Archive for March, 2009

Lincoln Highway icon Franzwa passes

March 31, 2009

I’m sorry to report that Lincoln Highway Association pioneer and stalwart Gregory Franzwa passed away late Sunday night. Franzwa was instrumental in founding both the Oregon-California Trails Association and the modern Lincoln Highway Association. He edited the LHA’s Forum for most of its 17 years, and in 1995 he began a series of state-by-state guidebooks to the Lincoln Highway that covered the western portion of the route. His Patrice Press carries the numerous books he has authored about western trails.


His wife Kathy wrote that “he left us peacefully, at home, with me at his side. I cannot stress strongly enough how much his friends in OCTA and the LHA meant to him. All of the letters, emails, and cards brightened his last days very much. He asked that I scatter his ashes on the Oregon Trail.”

The last note he sent to me was an endorsement for my forthcoming Lincoln Highway Companion book. Even ailing, he was willing to lend a hand to a friend and to the highway. I appreciate his unending help and support in the two decades I knew him.

Spending time on Lincoln Highway books

March 30, 2009

I’ve been spending lots of time writing the Ship Hotel book, due out in 2010. More than 2 months after my request for info, I still get letters and photos daily — it’s getting hard to wrap up! Here’s a nice photo I just color-corrected. As you’ve probably seen in your own family photos, pigments fade from old Kodacolor prints, leaving them pink. I really enjoy working to bring them back to how they should look.


Lincoln Highway Companion is still at least a month away from release but Stackpole Books just added it and my other books to their web site. For LH Companion click HERE; Greetings from the LH can be found HERE.

Companion is already printing so no more changes can be made, but the road is always in flux. Here’s a draft page from Iowa — a popular stretch that includes Preston’s station in Belle Plaine and the bridge at Tama with the highway’s name in its rails. Creating and correcting the maps for this book added many, many months to its production.


Nevada Iowa revamps Lincoln Highway web site

March 27, 2009

The Nevada [Iowa] Journal reports that the town’s Lincoln Highway Days committee has revamped its web site to include more info and images. The long-running annual event will take place this August 28-30.


The updated site was created by Camp Registry, a company in Ames, Iowa, that builds sports camp Web sites around the country. The site,, will allow board members to update the site themselves with announcements, board minutes, and photos. Community members can volunteer to help with the celebration or sign up for the parade through the site, and are encouraged to submit their own Lincoln Highway Days photos, information, and announcements. A quick look, however, found some broken and misdirected links for now.


Public invited to join antique military parade

March 26, 2009

A highlight of the 2009 Lincoln Highway Association conference in South Bend, Indiana, will be the Lincoln Highway Day Parade featuring the Military Vehicle Preservation Association’s 90th anniversary re-enactment of the Military Army Convoy. Best-known of the original participants in 1919 was young Dwight Eisenhower. For the anniversary on June 19, individual vehicles along with antique auto and motorcycle clubs are invited to participate. The LHA has produced 150 dash plaques to commemorate the day:


All entries must be motorized and must pre-register for $10. Click HERE for the PDF form with more information.

Praying Mantis down plus other PA LH sites

March 25, 2009

On my trip along the Lincoln Highway to Grand View Point near Bedford, Pennsylvania, I snapped a few sites, including the big praying mantis at the Second Time Around Shop, now laying on its side.


Other photos here are the LHHC mural and gas pump in Stoystown, the Washington Furnace Inn closed and for sale, and the rebuilding of the burned Sleepy Hollow tavern and restaurant.




Only the view left at Grand View Point

March 24, 2009

ship_cy_fin0001I drove east on the Lincoln Highway last weekend to wrap up my research on the S.S. Grand View Ship Hotel. The Ship, west of Bedford, PA, was one of the best-loved roadside attractions until it burned in 2001. Good weather, a productive trip, lots of photos, and a good book on tape made it fun, but it’s still sad to see the Ship gone and odd to see so many places changed. Old signs gone, new buildings in operation, more lanes for traffic.


Little now changes at Grand View Point. Vandals have taken about all they can, particularly from the lighthouses that once graced each end of the wall. Here’s a very short clip of what remains – not at all exciting but it documents what’s there today. I posted another on YouTube taken when I crawled down the hill.

Fort Steele building to be interpretive center

March 23, 2009

The Rawlins Daily Times reports (via The Seattle Times) that the post trader’s house at Fort Fred Steele Historic Site has been saved from its crumbling state and rehabbed. The fort, along the Lincoln Highway and I-80 about 12 miles east of Rawlins, Wyoming, was built in 1868 to guard against Indian attacks and used through 1886. A Salt Lake City firm stabilized the crumbling concrete of the house with a glasslike liquid that is absorbed and prevents concrete from crumbling. The strengthened walls are joined by a new roof, walls, hardwood floor, windows, and heat. Also known as the Chatterton House, the post trader’s house is being readied as an interpretive center. Fort Steele reopens for the summer May 1. Here are a couple videos about the site, one short but pretty, the other with some locals interviewed.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

In 1892, the graves of the soldiers and their dependents at Fort Steele were moved to Fort McPherson National Cemetery — along the Gothenburg Stairstep portion of the Lincoln Highway near Maxwell, Nebraska.

Lincoln Hwy fans to meet in Gettysburg bistro

March 21, 2009

The Pennsylvania Chapter of the Lincoln Highway Association is hosting an informal get together on Saturday, April 4, at 2:00 p.m. at the Blue Parrot Bistro, 35 Chambersburg St (Lincoln Highway) in Gettysburg. There will be games, prizes, refreshments, and lots of old road talk. There is no charge to attend, but please R.S.V. P. by April 1, 2009, and bring a friend.


R.S.V.P. by April 1 to Mindy Crawford at or (717) 880-6275.

Bluegrass song from Lincoln Highway band

March 19, 2009

Have a listen to the Lincoln Highway bluegrass band playing I’ll Fly Away.

For something more familiar, a Beatles tune from Rubber Soul:

Lincoln Highway marker hit, missing from York

March 18, 2009

LHA director Mindy Crawford alerts us that the concrete Lincoln Highway marker  at Ogontz and E. Market Street in York, Pennsylvania, was hit by a car on February 23. “One of our members has been trying to track down where it went. The only information he could get was from the police and the water company who both said it was laying there when they left! It is, of course, gone now.”


If you have any information, please contact Mindy, who is also Executive Director Preservation Pennsylvania, at or (717) 880-6275. Also keep watch at regional antique shops and on eBay. The posts, which have a directional arrow on the side, weere planted in 1928 to mark and commemorate the Lincoln Highway.