Archive for July, 2009

Updates and news from the Lincoln Highway

July 31, 2009

ia_linccafe0020• Update to recent murder of Lincoln Cafe owner: No word on the cafe itself in Belle Plaine, Iowa, but bond was set at $500,000 each for three people accused, and at a preliminary hearing yesterday, arraignment was set for August 13 in Iowa County District Court. According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, “Marengo Police Chief Galen Moser has refused to release how Bailey died and the weapon used to kill him. Police did, however, release autopsy results last week that confirmed Bailey’s death was a homicide.” According to MPC Newspapers, “Bailey and Frei purchased Bailey’s Lincoln Café in Belle Plaine in 2006. The business has not kept regular hours the last year or so, with customers often finding notes on the door indicating the café was closed due to emergency or medical reasons. News of the killing has left the café’s customers reeling.”

• On Wednesday, September 2 at 1:30 p.m, Jan Shupert-Arick, past president of the Lincoln Highway Association and past national director of the Indiana LHA, will talk about the famous road at the Center for History in South Bend, Indiana. She is author of the recently-published book, The Lincoln Highway Across Indiana, and also guest curator for the Center for History’s exhibit, Appeal to Patriots: The Lincoln Highway. A tour of the exhibit is part of the program. Admission is $3 and reservations are required by August 31. For information, call (574) 235-9664 or visit

Sebak LH road curve• Sue Barr writes that “My colleague Dr David Heathcote and I are academics  in London and teach at the Architectural Association School of Architecture and Middlesex University. We are working on a book on the world history of motorways and will come to the U.S. in September to look at the Lincoln Highway.”Photo by Rick Sebak

Lincoln exhibition to open in New York City

July 30, 2009

The New-York Historical Society will open an exhibition, Lincoln and New York, on October 9, 2009. New York of course lays claim to the Eastern Terminus and a few blocks of the cross-country Lincoln Highway. The exhibition will trace the relationship between the man and the city; it will run through March 25, 2010.

NY_Lincoln funeral

The photo above showing Lincoln’s funeral procession also reportedly caught young Teddy Roosevelt at the window of his grandfather Cornelius Roosevelt’s house (the large house on the left). He and his brother Elliot are said to be the boys looking out the second floor window. The house sat on Broadway between 13th and 14th streets; it was replaced by the Roosevelt Building in 1894.

The New-York Historical Society is located at 170 Central Park West between 76th & 77th streets. For more information, visit or call (212) 873-3400.

PA Lincoln Highway Gateway Enhancement Plan

July 29, 2009

Anyone who has driven the Lincoln Highway near Lancaster, Pa. — especially east of the city on US 30 — knows that traffic congestion makes it near impossible to enjoy the road’s heritage. Now the Lancaster County Planning Commission has released an enhancement plan to address traffic, signage, and accessibility. You can view the PDF HERE.

PA_Lancaster plan

The report states:

This project is the first step in implementing the Lancaster County Strategic Tourism Development Plan, adopted by the County Commissioners in 2005….

The Lincoln Highway is a high priority because:
• It’s a highly visible gateway into the city and surrounding countryside
• It’s an important part of the county’s economy
• It plays a key role in the county’s tourism “mix”

The publication lists the many problems and potential solutions. One challenge is that the area is known for rural and Amish attractions, but the crush of tourists and modern businesses has pushed out many farms and even the mid-century fabricated attractions.

In the 1990s, local officials cited tourist complaints that there was nothing to do after dark, when Amish-themed attractions closed. The response led to outlet malls, which have spawed more chain stores and wide highways, resulting in the disappearance of almost all vintage businesses and buildings. Accessing any of it is frustrating for tourists and commuters, not to mention horse-drawn buggies. It will be interesting to see if such growth can now be reined in.

Ohio brick Lincoln Highway pillar restored

July 28, 2009


LHA director Mike Buettner sent info and images from a Mid-Ohio Chapter/Lincoln Highway Association work day a few weeks ago.  The original brick pillar that is one mile east of Oceola (Crawford County) was in dire need of repair.  Saturday, led by Richard Taylor, members of the chapter did those repairs.



According to my road guide research, this pillar “was set in 1921 to commemorate the completion of the bricking of this part of the highway, and is the only survivor of what may have been eight pillars in Crawford County west of Bucyrus.  Past-president Esther Oyster has determined that these brick pillars were set at one-mile intervals, in a span of seven miles from Bucyrus to the Wyandot County Line, and has thus far been able to verify the construction of six of these pillars.”


Road food tips at Ride To Eat / LHC review

July 27, 2009

Lincoln Highway fan Steve Jones wrote me to mention a road food website that he manages: It lists nearly 1,000 eating places, some with descriptions. Steve explains below it’s not the same as a recommendation guide.


It’s not really about places to eat while on the road (that’s well-plowed ground) but more about places it is worth planning a trip around — even if it’s just a Sunday drive. It’s still a little rough, but I hope to grow it into a unique and valuable resource. The premise is motorcycle-related, but there is really nothing about the data that is bike-centric other than the tendency towards destinations that are on twisty roads.

Steve also posted the book review below to LDRider, an email list for members of the Iron Butt Assn. and other long-distance endurance motorcycle riding enthusiasts. Thanks Steve!!

Brian Butko, author of Greetings from the Lincoln Highway has a new book out called Lincoln Highway Companion.

