Archive for August, 2009

More Lincoln Highway gazebos for Illinois

August 31, 2009

An interpretive gazebo will be constructed along the LH in Plainfield, Illinois, this fall. According to the Joliet Herald News,

The gazebo, one of 16 the coalition is building in participating communities, will be near Village Hall on the south side of Lockport Street. The coalition plans to use federal grant money to build the gazebos statewide along Lincoln Highway, once known as “the most famous road in America.” The village chipped in $3,080, 20 percent of the gazebo’s cost.

The Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition, which Plainfield joined in 2006, has been marketing the 179-mile route for more than 10 years. The group counts 34 towns along its Lincoln Highway corridor, which means all aren;t exactly on the route, such Frankfort, Mokena, Joliet, New Lenox, Aurora, and Oswego.

IL_LHC _banner

Besides the gazebo for Plainfield, a committee is working with an artist to design a mural that will be painted on a local building along Lincoln Highway. This will likely depict U.S. Grant Blakely, former publisher and owner of the Plainfield Enterprise newspaper who was instrumental in getting Lincoln Highway routed through Plainfield, as well as several prominent local historic buildings, Schwarz said.

For more information about the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition, visit

Lincoln Highway used Kings Canyon Road

August 28, 2009

As Denny Gibson climbed the Sierra Nevadas a couple days ago he wondered if he should or could access Kings Canyon Road, a sometimes steep climb between Carson City, Nevada, and Lake Tahoe to the west. Once suburban King Street ends, there are 9 miles of westbound climbing. The total gain is 1,800 feet, but the worst of it is the first two miles. Here’s my view of the eastern start:


An 1860s toll road, it became part of the LH in 1913 (improvements led it to be called called Ostermann’s Grade for LHA’s Henry Ostermann). It was bypassed by US 50  and the old road deteriorated; it was in rough shape when people began rediscovering the LH. It’s obviously been improved in recent years as hikers and bikers take to it. ATVs and jeeps share the road but it’s not recommended for regular-clearance vehicles. This article describes the condition: We couldn’t go too far up the mountain though; the road is no longer maintained, and at one point higher in the mountains, the road has washed away. An old truck lays in the valley below as if it had fallen off the cliff.”

As this article says,   “Almost all freight, clothing, pots, pans, food stuffs and lumber came to Carson City by way of this road. If you wanted to visit family in California or spend a vacation at the Lake, this was how you went.”

Here’s a site that makes KCR look stunning but, they’re on bikes.

This site says “Climbing from 5400ft above Carson City to 7000ft at Spooner Summit, Kings Canyon is no slouch for elevation gain. Most of the gain takes place in the first 3 miles of the climb, so expect to get the worst over quickly.”

The road is hard-packed dirt and rock, with very few sandy spots along the first 3 miles. During this time, the grade is fairly steep, giving the rider a good aerobic workout. After a couple switchbacks, the road contours along the hillside and makes for a small saddle, which marks the end of the steep climb and the beginning of the longer, easier gradient. The road stays pretty much on contour for the next 5 miles, with very minor dips. A few hundred feet below through the pine trees is Highway 50 to Spooner summit, but traffic noise is almost non-existent. Depending on the season, there are a few sandy spots along this section, but nothing serious. The final mile includes a quick steep climb, and then you pop out just above the NDOT highway maintenance station on Spooner. Note: this road is drivable with a 4WD and high clearance, so don’t be surprised if you run across motorcycles, ATVs, and Jeeps.

Finally, here’s a link to a topo map that can be enlarged even more once yo’re there by clicking a magnifier.


Marshalltown IA — Stone's Restaurant to reopen

August 26, 2009

A Lincoln Highway landmark closed the past two years is set to reopen. Eagle-eyed “Loungelistener” stopped on his cross-country LH trip to photograph the giant sign for Stone’s in Marshalltown, Iowa, and noticed activity at the closed restaurant. He took this photo and reported on his blog,

As I drove around under the viaduct, I could indeed see action at the restaurant. Workmen were busily scurring around, saws and hammers sounding out. There certainly was something going on.


Indeed, the Marshalltown Times-Republican reports that new owner Steve Badger will reopen on September 1:

“It has been a challenge because starting a restaurant is a very complex process, but you hate to see something that’s been part of the community for so long disappear.”

An aroma of baked goods will add to vintage ambiance ranging from cinnamon rolls, pies and cornbread; edibles will include soups and salads, sandwiches, steaks, fresh fish and diet-conscious or vegetarian foods. A featured entree will be pan-fried chicken – cooked in cast iron skillets — served with fresh mashed potatoes and gravy.

“We’re trying to provide something for everybody,” Badger said. “It’s traditional Midwest cooking.”

And everything will be homemade…. On whether Stone’s will serve dishes reminiscent of menu favorites, Badger said one thing is certain.

“Yes, we’re going to have the pie,” he laughed. “But it might only be a half-mile high.”

1st integrated golf course still on Lincoln Highway

August 25, 2009

OH_GolferBillPowellOhio’s Michael Hocker writes that the PGA of America’s Distinguished Service Award was presented in Minneapolis recently to PGA Life Member William Powell of East Canton, Ohio, a pioneer in diversity in the game of golf. “This is a really great unknown story — he started an integrated golf course after returning from WWII and specifically chose it to be along the Lincoln Highway.”

The PGA adds that Powell, 92, “overcame racial barriers to become the only African-American to design, build, own and operate a golf course while pioneering diversity in the game.”

