Archive for April, 2008

Cindy's Diner Wins Indiana Hospitality Award

April 30, 2008

Cindy’s Diner has been named one of the winners of a Hoosier Hospitality Award, and if you’ve ever visited with owner John Scheele and family, you’ll know it’s well-deserved! Recipients are recognized for going above and beyond their normal duties at a hotel, restaurant, attraction, or other tourism destination to provide excellent customer service. The tiny Valentine-brand diner is located on the Lincoln Highway at 830 S. Harrison Street in downtown Fort Wayne.

An awards reception will be held Monday, May 12, at 1:30 pm in the Statehouse Rotunda in Indianapolis. Cindy’s will receive the award from Lt. Governor Becky Skillman. Light refreshments will be served.

Road trip from 1924 family diary: part 4/4

April 29, 2008

Click to enlarge: Aunt Annie next to the car that made the 3,500-mile trip in 1924. Hard to complain about modern conveniences when considering how that generation traveled. Photo courtesy Steve Ellis.

Here are the 1924 camps (and one cafe) along the Lincoln Highway that Steve Ellis would like to search for in a few weeks. They are not named but may have been the only camp in some towns. Can anyone provide info as to what might survive at any of the locations?

Camped at Wheatland, Iowa.

Had lunch at Tama in tourist camp.

Camped in tourist park at Jefferson, Iowa.

dinner in tourist park in Council Bluffs, Iowa. (on top of hill overlooking the Missouri R.)

Camped at Columbus, Neb. Nice tourist camp.

Central Café in Kearney, Neb.

Camped in Big Springs. Good tourist camp.

Camped at Laramie [WY].

camped at Rock Springs, Wyo., bum camp too.

Salt Lake City. Camped in park.

NOTE: Above quotes taken from the diary – see full text in my blog post Road trip from 1924 family diary: part 2/4.

Steve Ellis brings his family story full circle:

“About 1990, when she was in a nursing home and well into her nineties, I went to visit poor old Aunt Annie, my grandma’s much older sister. She still had a couple of years to live, but her mind was going. She’d say something rather silly sometimes and then she would say something really sensible. Well, once without our even asking her about it, Aunt Annie got a far off look in her eye, a look of longing and, just as if the event had happened the previous week she remarked of ‘going alllll the way across the country on dirt roads in an old tin Lizzie’ and how ‘It was a hundred degrees in ‘IOWAY’ when we went through it.’ If you look at the journal, you’ll see her mention the heat in both Nebraska and also near Cheyenne; I doubt Iowa would have been much different. At that time, I didn’t have the journal or know about it, but I was aware of the trip she took.”

And so ends Annie’s story. Steve’s Lincoln Highway adventures will continue in May.

Reno Nevada area rocked by earthquakes

April 28, 2008

The AP reports that the area around Reno, which the Lincoln Highway traverses in western Nevada, has been hit by two moderate earthquakes:

The Seismology Laboratory at the University of Nevada, Reno, says a magnitude 4.2 tremor shook the city early Monday and has been followed by at least a dozen aftershocks….

It’s the latest in a two-month swarm of earthquakes that started in February, and scientists say this is unusual because the tremors are getting stronger, instead of weaker.

The strongest shock so far was a magnitude 4.7 quake that shook cans off shelves on Friday.

Road trip from 1924 family diary: part 3/4

April 26, 2008

Annie kept track of what they spent for gasoline on the trip – the totals for their fill-ups were less than what we spend today per gallon! Though the prices seem low when looking back, notice how at times they were paying more than double for a gallon what they had just days before. Note that the Lincoln Highway fill-ups run between Chicago and Salt Lake City.

Click to see larger: Another photo from the 1924 trip with a notation of “1000 miles.” From left is Pearl, Annie, and perhaps Mrs. O’Leary. Steve says “Annie speaks of the O’Learys in the journal. I really don’t know who they were except to know Mr. O’Leary worked with Elmer [logging] in the woods and they went at least part way with them on this trip.”

