Archive for June, 2009

Photos from the Alice Ramsey / Maxwell launch

June 12, 2009

LHA director Jerry Peppers was at the launch on Tuesday of the 100th Anniversary Commemorative ride of Alice Huyler Ramsey’s historic 1909 cross country drive. He writes:

The team got underway at approximately 9:00 am in front of 1930 Broadway (67th Street across from Lincoln Center and about 1-1/4 mile north of the Eastern Terminus in Times Square). Unfortunately a thunderstorm had just passed through and it was still raining.



I did get to talk to Emily Anderson, the driver, and Christie Catanie, the navigator, and they are of course excited about their trip. They are looking forward to being at the LHA annual conference in South Bend next week. Even the gloomy day and the thought of driving an open car (the canvas top was put up but there are no side windows so the vehicle is essentially open), and the reporters and cameras in their faces did not seem to dampen their spirits.

The first photo shows Emily at the wheel (note the right hand drive) and Christie in the passenger seat as the car was pulling away from the curb. The second shows Emily being interviewed with her mother in the foreground (holding flowers).

The 1909 Maxwell is magnificently restored. When they stepped to the front to hand crank it to get it started and the engine sputtered to life, it was amazing even though it ran with so much valve clatter it sounded like some of the diesel trucks going by it on Broadway!

Below is a photo from their trip eastward to NYC. LHA president Bob Dieterich snapped Kathy Franzwa in the restored Maxwell in front of her house in Tooele, Utah. Her late husband Gregory Franzwa ublished the book Alice’s Drive, which reprints her tale of the trip plus he added his modern-day sleuthing of her route.


Alice Ramsey’s story was once well-known: on June 9, 1909, she and three female companions set off from NYC in a new, dark green Maxwell DA. She reached the Pacific 59 days later, becoming the first woman to drive coast-to-coast.

Alice’s Drive: Republishing Veil, Duster, and Tire Iron
by Alice Ramsey, Annotation and “Chasing Alice” by Gregory M. Franzwa
Patrice Press, 265 pp, 161 illustrations, 108 notes, index, softcover
ISBN 1-880397-56-0

$19.95 plus $4.95 s/h direct from Franzwa’s Patrice Press.

Palmantier's Motel (near Baywood bricks) for sale

June 11, 2009

The Canton Repository reports that a classic 9-unit motel along the Lincoln Highway in eastern Ohio is for sale. Fans will recognize it as being at the eastern end of the famous brick stretch of Baywood Street.

Palmantier’s Motel, opened 1947, was purchased four years ago by Scott Segeti, “lured to these parts by the beauty of nearby farm fields, grazing cattle, grassy meadows, chirping birds, fresh air and an opportunity to be his own boss.” Now Segeti is trying to sell the motel, swimming pool, two houses, and 3.25 acres for $425,000.


“I thought it was a gift from God,” he said.

He bought it on land contract from longtime owner Carolyn Koontz in 2005. He immediately digitized the motel’s old phone system. He hard-wired room fire alarms. He touched up units here and there. He moved into one four-bedroom house on the land and rented out the other.

Four years later, Segeti isn’t sure he can make it work.

The bad economy has squeezed the motel. Even for $50 a night, sometimes not a single room is rented. Its airy one- and two-bed country decor units remain empty. Most guests these days are building contractors who follow jobs into the area, stay for a few weeks and move on….

“It would be the ideal business for a retired couple,” Segeti said. “This place still has the ambiance of the 1950s. From a time when the whole world moved at a much slower pace.”

Lincoln Highway Story DVD for grade schoolers

June 10, 2009

A DVD written and produced with the Indiana State curriculum for 3th and 4th grades features the Lincoln Highway. “The Lincoln Highway Story” was produced by Ed Chamberlin and narrated by Bruce Chamberlin with guest appearances by Dr. Patrick Furlong, Professor Emeritus, Indiana University, South Bend, IN and Jan Shupert-Arick, author and past president of the Lincoln Highway Association.


The DVD chronicles the history of the Lincoln Highway. Chapters include: background about the Highway, Carl Fisher’s and Henry Joy’s influence in the development of the Highway, the Lincoln Highway Association and the part it played in promoting the Highway, route determination, the Ideal Section in Indiana, the success of the Highway and the rebirth of the Lincoln Highway Association. This DVD was produced by Chamberlin Video Productions, Mishawaka, IN.

Cost is $10 plus $2.95 for shipping and handling from the Hannah Lindahl Children’s Museum, 1402 S. Main St., Mishawaka, IN 46544, (574) 254-4540,

Convoy launches Saturday – western PA stops

June 9, 2009


The Johstown Democrat ran a story about the recreation of the 1919 U.S. Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy being run by the Military Vehicles Preservation Association. The original trip covered 3,250 miles and took 62 days to complete. The 90th anniversary convoy departs Washington D.C., on Saturday, June 13, and will arrive in San Francisco 26 days later on July 8. Here are some of planned stops on Sunday, June 14:

Drive through McConnellsburg 8:30 am.

Old Bedford Village about 11 am – 2 pm.

Parade through Everett, Bedford, and Schellsburg.

Onto Somerset County and Flight 93 National Memorial.

Stop in Stoystown about 4:30; Main Street will be closed and a brief ceremony is planned at the Hite House.

Arrive at Westmoreland Mall in Greensburg about 6 pm, where there will be a display depicting the historical significance of the 1919 convoy.

NOTE:  times are subject to change — and like the original convoy, I think that celebrations and traffic will constantly put them behind schedule.

