Archive for September, 2008

Videos show Iowa bicycle ride fun and highlights

September 17, 2008

YouTube features many videos about RAGBRAI, the annual bicycle tour across Iowa, which this year followed much of the Lincoln Highway. In this first one, even President Lincoln gets into it at 3:09. (Can any non-Iowa readers identify the location of the statue?

In this one the riders dip their wheels in the rivers, just like LH travelers did at the oceans!

PBS Lincoln Highway video near final cut

September 16, 2008

I revisited Rick Sebak at the WQED-TV studios to see the near-final cut of his Lincoln Highway documentary to air October 29. He has a typical end-of-project dilemma — so much cool stuff to show but not enough time in the 56-minute program. And his deadline to complete the work is this week. I was surely no help, advising that he show more of this or that when he needs advice on what to cut!

Here’s where I was set up to watch. You’ll recognize attendees at the 2008 LHA conference gathering for a group photo in front of the Sunset Motel in Evanston, Wyoming.

In another room, above, video editor Kevin Conrad worked on an interview with LHA past-president Jesse Peterson for the show’s closing moment, a montage of personalities and scenery.

It’s a great show, with lots of info and imagery of the highway, and a theme song written for it by Buddy Nutt that is stuck in my head! ….. “Goin’ all the waaaayyyy, on the Lincoln Highwaaaayyyy!”

Lincoln Motor Court a Lincoln Highway must-stop

September 15, 2008

The Lincoln Motor Court west of Bedford, Pennsylvania, may be the last of the vintage courts still serving overnight guests along the Lincoln Highway. Denny Gibson stayed there Thursday night and wrote, “Despite looking the same from the outside, each of the cabins is just a bit different inside. I was in #6 this time and it is a bit more romantic than my previous accommodations. Note the champagne flutes and the vines near the bed. Hope I didn’t displace some late arriving honeymooners.” Click Denny’s photo below to see the interior larger:

Read more of Denny’s trips HERE, including a visit to the stone bridge at the Philly border.

Lincoln Motor Court was built before 1945; Bob and Debbie Altizer have been taking care of it for 25 years. As you can imagine, there are many challenges to maintaining vintage cabins from painting, plumbing, and wiring to keeping the cottages comfortable. Replacing the roofs have long been a goal but that is expenesive and grants are typically for non-profits. Help preserve this rare resource by staying overnight next time you’re in Pennsylvania. And look for the Altizers and their court in the forthcoming PBS special.

Lincoln Motor Court
5104 Lincoln Highway
Manns Choice, PA 15550
(814) 733-2891

How to order your NJ Lincoln Highway book

September 12, 2008

Al Pfingstl reports that his new book about the Lincoln Highway in New Jersey is available from him for $19.95 + $3.00 shipping. That’s because Al is a one-man operation — writer, designer, publisher, and bookseller. His book arrived and it’s packed with info about towns, buildings, monuments, and markers. It’s broken into chapters by county and features some maps courtesy of MapQuest. Note that it does not include roadside businesses such as motels and diners but is rather a look at local history.

Al Pfingstl
83 Princeton Rd
Parlin, NJ 08859
(732) 721 9307

Book news: Crunch covers potato chip history

September 12, 2008

DIrk Burhans, known to many of us as publisher of the newsletter Burger Boy (later Greasy Spoon), has written a fun and informative book about potato chips and the people who make them.

Crunch: A History of the Great American Potato Chip runs 203 pages and includes color and b/w illustrations, an index, and extensive endnotes. Published by Terrace Books in hardcover at $26.95, it is widely available including on Amazon for $17.79.

I endorse it with a blurb on the back cover. Below, a 1958 billboard from the Jones chip company, located in a town along the Lincoln Highway: Mansfield, Ohio.

Kiosk to celebrate LH heritage in New Carlisle IN

September 11, 2008

Historic New Carlisle Inc. is teaming with the Indiana Lincoln Highway Association Inc. to celebrate the original route of the Lincoln Highway through New Carlisle on Saturday, October 11, 2008.

Lincoln Highway Day in New Carlisle (about 14 miles west of South Bend, Indiana) will feature street banners, a walking tour of the town’s National Register District, and at 2 p.m. EST the dedication of a Lincoln Highway kiosk at City Hall, 124 E. Michigan St. (old Lincoln Highway). A reception will follow at the Inn at the Old Republic (304 E. Michigan St.) until 4 p.m. Lincoln Highway memorabilia will be on exhibit, and the Gift Shop will have LH merchandise for sale.

