Archive for July, 2009

Ride along on a Lincoln Highway trip blog

July 17, 2009

IA_McKibbon_Preston Station

Perhaps the most fun, colorful blog ever to follow a Lincoln Highway road trip is being posted by Bill and Karen McKibbon. They set out from Ontario, Canada, and joined the LH at Joliet, Illinois. They’re following the old road west to the Pacific (at which time they continue northward), taking tons of photos like above: their car at Preston’s in Blelle Plaine. Bill told me they’re using my Greetings from the LH and LH Companion (buy ’em on Amazon!) and noted how quickly things change: “Some places no longer exist that you wrote about, some things that deserve a marker or plaque don’t, but we are finding the old road as best we can.”

NE_McKibbon_Concrete KessingerWY_McKibbon_ChocFudgeBrownie

That’s Bill at the Seeding Mile in Grand Island and Karen (they LOVE finding great desserts) in Cheyenne. Don’t pick on her Route 66 shirt — LHA HQ was out of shirts!

LH boosters also should note that almost every cafe they stopped at was CLOSED! In early JULY!!

Bill makes some other interesting observations. This is from Kensinger’s cool deco station in Grand Island, Nebraska, which was featured (along with owner Dick Grudzinski in the PBS special about the LH):

Dick pointed the way to the original early 1900’s concrete behind his gas station. It is very overgrown with weeds and long abandoned. What really surprised me is that there is no sign or plaque acknowledging what this concrete represents. The Lincoln Highway is not promoted like Route 66 is. What a shame.

Or this:

We loaded up the car and drove to Shelton NE where we wanted to visit the The Lincoln Highway Visitors Center. 10 AM on a Saturday morning and this place is locked up tight. There was a notice in the door with a phone number to call and someone would come over. We peaked in the door and the windows and there wasn’t anything in there that we felt was worth disturbing someone. I am sure they had something important to do or they would be here greeting Lincoln Highway travellers. There were no t-shirts to purchase, no postcards, basically it appeared to be an empty room, with a few things hung on the wall.

Or this

We mentioned to the lady at the [Sod House] Museum that we were driving on the Lincoln Highway and she said, “oh you will want to head North then to get on Highway 30” We said no, that we were driving the original Lincoln before there ever was a Highway 30. She thought Highway 30 was the Lincoln. This poor highway, no one seems to care much or know much about it. Here we are from Ontario Canada, and we know more than the locals.

Well, I guess there’s something to be said for not being over-commercialized….

They post at billstraveljournal.blogspot but click HERE to start with Day 1 (they’re on Day 11). Enjoy the trip!!

IA_McKibbon_Marsh Bridge

Boots' Jeep and military convoy anniv wrap up

July 16, 2009

The retracing of the 1919 military convoy route made headlines at it crossed the U.S. the past month. The tour commemorated the 90th anniversary of the first transcontinental U.S. Army motor transport convoy, most of it along the Lincoln Highway. Some of the participants also posted updates. Marilyn Boots reported on her travels with Dennis in “Jezebel,” a Vietnam-era jeep that he restored.

Boots Jeep

Dennis is a former Army captain who served with the combat engineers, with one tour of duty in Vietnam. Their blog is (also the source for these photos). He was maintenance officer for the convoy so his Jeep brought up the rear of the convoy. Marilyn was “chase lead,” responsible for seeing that civilian vehicles carrying family members of convoy participants stay on schedule.

Here is a comment from June 16, just a couple days after the launch:

Wow! The journey had been incredible so far and extremely busy. I just thought I could blog every evening! We’ve start with breakfasts at 6:30 and have not reached our hotel rooms until after 10 each night. Today is our first rest day, so I want to share some highlights. We are so filled up with memories already that we could stop now and be content.

And the end:

WE MADE IT!!! We all arrived safe and with NO BREAKDOWNS about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Western Terminus of the Lincoln Highway on the edge of San Francisco, which overlooks the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Golden Gate Bridge to the east…. We have never been so grateful for police escorts! There were 32 motorcycle policemen helping us through the enormous amount of traffic over the Bay Bridge and through the hills of San Francisco…. Again, we were cheered on by waving crowds and lots of picture taking as we made the final climb to our destination.

Boots Terminus marker

PA's Mountain View Inn might reopen

July 15, 2009

The Mountain View Inn, a historic and beloved hotel located between the Lincoln Highway and Route 30 east of Greensburg, Pa., closed in January but now has a buyer and a potential sales agreement.pa_mountainviewinn

According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, First Commonwealth Bank, owner of the historic inn, is in preliminary talks with a private group that has shown interest but there’s no guarantee it would reopen as a hotel.

This occurred a day after the Westmoreland Cultural Trust outlined its own plan to buy the facility and lease it to area colleges to operate as a hotel and convention center.

The inn opened in 1924 and the Booher family bought it in 1940. Descendants Vance and Vicki Booher began experiencing financial problems in 2001 and closed it earlier this year.

