its own era.

Austin, Nevada’s, Famed Church Gets Makeover

March 23, 2008

On this Easter morning, we have an update from Jan Morrison on the restoration of 142-year-old St. Augustine’s Church, which overlooks the Lincoln Highway through Austin, Nevada. It is the oldest Catholic church building in the state.


A new roof has enabled workers to remove the interior ceiling scaffolding/supports. Jan is now pursuing a grant of $276,000 to finish the exterior, install ADA entrances, and restore the doors and windows so it can open for tours.

An interesting factoid is that when we re-did the roof, nearly 15 tons of pigeon and bat waste were removed. As a result, the ceiling and roof-ridge rose nearly 5 inches!

Also, the weight and aging of the roof structure had caused the side walls to move out up to 9 inches. Everything was brought true and the church is now secure for another 142 years!

However, had we not gotten in and fortified the roof structure, pulled in the walls, and removed the waste, it is pretty clear that this winter would have been a catastrophe. We had very, very heavy snowfalls that most likely would have cause the roof to cave in.


For more info and images, click here. And schedule extra time for Austin on your next trip across Nevada.

Stone's and today's business landscape

March 22, 2008

Randy Stone followed up the post about his family’s business — Stone’s Restaurant in Marshalltown, Iowa — with some great insights about the challenges in recent years. He also shared wonderful photos that we’ll spread out over a few posts.


“The restaurant had fallen on hard times so my part of the family quit our jobs in Illinois and returned to Marshalltown in 2002 to try to salvage the business. We got great support from news media, loyal patrons and many others but could not make ends meet. The last thing we wanted to do was compromise quality or change the nature of the business from what it had been for 100+ years. We put in a new kitchen, upgraded the menu, and generally tried to make it a place grandma would have been proud of. Unfortunately, I think fast food and chain operations have flourished while independant businesses have suffered. At least that seems to be the nature of things in this part of the woods. Great times while they lasted though.

“In the last few weeks we were open, I met a gentleman from Pakistan who had heard about the lemon chiffon pie from friends over there and, while visiting a company in Marshalltown, stopped by to try it. I was also looking through some old guest registers recently and found one from the 40’s that actress Zasu Pitts had signed. She used to appear in W.C. Fields movies. We also have a card that the old cowboy star, Tom Mix had signed. Both Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt gave speeches off the back of trains at the railroad depot that used to be across the street from the restaurant.”


Above: Randy’s grandparents.

Arrest in donut van chase; contents uneaten

March 22, 2008

DonutPolicePatch.jpgA bizarre story that took place along the Lincoln Highway/US 30 appeared in The [Cedar Rapids, Iowa] Gazette. (Thanks to Van & Bev Becker and Russell Rein for the lead.)

10 x 10 white square

Police chased a stolen doughnut delivery van on Highway 30 across Benton and Tama counties Thursday morning, finally arresting at gunpoint the Illinois man who was behind the wheel.

The doughnuts were untouched.

The van, owned by Donut Delite Ltd. of Moline, Ill., was stolen while its driver was making deliveries at a Rock Island, Ill., hospital about 5 a.m., the Tama County Sheriff’s Office reported. About 9 a.m., a Benton County sheriff’s deputy spotted the van driving west on Highway 30, discovered it was stolen and began following the vehicle….

The van’s driver ignored signals to stop and drove at speeds exceeding 100 mph until he reached the outskirts of Tama, driving around a set of stop spikes on the highway two miles east of town.

As the van approached Highways 30 and 63, the driver pulled into a Hardee’s parking lot and attempted to drive through the drive-through lane. But Tama County Deputy Chad Hansen rammed the driver’s-side door, and about 9:30 a.m., officers arrested the driver, Frank A. Alvarado, 46, of Moline….

The Donut Delite van was sent back to its owners in Moline Thursday — with its contents uneaten, said Tama County Chief Deputy Dave Ruopp.

“The owner of the business did tell us to take the doughnuts,” Ruopp said. “However, they were returned.”