Archive for September, 2008

Future dim for 1950s motel east of Lancaster PA

September 30, 2008

Updating my post of July 14, the former Congress Inn east of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, is set to be demolished and replaced by a larger hotel. According to the Lancaster New Era, the 96-room motel on tourist-filled Lincoln Highway East could be razed in the coming months to make way for a six-story Four Points by Sheraton hotel pending plan approval by East Lampeter Township. A special exception for the hotel’s six-story height was granted this summer. Construction of the $12 million, 125-room hotel on the 4.5-acre site could start next summer and be ready by Spring 2010.

At right is a vintage postcard view, and below is the motel today.

The Congress Inn, renamed Passport Inn a few years ago, is next to the Lancaster Host and across from Dutch Wonderland, but looks to be declining. Willow Valley Associates, which owns and operates the county’s largest resort, the Willow Valley Resort & Conference Center, has been hired to manage the new hotel.

Another musical nod to the Lincoln Highway

September 29, 2008

Another band has surfaced with the name Lincoln Highway. According to, their web site, Lincoln Highway is a retro band formed in northern Utah County led by guitarist Ken Hendricks and still settling on a lineup. With the LH logo prominently displayed, they obviously have affection for the road, though a few errors pop up in their thumbnail history, such as calling it “the first interstate connecting Washington D.C. to San Francisco … conceived shortly after the first world war.”

They continue, “Most Baby Boomers have never heard of the Lincoln Highway much less driven along its route. However, not everyone has forgotten. Nor has everyone forgotten the great music recorded during the late 50s and 60s. Bands like the The Lincoln Highway keep alive those good memories and bring back the good times.” The first 10 songs they’re working on include “Summertime Blues” and “The Letter.”

At least three other groups use the Lincoln Highway name: a rockabilly group, a bluegrass band, and another bluegrass band (check out their photo at the LH bridge in Tama, Iowa).

Live performance of another Lincoln Hwy song

September 26, 2008

Here’s a video of Cornbread performing their slow folk-rock song “Lincoln Highway” at FloodStock 2008 on July 5. Floodstock was held to help the thousands affected by the flooding in Iowa this past Spring. Cedar Rapids especially took a devastating blow when the river crested almost 12 feet higher than ever in recorded history. More than 3,900 homes and 1,300 city blocks were flooded, and some 7,000 jobs were lost as hundreds businesses were flooded. The Cedar Rapids and Marion Chambers of Commerce, the Jaycees, the Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation, and other local and national organizations helped organize the three-day benefit concert on July 3, 4 and 5 at Cabo Grill in Cedar Rapids.

Amateur filmmakers sought for Lincoln Highway

September 25, 2008

To spread the word about the Lincoln Highway farther and to younger generations, the Lincoln HIghway Heritage Corridor along with Destination Filmfest is holding a LH-themed film-making contest. Amateur teams are invited to write, shoot, and edit a 5-7 minute film in a week using the Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania as the backdrop. The top team will receive $500 cash and the top 5 will be viewed by Hollywood director John Putch, who recently filmed and produced Route 30 in the area. There will also be a top prize for each genre film. Pre-registration forms must be submitted by mail along with an entry fee of $100 by October 3, 2008.

ABOVE: The new Turkey Hill mini-mart in York might be a good film location.

In the span of a week, teams will then:
Write a script to the assigned genre
Design and create sostumes and set
Create sound/music
Film and Edit

Each film must include two Lincoln Highway landmarks (building, street sign, etc.) or identifying characteristics (bus, county courthouse, taxi-cab, etc.) of the Lincoln Highway location. Submitted films will be shown in 4 locations along the Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania. A panel of judges (which includes the PA Director of Cultural and Heritage Tourism, a California filmmaker, two theatre arts professors, and the Executive Director of LHHC) will choose five finalists in each genre, from which Putch will then view and select the top winner who will receive $500 from the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor.

Kiosk ready for dedication Oct 11 in New Carlisle

September 24, 2008

Jan Shupert-Arick sent photos of the new Lincoln Highway Kiosk that will be dedicated on October 11 in downtown New Carlisle at City Hall (the old Carnegie Library) on the Lincoln Highway. This is one of the kiosks that are planned in Indiana, partly funded by an LHA grant awarded in June 2007.

Scenes from the Heritage Corridor Road Rally

September 23, 2008

LHA director Mindy Crawford sent along some photos from the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor’s Road Rally. After breakfast and a look around the McDonald’s Big Mac Museum in Irwin, the group toured Rick Kriss’ Antique Auto Restoration. That’s Rick at right, and below you’ll see work underway on a vintage Lincoln and Cadillac.

Next stop was to the east at DeLallo’s Italian Market. Mindy says they have “wonderful olives, meats, cheeses, pastries, and breads. Most of the group took home a bag or two of goodies. We bought some feta-stuffed olives, biscotti, shelled pistachios, and pasta in different varieties!”