Grand View Ship Hotel book cover released

July 14, 2009

After much back and forth debate, Stackpole Books has finalized the cover to my next book, The Ship Hotel: A Grand View Along the Lincoln Highway. It shows the Ship in the early 50s, when crowds were still coming despite the lure of the parallel Pa. Turnpike. I was hoping for more nautical touches but I’m thrilled they chose to feature this beautiful view from good friend Cy Hosmer.


The Grand View Ship Hotel was once the best-known attraction along the coast-to-coast Lincoln Highway. It’s burning in 2001 broke hearts far and wide. Today all that remains are a few scattered scorched remnants below the 1920s wall (see my brief clip below). My book traces the history starting with a roadside stand that served early travelers stopping for the grand view. I got to design the inside, which will feature lots of cool photos printed large. Look for the book in Spring 2010!

Pearl China store closing after 82 years

July 13, 2009

An 82-year-old Ohio business will close at the end of summer. The Review of East Liverpool, Ohio, reports that Pearl China, located on Dresden Avenue, a bypass of the Lincoln Highway, is closing due to the owners’ retirement. The photo below shows its location along Dresden/old US 30, with 4-lane US 30 behind it — from the paper, by David M. Grimes.


After some 82 years of being part of the East Liverpool community … owners Patti and Terry Peterson of Calcutta will turn to the next chapter after their lives with the pottery and gift outlet store. Patti has been part of the store some 45 years when she began helping her mother in the early 60s while Terry will say goodbye some 35 years later when he first began his employment at the highway location. Pearl China Gifts is running a 15-percent off sale for the remaining selection of their inventory. The property is being advertised through Howard Hanna Real Estate Service and, according to their records, the nearly 10,000-foot building, with 2.8 acres of land is being sold for approximately $150,000.

A follow-up feature profiled Patti Peterson and her family’s involvement “with the ‘Pearl’ of the Lincoln Highway.”

Peterson’s bond with the store started with her father when he performed duties as a young boy in the early 1930s. Just several years after George and Dennis Singer opened up the pottery store, Peterson’s father, Shirl Vincent, would stop by the shop in the morning on his way to school, set up items, clean and sweep the rooms before continuing onto the schoolhouse.

In 1960, the last pottery production site of Pearl China was closed by Peterson’s father [Shirl] and the business switched to a retail outlet.

But in 1976, the Singer brothers retired and the young boy that once swept the floors became the official owner of the shop after he and his wife bought the store. They reached out to Peterson and her husband and once again the family was back together working under the roof of Pearl China….

In 1983, just seven years after purchasing the store, Peterson’s father unexpectantly passed away and her mother began to lose interest in the business. In 1986, Peterson and her husband bought the store and continued the establishment….

Famous Phila Lincoln Highway piece to change

July 10, 2009

A small segment of Lincoln Highway on the northeast border of Philadelphia is due for change next summer; whether that will affect an 18th century stone arch bridge remains to be seen. Here’s a scene and a video walk along the road and bridge by Rick Sebak when filming his PBS special, A Ride Along the Lincoln Highway.

PA_Byberry stone arch bridge

Plans to fix up Benjamin Rush State Park, parallel to Roosevelt Boulevard/the Lincoln Highway, have languished for decades due to a city-state dispute about the improvements. But according to, John W. Norbeck, director of the Bureau of State Parks, last week said he and City Councilman Brian O’Neill reached “an agreement in principle” during a June 30 meeting.

The parks director said last week that the state will proceed as planned to put out bids early next year and for work to commence by June 2010…. The design stipulates that Burling Avenue, a beat-up old city road that cuts through the park from Roosevelt Boulevard’s outer northbound lanes, will be removed and filled in along with another street [Byberry-Bensalem Road, aka the old Lincoln Highway] that can be seen only on maps.

Striking Burling Avenue and Byberry-Bensalem Road from the city’s street map had been a sticking point for years. O’Neill had maintained that city law bars building on a city street unless the street has been “vacated” by ordinance. Later, city zoning matters further complicated things….

When City Council reconvenes in the fall, the councilman said, he will introduce legislation that would erase the streets from city maps and also change the city’s passive recreation ordinance to accommodate the state’s plans for Rush.

Doc walks Lincoln Highway for health care reform

July 9, 2009

Dr. Ogan Gurel is walking the Lincoln Highway from Chicago to Washington, D.C., to bring attention to the health care crisis. reports that Gurel is in central Ohio, easily spotted by an American flag sticking out of his backpack. The image below is a screen shot from that site.

OH_Doc walking

The idea for The Walk for Health Care came after Gurel was shocked by self-interested statements made by the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, and insurance executives on the issue of health care reform.