Though its 192 pages are filled with great full-color photos on quality paper, this is no coffee table decoration designed to give you something to flip through during commercials.

It’s the ultimate detailed authority on the current and historical alignments of the Lincoln Highway, conveniently sized to fit in a tank bag or glove box (just over 8×5″).

Every mile of the Lincoln Highway is covered with detailed color-coded maps showing the following:
* Original 1913 alignments
* Intermediate alignments or sanctioned detours
* Final Alignments still in use by 1930
* Modern detours
* Gone or hard to reach
The map scale varies as needed to show meaningful detail, all the way down to 1 inch per mile.

It bursts with snippets of interesting things to see, lodging and great food along the route – but the maps are the star of the show.  It is obvious that a great deal of research went into this.

The author (with whom I have no affiliation) has put together a short video highlighting the features of the book:

I originally bought it with the intention of putting together the “definitive” route for a Lincoln Highway Coast-to-Coast ride, but now I see there are too many variables and the decisions are just too subjective.  The good news is that it gives me everything I need to choose the route I find most interesting.

I am sure some here will enjoy it as much as I am.  It just came out and may not be widely available yet, but they have it in stock at Amazon:

Ohio's old Dutch Mill roadhouse being rehabbed

July 24, 2009

Mike Hocker, Executive Director of the Ohio Lincoln Highway Historic Byway, reports that while delivering Lincoln Highway travelers guides, he met Mike Van Doren and his wife Dawn, new owners of the old Dutch Mill east of Van Wert, Ohio. The couple did not at first realize the building’s historical significance but it, and the coast-to-coast road it’s on, now has them excited. The place was a “one-stop” for gas, food, and lodging in the 1920s, and a short section of original road remains on property from when the curve outr front was straightened.


The roof is leaking and needs about $25,000 to repair but the “bar” is still in there, and that’s one of the reasons they  bought it. They will be having the BUY-WAY yard sale activities there (August 6-8). It surely is great to see someone  wanting to preserve this stuff.

The Old Dutch Mill is at the junction of Middlepoint Road and old Lincoln Highway just east of Van Wert.

Summer Festival at 1866 Austin NV church

July 23, 2009

“Soup, Sin, & Salvation” — a Celebration of Restoration, is the theme for the annual dinner and auction to be held this Saturday, July 25, 2009 in St. Augustine’s former church in Austin, Nevada. St. Augustine’s is the state’s oldest Catholic church building (1866) and a popular stop for tourist along the Lincoln Highway/US 50. The church was sold to a private party who formed a nonprofit organization to restore and renovate the structure.


The event will feature:
Homemade bread and rolls
Homemade soup in a commemorative cup
Depression-era food such as Spam
Grilled steak kabobs
Rich and delicious homemade ice cream

1 pm: Mella Harmon presents:
“How Soup & Sin Saved Nevada” — Nevada during the Great Depression

2-5 pm: “Artists in Austin”
Visit area artists at fun locations around town

6 pm: Dinner and Auction in the old church!
For the first time in decades, this historic building will echo the happy sounds of people gathering!

Tickets are $39. Get more info at or contact Jan Morrison (775) 964 – 1100.

Three more blogs of Lincoln Highway adventures

July 22, 2009

Following up on last week’s Lincoln Highway adventures of Bill and Karen, another couple, Dave and Peg, are driving a 1929 Model A across the country. They picked up the Lincoln Highway west of Canton, Ohio, and are heading to California. (Note, they just detoured off the LH to see Mount Rushmore.) Follow along at

IA_DavePeg_Model A_Bridge Tama

Another couple, Kathie and Tony Mandra, have already reached the west coast but you can read of their trip, and side trips, at

IA_Mandra_Woodbine Brick Station

And Chris Hutter is riding his 2006 Harley Davidson FLHR west from Pittsburgh. Follow him at

IN_Goshen Hutter0328

Donner Summit icon Norm Sayler honored

July 21, 2009

The Auburn Journal reports that Norm Sayler, who served as president and manager of Donner Ski Ranch for 46 years, was honored on July 5 for his  contributions to the community. He received the 2009 Community Person of the Year Award at the annual Donner Summit Area Association Picnic from Placer County Supervisor Jennifer Montgomery. Photo is from the story.


A resident of Donner Summit since 1954, Sayler was instrumental in making Donner the first ski resort in America to open its slopes to snow boarders in the 1980s. He turned over operation of the ski area a few years ago but continues with the Donner Summit Historical Society, which he founded. Of note to Lincoln Highway enthusiasts:

In the 1990s when Nevada County slated Rainbow Bridge for demolition, Sayler found $500,000 in state seed money to rehabilitate historic state bridges. This effort also ensured that one of the most historic roads in California, Donner Pass Road (formerly known as Highway 40, the Lincoln Highway, the Victory Highway, and the Dutch Flat-Donner Lake Wagon Road), would be preserved and open for all to use

Murder shocks, closes Lincoln Cafe in Belle Plaine

July 20, 2009

IA_Van_BellePlLincolnCafeAccording to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, Curtis C. Bailey, co-owner of the Lincoln Cafe in Belle Plaine, Iowa, was murdered Sunday by his common-law wife and two other people, reportedly her son and his girlfriend. LHA director Van Becker sent the photo and alerts us that the story was reported yesterday on Cedar Rapids KCRG-TV 9 and this morning in the Gazette.