The Indiana LHA received grant funds from the national LHA to underwrite the fabrication of Lincoln Highway interpretive kiosks in New Carlisle and Warsaw, Indiana. The kiosks will share the heritage of the Lincoln Highway with thousands of visitors each year.

For more information, contact INLHA Secretary Joyce Chambers at (574) 276-0878 or click the flyer below to get the full-size pdf:

Fisher launched highway idea 96 years ago today

September 10, 2008

On September 10, 1912, Carl Fisher invited auto industry leaders to dinner at Das Deutsche Haus (“The German House,” a community center now called the Athenæum) in Indianapolis to announce his idea for a “coast-to-coast rock highway.” His call to action: “Let’s do it before we’re too old to enjoy it!” It wasn’t the first proposed cross-country highway, nor the first to invoke Lincoln’s name, but as the Lincoln Highway it would become the best-known transcontinental trail.

Carl Fisher. Courtesy University of Michigan, Special Collections Library.

A year later, Fisher was returning from the Conference of Governors in Colorado with LHA president Henry Joy and v-p Arthur Pardington. On the train ride home, they drafted the Proclamation of the Route of the Lincoln Highway that was published September 14. Nonetheless, September 10, 1913, has somehow become an urban legend that web sites incorrectly cite as the “opening” of the Lincoln Highway. The US Census Bureau has gone as far as posting the error in print and audio:

There are many dates associated with the establishment of the LH but “opening” is not a term that captures the essence of the road’s genesis as a connection and improvement of existing routes (nor is “completed”).

Interestingly, 20 years to the day after Fisher’s call for action (September 10, 1932), the Westinghouse Bridge above Turtle Creek east of Pittsburgh was dedicated, rerouting US 30 to the massive concrete span and emblematic of the great volume of traffic that the LH had brought to the valley below.

Lots of organizing, editing for highway video

September 9, 2008

Producing a video is a lot like the books I write — the research is the fun part. The real work is organizing mounds of info into a concise, coherent story for a broad audience. When I visited producer Rick Sebak, he sat next to the tapes for his PBS Lincoln Highway documentary: 99 of them at 40 minutes each! I count 66 hours of raw material that needs boiled down to a 56-minute show. What’s more daunting: that 65/66ths will not be used, or that he still has to watch and consider that material?

Above, Rick reviews the opening sequence and is about to cut the scene with the blue car — too similar to other road shots. Computers let him drag and drop segments of video like magnets on a refrigerator, then editor Kevin Conrad will perform the final splices (all digital of course). We also visited Paula Zetter, who designed the postcards.

I saw about 2/3 of the video and it’s great fun — very colorful and covering a wide variety of people and places. There’s a little from every state on the Lincoln Highway. Along with some basic history, there are markers and monuments, some food stops, and many attractions. Notable landmarks are sprinkled throughout the show too. Intrigued? Tune in Oct 29 at 8 pm AND announcing — repeating Halloween night at 10 pm. These two airings will also be broadcast on PBS-HD, likely the only HD broadcasts of it.

One more note — with a parallel genesis, my Lincoln Highway Companion book will include many of the same highlights when released in the Spring. Rick is just one of dozens of people who contributed their recommendations of places to visit along the route.

8 new postcards publicize Lincoln Hwy show

September 8, 2008

I visited producer Rick Sebak today at the WQED-TV studios to see an early cut of his Lincoln Highway documentary to air October 29 on PBS stations. There’s lots to tell but for now, here’s a sneak peak at 8 new postcards that will publicize the show. The photos were snapped by Rick as he traced the route across the US the past two summers. Six of them will be produced just as you see here; two have been reduced to business card size. All will be sent to media outlets and will be available for fans to acquire — more news on that and the show this week, but for now, CLICK THE IMAGE to see the postcard drafts larger:

And read more about the show on Rick’s blog.

Mountain House gets new owners, historic sign

September 5, 2008

The California chapter of the Lincoln Highway Association reports that Michael Kaelin and Gary Kinst presented a new Historic Lincoln Highway sign to the new owners of the Mountain House, Josie Alvarez and her mother Sara Pina. Sara hopes they can restore the roadhouse to its splendor of 1880-1925, the dates of the original resort being built and its burning. Below, Michael presents the sign to Sara and Josie.

This is the Mountain House in 1910 – click the image to see it larger:

The Mountain House is at the east end of Livermore/Altamont Pass in Alameda County at 16784 W Grantline Road, 4 miles W of Tracy and 6 miles E of Altamont Summit. Its origins stretch back to the gold rush days and are detailed in the July 2008 issue of The Traveler, the chapter’s newsletter. Stop in, have a drink, and say hi to Josie and Sara.