South Bend’s Lincoln Highway & ’09 conference

A story in Thursday’s South Bend Tribune recalled the Lincoln Highway across Indiana and discussed plans for the 2009 LHA conference in South Bend next June.

On the evening of Oct. 31, 1913, some 3,000 people and 500 automobiles paraded from to Springbrook Park in South Bend.

There, in the park that later became Playland Park and is now property owned by Indiana University South Bend, a huge bonfire was set ablaze — the flames could be seen for 20 miles. It burned simultaneously in a line of bonfires across the country from New York to San Francisco.

For miles across Indiana, farmers lit Jack-0-Lanterns on fence posts. It wasn’t to drive witches out on Halloween.

Instead, the “monster parade,” according to The Tribune, celebrated the dedication of Lincoln Highway, America’s first transcontinental highway.

The article included the above photo, provided by the Mishawaka-Penn-Harris Public Library, which “shows a gas station believed to be at the northwest corner of Cedar and Lincoln Way in Mishawaka, illustrating how businesses catered to tourists along the Lincoln Highway between 1913 and 1928.”

The LHA conference is set for June 16-20, 2009, headquartered at Century Center, South Bend.

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