Gas Bill
Bathurst, N.B. 5 gal. $2.00
Camp’ton, ” 5 gal. $1.80
AMQUI, PO (?) 6 gal $2.25
RIMOUSKI, ” 5 gal. $1.88
Nereville, ” 7 gal. $2.70
Trois Rivieres, ” 5 gal. $2.00
St. Anne deBellevue, ” 5 gal. $1.80
Lancaster, Ont. 5 gal. $1.88
GANONOQUE, ” 9 gal. $3.05
Bowmanville, ” 7 gal. $2.25
London, ” 8 gal. $1.60
Melbourne, ” 5 gal. $1.40
Detroit, Mich. 12 gal. $2.26 ($.1883/gal)
Marshall, ” 8 gal. $1.48
Chicago, Ill. 5 gal. $0.93 ($.186/gal)
DeKalb, ” 10 gal. $1.84
Clinton, Ia. 5 gal. $0.93
Lowden, ” 10 gal. $1.40 ($.14/gal.)
Marshalltown, ” 7 gal. $1.12 ($.16/gal.)
GLIDDEN ” 5 gal. $0.83
_____________ $0.83 [Repeat of above ??]
_______________ 9 gal. $0.99 ($.11/gal.)
____________, Neb. 7 gal. $1.12
Am. Creek, ” 10 gal. $1.70
Chappell, ” 10 gal. $1.98
Ogalalla, ” 5 gal. $0.90
Cheyenne, Wyo. 10 gal. $2.05
Granite Canyon, ” 3 gal. $0.75
Laramie, Wyo. 3 gal. $0.66 ($.22/gal)
Rawlins, ” 5 gal. $1.20
Rock Springs, ” 10 gal. $2.50
Evanston, ” 7 gal. $2.16 ($.30857/gal)
Salt Lake City, Utah 8 gal. $1.92 ($.24/gal)
Pocatello, Ida. 5 gal. $1.25 ($.25/gal)
Burley, ” 8 gal. $2.05 ($.25625/gal)
Glenns Ferry, ” 7 gal. $1.85
Boise, ” 8 gal. $2.00
Huntington, Ore. 3 gal. $0.56
Baker, ” 4 gal. $1.08
Pendleton, ” 5 gal. $1.25 ($.25/gal.)
(Total $69.35)


Road trip from 1924 family diary: part 2/4

April 25, 2008

Part 2 of Aunt Annie’s 1924 trip diary from Steve Ellis. He’ll be retracing part of her trip next month and is looking for info on whether places Annie mentions have survived, particularly the tourist camps.

Above: Aunt Pearl at the wheel; since she didn’t drive, this was captioned “On our way to Seattle. Do you think we could ever get there with such a driver?

Aug. 19
Left at 3:15 so as to get thru Chicago early and avoid heavy traffic. Got thru Chicago clear out on west side at 8 AM. Wasn’t much traffic . Had bad thunder storm. Just as we were driving out of Chicago stopped and put side on out of Wheaton, Ill. Had lunch in Chinese restaurant in DeKalb, Ill. Had big wind storm between Ashton and Dixon, Ill. Blew down trees and tele poles. Crossed Rock River out of Dixon. Passed fields of the tallest corn I ever saw. It had rained so hard we saw a roaring river thru a farm out of Sterling, Ill. Went through water on pavement all most to top of car wheels where there had been a cloud burst. Just E. of Morrison, Ill. crossed Mississippi River toll bridge between Fulton, Ill & Lyons, Iowa. Took snap of Miss. Bridge. Camped at Wheatland, Iowa. Camped at 3:15

Aug. 20
Left camp at Wheatland at 6:45. Roads not so bad. Stopped at Mechanicsville for light bulbs. Stopped in Belle Plains, Iowa for oil. O’Leary caught up to us just west of Belle Plain at 11 a.m. Had lunch at Tama in tourist camp. Stopped a few minutes in Marshalltown, Iowa. Came thru beautiful farming country, principally oats & corn. Camped in tourist park at Jefferson, Iowa.

Aug. 21.
95 in shade Left at 7:10 A.M. Drove thru farming country most of the morning, then in a hilly, bluffy country and had dinner in tourist park in Council Bluff, Iowa. The park is on top of hill overlooking the Missouri R. and Omaha, Neb. Nice park with a convenience. Stopped in Council Bluff to get check cashed and send message. Camped at Columbus, Neb. Nice tourist camp.