Recreated Alice Ramsey trip launches Tuesday

June 8, 2009

Emily_AliceThe centennial recreation of Alice Ramsey’s pioneering trip across the U.S. has already garnered coverage in the LA Times, NY Times, and PR Web. In 1909, Ramsey became the first woman to drive across the U.S., accompanied by three female companions and publicity people from her carmaker, Maxwell. Much of the trip followed what would become the Lincoln Highway four years later.

Emily Anderson (right) is recreating the cross-country trip in a 1909 Maxwell over the same route. Emily and her group leave New York City on Tuesday, June 9, for a five week journey to San Francisco. They launch from 1930 Broadway, near Lincoln Center, at 9 am. For those who wish to visit, they will bring the car over the Queensboro Bridge around 6:30 am and be on Broadway by 7:30. They will stop in Tarrytown, New York, for a quick photo op at the old Maxwell Briscoe Motor Co. plant where Maxwells were built for many years.

Emily will be joined by friend and navigator Christie Catanie of Colorado. Also traveling in separate vehicles will be her dad Richard Anderson, who built the Maxwell from pieces, and his wife Margaret. Also along will be chief mechanic Tim Simonswa and his wife Barb.


You can track the journey at and click on the map marked “Follow Along.” They hope to visit the LHA conference in South Bend, Indiana, on June 16.

Route 66 reviews Lincoln Highway Companion

June 5, 2009

lhc_covershadloMy Lincoln Highway Companion book hit Amazon and bookstore shelves a couple weeks ago. It’s literally a companion to my Greetings … book but also, I hope, a companion to anyone thinking of traveling the road. Reaction has been overwhelmingly kind, like this from LHA president Bob Dieterich:

This book is fantastic! The color maps are clear and easy to read. The photos are excellent. And the contents are superb. The places described in this book are unique and fascinating.

A couple tiny errors have shown up, one being the location of Stosh’s Barber Shop – the description correctly places it in Batavia, Illinois. So why in the photo caption did I write Rochelle?! Don’t know but if we produce a revised or updated edition, I’m ready.


Route 66 News also gave LHC a positive review — read it HERE. Ron Warnick kindly writes that it “truly shines with descriptions of choice motels and restaurants by Butko and a slew of contributors.”

He notes that some locales just don’t have people able to review motels or restaurants, most glaringly in Reno and Sparks, Nevada. This was surprising to me too but shows how the Lincoln Highway is still in the early stages of providing for modern tourists. Route 66 handles this with a volunteer program, Adopt a Hundred, that monitors places for inclusion in the Route 66 Dining and Lodging Guide.

For those considering buying it, Lincoln HIghway Companion does include both state maps plus regional maps that cover every mile of the road at 1″ to every seven miles. There are also selected city maps at 1″ = 1 mile.

Quarter near Bedford is newest PA Roadside Giant

June 4, 2009

A 20-foot tall, 1,600-pound steel quarter with George Washington’s profile is the newest of five Roadside Giants planned along Pennsylvania’s 200-mile Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor. The quarter is located east of Bedford, Pennsylvania, near the Down River Golf Course in Everett. It was dedicated last Wednesday to acknowledge students from Bedford County Technical Center who were involved in its design and creation. The sculpture was created at MDL Manufacturing in Bedford; owners Mari-Pat and Doug Lingsch invited the students into their plant.

PA_LHHC RG quarter side

The photo below shows Mari-Pat and Doug Lingsch, owners of MDL Manufacturing in Bedford. Leah R. Cominsky, LHHC Marketing/Project Manager, says, “They had a lot to do with the project in terms of allowing the students to work on laser cutting the details of the Giant at their facility, plus they helped the students to order the materials that they would need to complete the Giant.  They are such great, kind-hearted people, and Mari-Pat was on the Community Committee for the school to help them along the way with the design of the quarter.”

PA_LHHC RG quarter Lingsch

The Altoona Mirror reported that:

Meetings for the project began in March 2008, said community committee member Karen Bowman. Finishing touches at the site, such as landscaping and stone, will be added in the fall by students….

It took about three days to build the form, one day for it to set and another day to pour concrete….

Assistance on this project was provided by New Enterprise Stone & Lime Co., BC Stone, SKE Design and Rockland Manufacturing.

For Wednesday’s dedication, student Chelsea Long of the tech center’s Culinary Arts project created a matching 3-D cake in the shape of the giant quarter with assistance from instructor Pattie Liebfreid.

PA_LHHC RG quarter cake

Kearney's Hammer Motel – update

June 2, 2009

Fred Hammer wrote to say hello after reading my post on the history of his family’s motel along the Lincoln Highway in Kearney, Nebraska: “I grew up in that motel — watched it grow from 8 rooms to 35.  My dad was one of the founders of the Best Western chain and took pride in that organization…. In the landscaping I donated to the university, I had three brick columns placed in the southwest corner, similar in shape to what was at the motel — and, in one of the columns,  there is embedded a plaque which has a miniature imprint of the motel sign” So next time you’re in Kearney, take the time to find the honorary landscaping and plaque on Watson Blvd. at 19th Street.


Hobo Day at Bucyrus' Victorian train station

June 1, 2009

Hobo Day 2009 was held May 23 along the Lincoln Highway in Bucyrus, Ohio, at the Toledo & Ohio Central railroad station. The Crawford County Post reported that hundreds attended the annual event at the Victorian station, which is being restoredHere is a photo of the station and event by Doug Foreman from the paper’s story:

OH_Bucyrus Hobo Day

Train equipment on display included offbeat equipment such as a velocipede, pocket watches, and the bell from president Lincoln’s funeral train. Antique vehicles included a 1916 Maxwell truck and 1930 Ford Model A coupe.