“William Powell’s dream to build a golf course where players regardless of the color of their skin would be welcome was a task that he met under great duress, hardship and personal sacrifice,” said PGA of America President Jim Remy. “Yet, Mr. Powell displayed exceptional courage, grace and the finest character while persevering toward his goal of opening Clearview Golf Club….

In September 1946, while denied a G.I. Loan despite serving honorably in the U.S. Army Air Corps, Bill Powell received the financial backing of two black physicians in nearby Canton and Massillon, Ohio, to begin building a public golf course.

Clearview Golf Club remains at 8410 Lincoln Highway/Lincoln St. SE, East Canton, Ohio. It is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

OH_PGA golf award

Immerse yourself in Denny's Lincoln Highway trip

August 24, 2009

A week ago I reported on Denny’s Gibson’s blog but if you didn’t bother visiting it, go to now and spend a half hour seeing, feeling, and tasting a trip along the Lincoln Highway westward from Illinois. Make sure you click his photos to see them bigger; here are a few.

Denny_NE_CvrdWagonA real heartbreaker, the Covered Wagon attraction near Kearney, Nebraska. Someone was working on the building last year, with plans to restore the wagon and oxen, but now they look worse than ever.

Denny_WY_MedBowW Here’s a great old road segment west of Medicine Bow, Wyoming. A truck used the road while Denny was there.

Denny_UT_FisherMonumentThe pull-off has been paved and ground was recently broken for the Fisher Pass monument south of Grantsville, Utah.

3-day motor tour to cross Iowa's Lincoln Highway

August 21, 2009

The 2nd Annual Iowa Lincoln Highway Motor Tour will cross the midwestern state on August 28–30. The Friday-to-Sunday trip begins in the west at Desoto Bend and heads eastward with stops in Carroll, Jefferson, Boone, Nevada, Marshalltown, Tama, Youngville, Cedar Rapids, Mechanicsville, Lowden, and ending at Clinton. Here are some photos from the 2008 tour by Bryan Osberg.

IA_MotorTour08aABOVE: Approaching the Union Pacific Bridge via old brick section of Lincoln Highway, just past Cornell College in Mt. Vernon.

IA_MotorTour08bABOVE: The first stop on the second day was Youngville Cafe.

IA_MotorTour08cABOVE: Lunch day 3 at the Brickstreet Station in Woodbine.

Visit the Iowa LHA page for a full itinerary and more info.

More Lincoln Highway signs for Tracy, California

August 20, 2009

From the Tracy Press, a story that more Historic Lincoln Highway signs are being placed in Tracy, California.

CA_Tracy sign

On Wednesday morning, city employee affixed a Lincoln Highway sign to a metal post on westbound Byron Road just west of Corral Hollow Road, joining three signs were on 11th Street. A second new sign was placed just east of Civic Center Drive on eastbound 11th Street. LHA member Mike Kaelin said signs will soon be placed on the Old Altamont Road between Tracy and Livermore.

LHA president Bob Dieterich adds, “The credit for this belongs to Mike. He has gotten signs installed on Mountain House, Summit Garage at Altamont Pass, and Banta Inn. He has been working with local politicians and is close to agreement for signing the entire Altamont Pass Road.”

Mountain View Inn owners to raze part of hotel

August 19, 2009

Articles in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review (#2 here) and Post-Gazette report that the new owners of the Mountain View Inn plan to raze the 85-year-old portion of the historic hotel and will reopen the 59 rooms in the newer section as Mountain View Village.


The developers who bought the 14-acre site also plan a strip mall on a vacant parcel on the property with a restaurant, dry cleaner, bakery, and drive-thru restaurant.

The inn opened in 1924 along the Lincoln Highway but closed in January when the bank placed the property in foreclosure.

Ohio's BUY-WAY Yard Sale Biggest Ever

August 18, 2009

From 250 yard sales the first year, to over 1,000 individual pull-off yard sale events this (fifth) year, this seemed to be the biggest BUY-WAY Yard Sale ever. Ohio Lincoln Highway Historic Byway Director Mike Hocker noted everyone said sales were up, traffic was up, and the money was up. Small communities like Leesville, Gomer, Oceola, and Robertsville were almost wall-to-wall yard sales. Many included the wonderful aroma of hot dogs and sausages on the grill, and many had coolers of bottled water…many free for the asking. There are 39 communities across Ohio’s portion of the Lincoln Highway.


Hocker said “his year’s BUY-WAY poster child was Van Wert. They have both the Route 127 sale AND the Lincoln Highway sale in town for three days. And, it was they, themselves, who extended the invitation to the Rt. 127 folks (who had never even thought of extending their yard sale that far north before), and added fairgrounds activities–flea markets, a rib cook-off, a free concert, a cruise-in, a car show, a tractor drive, making for full hotels, happily “slammed” restaurants, busy gas stations and other retails, over 300 yard sales (many as big as 30 vendors in one stop), and called it a CROSSROADS Festival.”

Next year’s dates will be determined and announced at the end of the month. For more information, go

Updated hours at Niland's Cafe in Colo, Iowa

August 17, 2009

At least three Lincoln Highway travelers have asked recently about the operating hours at the restored Niland’s Cafe in Colo, Iowa. I reported in my new Lincoln Highway Companion book that they were closed Monday — they are, and Tuesday too.

The cool cafe is open:

Wed thru Sat, 6:30 a.m – 8:00 p.m.

Sunday, 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

Check for current hours by clicking the Reed/Niland Corner link at left, and then the cafe link. Don’t forget there are newly restored overnight rooms too.