Aug. 22
Left at 7 A.M. Drove thru nice farming country – corn and alfalfa. It was Uncle Dick ‘s birthday so he treated all to our dinner in Central Café in Kearey, Neb. Changed oil in Cozad, Neb. Hot day – about 90 in shade. Got on to desert country in afternoon thru North Platte, Neb. Passed home of Buffalo Bill – 3,000 acre farm. Cody Ranch printed on the barn. Camped in Big Springs. Good tourist camp.

Aug. 23
Left at 6:45 A.M. Came thru nice prairie country where wheat raising chief industry, also cattle. Terribly hot day. Had lunch at Cheyenne, Wyo., cowboy town of the west. Crossed Rocky Mts. in the afternoon between Cheyenne, Wyo. and Laramie. Camped at Laramie.

Aug. 24
Left at 7:55. Drove thru desert country, hot weather, nice scenery in places. Passed oil wells and big oil refining station before we got to Rawlins. Had cold lunch and hit a bum tourist camp. Drove thru sagebrush desert and camped at Rock Springs, Wyo.,
bum camp too.

Aug. 25
Got oil changed. We went to P.O. Didn’t get started till 8:20 A.M. Front tire got flat, had to change it. Just as we were climbing the plateau after crossing Green River caught up to O’Learys. They had tire trouble. Had to fix it on the hot desert, about 100 in the shade. Had lunch in Lyman, a little desert town. Drove thru little green valley, thru Ft. Bridger, and in rolling hills & canyons, thru one beautiful canyon with yellow stone walls. Came into another pretty valley and stopped in Coalville, Utah for drinks and groceries. Drove thru beautiful canyons into Salt Lake City. Camped in park.

Aug. 26
Got up early and drove downtown. Saw Mormon Temple and Tabernacle. Beautiful grounds & saw Old Mormon (J.L. Loynd). Couldn’t go in Tabernacle till noon so went out to Salt Lake. Went in bathing. You float like a cork in it. Started to Ogden at 2:25. Drove on from there to Pocatello, Ida. Camped in nice tourist camp. Had puncture on way in.

Aug. 27
Got up early to get started early. Had flat tire. Patched tire. Got started 7:30. Went thru American Falls where the great-irrigation project, a of Snake River Valley…

Here they leave the Lincoln Highway.

TOMORROW: Tallying the cost of gas

Road trip from 1924 family diary: part 1/4

April 24, 2008

For the next four days, we’ll ride along with a family as they cross the country in 1924. Steve Ellis has graciously sent a transcription from a diary his Aunt Annie kept in 1924. Next month, he’ll retrace her path himself through Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska, and is looking for help in finding some of the places she mentioned. I hope all you expert roadies out there can help him!

Click to see larger: Annie, Elmer, and Pearl on their 1924 cross-country trip. Pearl was born in Oregon in 1890, married Elmer in 1917, and they moved to Washington. Elmer, Steve’s grandma’s oldest brother, was born in Bathurst, New Brunswick, Canada in 1883. Annie also was born in Bathurst in 1891 and died there in 1992. Photo courtesy Steve Ellis.

“A few years ago, I was given a trip journal of my grandma’s older sister’s 3500-mile trip from New Brunswick, Canada to Tacoma, Washington in 1924. Although Aunt Annie never mentioned the Lincoln Highway per se, she mentioned the route she took, and from Chicago to Salt Lake City it had to be the Lincoln Highway. Actually, since she crossed the border at Detroit and came west from there, she may have been on the Lincoln Highway a bit farther east than Chicago.

“Aunt Annie was about 32 when she took the trip. I knew her only as a senior citizen, but she must have been a going concern at that youthful age. She was very independent and it wouldn’t surprise me if she changed some of those punctures/flat tired to which she so often refers. I’d say she was an archetypcial woman’s libber.

