1919 Ohio route change got people talking

How many of you got to visit at least part of the Lincoln Highway Buy-Way event this past weekend? Write and tell us about it!! Mike Hocker, executive director of the Ohio Lincoln Highway Historic Byway and director of that state’s Buy-Way event, sent the following article that shows the struggle over routing the LH. Nancy Everly actually found the article in the The Crestline Advocate, July 10, 1919, while researching her forthcoming book on Leesville, and Nancy Hocker transcribed it.


Residents of the Western Part of the County are Scrapping Over the Much Talked of Lincoln Highway

From Bucyrus west to Oceola and Nevada the residents of the county are having much ado about the route of the Lincoln Highway. The original route of the Highway was to go from Bucyrus to Upper Sandusky through Nevada but the Crawford county improvement has gone by was of Oceola, which seems to be a straighter road.

As a national advertisement the Lincoln Highway is considerable institution but in reality it cannot be considered seriously. As it is laid out at present it will never be a monument to good road building. For instance, Wayne County is now closing the gap by improving the Highway from the present end of the brick road five miles west of Wooster to the Ashland county line. In order to do this the Highway leaves the main east and west road about six miles west of Wooster and takes a crooked and circuitous route over through Ashland and then back to Mansfield. No one will ever be able to give a good reason for such a route when the Highway could be laid out over the straight road from Wooster to Mansfield, a safer, prettier and shorter route.’ Coming into Mansfield on Fourth street the Highway takes a snake like course through that city and thence by way of a longer and more dangerous route through Richland and Crawford counties and another snake-like route through the city of Bucyrus. If the Highway is really supposed to be the most direct route from coast to coast it would leave Mansfield on Fourth street, the same street on which it enters, proceed right west to Bucyrus on a straight line and enter the latter city on the same street by which it leaves, Mansfield street. An improved road from coast to coast by the shortest and most direct route through the country would stand forever as a monument to the cause of good roads – an incentive for all time to active construction and maintenance of better roads. But the Lincoln Highway does not fulfill this mission and it will never be the great institution which good roads enthusiasts from coast to coast hoped it would be.

The Bucyrus Forum makes the following remarks concerning the changing of the courses of the Highway we of Bucyrus:
The Lincoln Highway board in Nevada has received notice from the Lincoln Highway Association to put up markers and detour signs along the old Nevada road from Bucyrus to Nevada. The signs are being put up.

In the word which was sent to the Nevada board, it was stated that the signs would be necessary to accommodate the United States government motor transport corps which is scheduled to come through over the Lincoln Highway. The motor transport corps left Washington and is scheduled to stop over in Bucyrus, making this a night stop about the 16th or 17th of this month.

While there has been some contention over the routing of the Lincoln Highway from Bucyrus to Nevada, this is the first evidence of any official action upon the part of the Lincoln Highway Association in selecting the road. Nevada men feel that this indicates that it is the intention of the war department engineers to use the original route through Nevada. Quoting from a letter recently received by Dr. S. S. Barrett, as chairman of the board at Nevada from H. C. Osterman, Nevada men feel confident of their case. The letter says in part:

“After full investigation by the army engineers and the Lincoln Highway Association,” Osterman says:  “The official Lincoln Highway route from Upper Sandusky to Bucyrus is by the way of Nevada, almost parallel with the Pennsylvania railroad, and will not be changed.”

As the route was originally laid out over the Nevada-Bucyrus and not the Oceola-Bucyrus road, this letter is taken to indicate that there is no question that it will be the official route. The change was asked for by parties desiring it to go over the Oceola road, it was stated.

A. F. Bennett, vice president of the Lincoln Highway Association, in a letter to the Nevada board, says: “It is distinctly against the policy of the association to make a change in the route of the Lincoln Highway. The army engineers in connection with the routing of the trans-continental motor convoy through Ohio requested that the route of the Lincoln Highway be removed from Forest, Dunkirk, Ada and Lima, to the route following directly west from Upper Sandusky through Williamstown and Beaver Dam and West Cairo to a junction with the Lincoln Highway west of Gomer. The directors of the Lincoln Highway Association have authorized this change.

Consul Pontius of Upper Sandusky has removed the signs to the new route as instructed.

The Nevada board plans to place the signs as requested to enter Nevada over the old route of the Lincoln Highway.

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