After lunch at The Summer Place, the 50-some attendees toured the restored Darlington Station, a stop on the Ligonier Valley Railroad. The rail line ran from 1877 to 1952 between Ligonier and Latrobe; its path is now used by the westbound lanes of US 30.

Another highlight was a visit to Serro’s Diner, a 1930s O’Mahony that is undergoing restoration. More than a decade ago, I helped arrange its purchase by the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, which then donated it to the Heritage Corridor. It is being restored to once again serve some light meals and a big dose of history at the group’s planned interpretive center.

Surprises abound at Road Rally dinner

September 22, 2008

The 12th Annual Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor Road Rally was held this past weekend under perfect skies between Irwin and Ligonier, Pennsylvania. A number of antique cars took part, including a 1958 Edsel and the 1958 Chevy pictured here all the way from the Jersey Late Greats car club. I was clued in on the the surprises so only attended Saturday night, but more news to follow later this week.

Dinner on Saturday was at The Road Toad just west of Ligonier. Olga and Kristin from the LHHC were there along with the excited attendees, including Esther and Bernie Queneau (below), known as one of the four Boy Scouts who crossed the LH in 1928 on a safety and promotional tour. Rick Kriss, whose antique auto shop had been toured earlier, donated a number of things to the Corridor including a large LH clock ringed in neon. LHC director Mindy Crawford was there too along with Kevin Patrick, mapmaker for my Greetings from the LH book and co-author with me of Diners of Pennsylvania.

But the highlight was a surprise visit from PBS producer Rick Sebak, who brought along a copy of his just-finished show A Ride Along the Lincoln Highway. Not airing on PBS for more than a month, the crowd was treated to a sneak preview of the entire film on an impromptu setup of computer, video projector, and sheet on the wall.

Here’s a snap of the video, made all the more fun by its casual setup, with the scene showing LHA director Jay Banta driving through the Utah desert. The show will air on local PBS stations on October 29 and 31.

Buddy Nutt's highway song from PBS soundtrack

September 19, 2008

Rick Sebak has posted the main song from the forthcoming Lincoln Highway documentary, Buddy Nutt’s “Goin’ All the Way.” To hear an extended demo of the one heard in the show, CLICK HERE. The catchy refrain “Goin’ all the way, on the Lincoln Highway” appears throughout the show. Here’s a photo of Buddy performing as, he calls himself, a “singer-songwriter multi-instrumentalist who sings songs about picnics, suicide, sledding, materialism, supermarkets, Pat Robertson, dead girlfriends, ping pong, and some classic hits of 1924.”

Buddy says his bag of tricks on any given night might include “soprano ukulele, baritone ukulele, two or three kazoos, a duck call, a slide whistle, a tambourine, a musical saw, musical spoons, a silver cornet, a bass drum, glockenspiel, didgeridoo, a china boy (by that I mean a cymbal and/or a real Chinese boy), egg shaker, a healthy dose of reverb, and a state of the art loop pedal.”

Visit his MySpace page for some hilarious songs or his web site to puchase CDs or your own Buddy kazoo.

Rare Crosser Diner in danger of collapsing

September 18, 2008

Among the many photos from Denny Gibson’s latest Lincoln Highway trip are some sad scenes from Lisbon, Ohio, showing the Crosser Diner at 127 W. Lincoln Way with a sagging roof and wall. At least supports have been added to slow the damage.

The Crosser is a c. 1944 Sterling diner made by J.B. Judkins of Merrimac, Mass., best known for their streamliner models featuring one or both ends rounded. This is a Dinette model, one of only 4 survivors.  Comparing to my photo below, the neon sign has already been removed.

OH_Crosser D

Lisbon is probably the only town along the Lincoln Highway having two vintage factory-made diners, with the Steel Trolley Diner a few blocks to the east. Here’s hoping the Crosser is saved and reopened, but after at least 6 years sitting empty, and now with walls collapsing, the prospects are dim.

Lincoln Hwy Arts Fest in Mount Vernon, Iowa

September 18, 2008

The Mount Vernon-Lisbon Sun reports that 32 artists will be featured at the free Lincoln Highway Arts Festival, 9 am – 4 pm on Saturday, Sept. 27, in Mount Vernon, Iowa.

Galen Lacey, a member of the Mount Vernon Area Arts Council, says that the offerings will include oil paint, acrylics, sculpture, wood, fiber, pottery, and jewelry. “This is not a craft show. It’s a wonderful opportunity to expose people to art who would not ordinarily go into an art gallery.” Paul Imholte of St. Cloud, Minn., will perform on dulcimer and other stringed instruments while strolling through the event. Food vendors will include the United Methodist Church, a kettle corn stand, and Vernon Inn-The Greek Place of Cedar Rapids. Events will be on First Street on the two blocks west of Hwy. 1 with artists set up in tents.

Above: Mount Vernon, Iowa, in 2007 on Flickr by julay at