“Aunt Annie gave quite a bit of detail in her journal for an uneducated woman and she frequently mentioned the tourist camps all along the way including several tourist camps along the Lincoln Highway:

Maple Grove tourist camp in Chicago;
Wheatland, Iowa;
Jefferson, Iowa;
Columbus, Nebraska;
Big Springs, Nebraska;
Laramie, Wyoming;
Salt Lake City.

“While it might be difficult to find out where the Maple Grove camp was in Chicago, a place like Wheatland, Big Springs, or Jefferson would likely only have one tourist camp. Those places are not much larger today than they were in 1924!

“In mid-May, I plan to retrace some of Aunt Annie’s trip from Chicago to Big Springs, and I’d like to stop and see things that Aunt Annie and her brother Uncle Elmer and his wife Pearl saw in 1924. I LOVE your book. For example, on page 201, I am certain that Aunt Annie, Uncle Elmer, and Aunt Pearl saw that same sign that you have pictured. Thanks for writing such a comprehensive account of this highway. [Thank YOU Steve, glad you like it! ~BB]

Click to see larger: The photo from my book that Steve refers to, a split in the road at Granger, Wyoming, 1927. It is actually an amalgamation of two images from the University of Michigan’s LHA collection. Photo courtesy UM Special Collections LIbrary.

Sunday, August 17
Left Windsor Camp at 8 a.m. Ferried the Detroit River. Just got started out of city Toledo, Ohio and had another puncture. Pulled into little garage & got it fixed. Drove on to Nash garage. Left car there to be cleaned and gone over. Driver brought us to Brunswick Hotel. Frank Eddy & wife took Aunt Jen & Pearl and I out to see city. Saw Belle Isle, Fords Hospital, the Packard Plant and beautiful homes of millionaires. Had lunch and supper in Eagle Café. Went to bed early.

Aug. 18
Had breakfast in cafeteria across from hotel. Brought car up for us at 8 o’clock. Went down to Nash Garage. Had to put on new tire. Got started at 9:15. Came thru pretty little Mich. town and thru Ann Arbor, the settlement city. Had lunch in camp at Grass Lake. Drove on 79 miles to Chicago & camped in Maple Grove Tourist Camp. Got there after dark.

Anyone know the location or fate of Maple Grove Tourist Camp?

Steve also makes these observations:

“I think Aunt Annie did very well with the place names. To us, this is not too hard, but we must consider Aunt Annie had maybe an eighth grade education and, although she was a relatively young woman at the time, she had not likely been very far from where she was born until then … and they lived not in the small town of Bathurst but in a relatively isolated area several miles out in the country, off the main road, down by the beach. All of these places would be extremely unfamiliar to her.

“The only place where she seemingly made a mistake was shortly after she came over the river from Windsor Ontario to Detroit. Away back then there was no bridge (not until the Ambassador Bridge was built in 1928), and she mentions ferrying the Detroit River. All that is just fine, but the “Toledo Ohio” comment is not consistent with where they should have gone. Yes, Toledo is maybe only 60 miles south of Detroit but, after spending time in Detroit, they headed south and west in Michigan through Ann Arbor. After she mentioned Toledo, she mentioned Fords Hospital, Belle Isle, and the Packard Plant, all places in Detroit. Maybe they went down to get someone in Toledo and came back to Detroit, but I don’t think so.”

TOMORROW: Driving to Utah

Scenes from Evanston, site of 08 conference

April 23, 2008

Here are some scenes courtesy the city of Evanston, Wyoming, that show what attendees will enjoy at the 2008 Lincoln Highway Association national conference this June 17-21. The first photo is east of Evanston near Eagle Rock. Next is Evanston’s Historic Depot Square along Front Street, the Lincoln Highway. The last photo shows a Lincoln Highway concrete marker near Depot Square.

Shelly Horne, 2008 Conference 2008, sends along greetings:

The theme of the conference is “Rails, Trails, and Highway Tales.” Evanston was an end of track town on the U.P.R.R. in 1868. It has a rich railroad history and many preserved railroad buildings and artifacts that you will enjoy. It has one of the few remaining original roundhouses  west of the Mississippi with an operating turntable. Come ride it. Evanston sits near many of the old trails that people traveled from east to west to expand our great nation. You can visit the Mormon, Oregon, and California trails as well as the Pony Express route, all within easy driving distance.