Gurel says, “I want to knock some sense into the situation because it’s not about preserving a piece of the monetary pie but basic human needs,” Gurel said. He emphasizes that his walk isn’t affiliated with a particular viewpoint or political party but he just feels the status quo is unacceptable. Here is his schedule:

6/27 Chicago
6/28 Gary, Indiana
6/29 Valparaiso, Indiana
6/30 Plymouth, Indiana
7/1 Warsaw, Indiana
7/2 Columbia City, Indiana
7/3 Ft. Wayne, Indiana
7/4 Cairo, Ohio
7/8 Upper Sandusky and Bucyrus, Ohio
7/9 Mansfield, Ohio
7/10 Wooster, Ohio
7/12 Canton, Ohio
7/13 Minerva, Ohio
7/14 Lisbon, Ohio
7/15 Chester, West Virginia
7/16 Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
7/17 Irwin/Grapeville/Greensburg, Pennsylvania
7/18 Latrobe, Pennsylvania
7/20 Bedford, Pennsylvania
7/23 Hagerstown, Maryland
7/24 Frederick, Maryland
7/25 Germantown/Gaithersburg & Rockville Maryland
7/26 Bethesda, Maryland & Washington DC


Restored Black and Orange cabins dedicated

July 8, 2009

The Bridger Valley Pioneer reported on last Wednesday’s dedication of the restored Black and Orange Cabins in Fort Bridger, Wyoming. The motel along the Lincoln Highway dates to the 1930s. Many Lincoln Highway fans visited the unrestored cabins at the 2008 LHA Evanston conference. The cabins, with carports, were an extension of the Rocheford Hotel in an attempt to serve travelers who wanted less formal accommodations. The event coincided with the passing through of the Military Vehicle Preservation Association’s re-enactment of the 1919 military convoy.

WY_RW_B&Orange sign

WY_RW_B&Orange entry

WY_RW_B&Orange cabin7

Randy Wagner, who provided the photos above, wrote, “The ribbon-cutting coincided with the arrival of the Military Convoy and some 250 folks attended. The contractor told me he was able to use abour 90 percent of the original building material.  The registration office is a complete reconstruction as it was destroyed by fire some 20 years ago. They are not available to rent although a couple have been furnished (bed, dresser, chair, stove and not much else) and are open for inspection.  More will be furnished as period furniture becomes available. The state doesn’t want to compete with the two small motels that struggle to stay in business in Fort Bridger.”

WY_SH_MVPA Church Butte_66

LHA director for Wyoming Shelly Horne reports on the day that MVPA leader “Terry Shellswell had invited some of us to join the convoy in Green River. When we got there he offered Joe Cox (a local LHA member) a ride with a retired Air Force Colonel in his jeep (above) and invited me to ride with him in his jeep with he and his wife at the head of the column. He asked my wife, Deann, to lead a small column down the interstate that was not able to travel the old road. We followed the LH from Green River to Little America, then picked it up again in Granger to Fort Bridger with a rest stop at Church Butte.” He spoke briefly at the Blakc and Orange Cabins “before the ribbon cutting (which appropriately was a tree branch cutting).  The convoy was fed Buffalo Burgers and we were gone again.  We picked up the LH east of Eagle Rock a few miles.  As we were heading up the grade past Eagle Rock, I looked back at the convoy.  It was strung out for several miles and was quite a sight.”

New show features roads, roadside attractions

July 7, 2009

NBC_Road Trip logo

Beginning tonight, July 7, NBC debuts Great American Road Trip with seven families crossing the U.S. while competing in wacky challenges — a lite version of The Amazing Race. Interestingly, the eight episode show is produced by BBC Worldwide. While the Lincoln Highway is not mentioned, it could likely show up; meanwhile, Route 66 gets a fair amount of visibility. Here are two teaser promos:

Here’s a description from NBC:

These comical, clever challenges are set against iconic American backdrops like the majestic Grand Canyon and the regal Washington Monument. Along the way, our families and our viewers will also discover quirky American landmarks, ranging from the World’s Largest Chair to a sneaker the size of a car. Although family fun is the centerpiece of the show, the competition is real and one family will be eliminated each week based on their performance in the challenges. Ultimately, only one family will return home with a dream prize that perfectly complements their extraordinary and memorable summer vacation.

Get lots more info HERE.

A word from Wyoming on windfarms

July 6, 2009

Former LHA president Randy Wagner always makes clear his opposition to windfarms and their impact on the view along Western roads like the Lincoln Highway, so as an Easterner, I asked him to explain. Below is his response.


Windfarms are destroying the natural Western landscape and are bringing to an end the wide open spaces that those of us that live here have so long enjoyed. Wherever they grow, they dominate the viewshed like nothing else ever invented by man. While normal man-made visual intrusions, like power lines and oil wells, tend to fade from view in 3-5 miles, windmills boldly stand out for up to 30 miles, always on the skyline. An example would be the once beautiful Lincoln Highway drive from Fort Bridger to Evanston, a journey through a pristine landscape since 1913 that is now a windmill forest. Another example is closer to home: Cheyenne residents have forever enjoyed an unobstructed view of the Laramie Mountains and the Sherman Summit to the west. Now a windfarm blocks the view and the feeling of living in the wide open, unspoiled west is forever gone.

I could go on and on about the facts that wind energy is highly inefficient and can only be economically justified with heavy federal (taxpayer) subsidies; that windmills are very high maintenance items; that they don’t work on those hot, still, muggy days when energy is in high demand; that they are seriously altering the habitat for native wildlife species such as sage grouse and pronghorn antelope; that Wyoming is destroying its landscape to send power to Denver, Salt Lake City, Las Vegas and Los Angeles.

Counter viewpoints are welcome.