And highway tales… we have hundreds of them. The first Wyoming Lincoln Highway consul was P.W. Spaulding from Evanston. He owned the first car in Uinta County, was a successful attorney, and a personal friend of Henry Joy, first president of the Lincoln Highway Association. We will be exhibiting a rare original LHA “Notable Service Award” given to PW Spaulding in the early years of the association. We will be giving a replica of this award to every attendee of the conference, a nice watch fob or key ring, and very rare. Hugh Colpharp will display his replica of the 10 millionth Ford Model T at the conference.

You could hardly cross the wide open country of Wyoming or the deserts of Utah without a water bag dangling from your radiator.  So we have replicated the desert water bag, complete with cork and rope, as a tote bag for your memorabilia collection at the conference. We love replicas. You will be provided with a special table decoration at the annual banquet, a crystal-like replica of an old antique Packard automobile engraved with the LHA logo. Take it, cherish it, put it in your water bag replica with your LHA medallion.

The tours will be exciting. West in Echo Canyon you will explore Mormon history and learn how the canyon walls were used to defend  against Johnson’s army; travel past the “Witches” to Taggart, to Wanship and the Echo reservoir. East to Fort Bridger and the Black and Orange cabins, then on to Miller’s crossing. See an eagles nest high on the bluffs of Church Butte. On the return trip to Evanston, watch film of the original military convoy that crossed the country from Washington DC to San Francisco on the Lincoln. See the comments of a young Lt. Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower about his experience on the convoy.

The speakers will present a myriad of topics from notable Lincoln Highway people, to Utah highway history,  to the 1908 New York-to-Paris Automobile Race. For dessert, we will be entertained by Willie Le Clair, Shoshone Indian, with stories of the Shoshone and Chief Washakie in Evanston.

Tour historic Evanston. Visit the Sunset Cabins on the Lincoln Highway. See Evanston’s original Lincoln Highway markers, and meet and visit with your LHA counterparts from across the country to exchange “Highway Tales.” You will be amongst the privileged few to attend and view the first Lincoln Highway Art and Photo show assembled by Ms. Kell Brigan, an LHA member in California.

If gas and airfare prices continue to rise it will become more expensive to attend future conferences. This is the time, this is the place, the 16th annual LHA conference, June 17th to 21st in Evanston, WY. Complete a registration form at by May 2 to be eligible for a free conference reimbursement drawing. See you here!

Sleepy Hollow (& puns) to be demolished

April 23, 2008

Along with the not-surprising news that the fire-damaged Sleepy Hollow Tavern will soon be torn down, the Tribune Review has a story about the tavern’s sign along the Lincoln Highway west of Ligonier. A prankster has been changing the sign, using fire-related puns like “PA Hotspot.” Even local officials are taking it in stride. Here’s a screen shot from the Trib with the latest, “Voted Hottest Wings by the Ligonier Fire Co.”

Man charged in February's Sleepy Hollow fire

April 22, 2008

The Tribune-Democrat and Tribune-Review report that Pennsylvania state police have arrested Edgar Clinton Wiltrout, 55, of Ligonier, and charged him with arson in a February 23 fire that destroyed The Hollow Tavern along the Lincoln Highway in Unity Township, Westmoreland County. He also was charged with multiple felony counts of burglary, causing or risking a catastrophe, criminal mischief, and reckless endangerment. Damage was estimated at approximately $450,000 with no injuries reported. Wiltrout is in Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of $1 million bail.

Above: A vintage Sleepy Hollow matchbook, courtesy Cyrus Hosmer.

Sleepy Hollow was a popular stop since being built 1939-1940, but suffered after the westbound lanes of Lincoln Highway/US 30 were moved across Loyalhanna Creek.

Mystery artifact: brass Lincoln Highway map

April 21, 2008

As we continue sorting things while packing to move, here’s another interesting artifact. When I have a mystery photo or postcard, I usually know the answer as to what or where is it. This time I’m not so sure. I’ve been told this oval brass map showing the Lincoln Highway could have been on a radiator or a gas pump. I know others are out there, but what is it really from?