Archive for October, 2009

Bookmobile, documentary follow Lincoln Highway

October 30, 2009

The Lincoln Highway will soon have a vintage bookmobile following the coast-to-coast road to promote and talk about books. “Behind the Wheel of the Bookmobile” is a multimedia and film project by Tom Corwin that follows the bookmobile on back roads with acclaimed authors taking turns at the wheel. At each stop the bookmobile will invite the public to take their choice of digital and analog titles in exchange for interviews about books that have changed their lives.

BookmobileRoofABOVE: On June 16, 2009, Tom Corwin celebrated when he picked up the bookmobile in Gurnee, Illinois, and met those who had cared for her.

Behind the Wheel of the Bookmobile will begin its inaugural drive in spring 2010 by following the Lincoln Highway. Authors will take turns behind the wheel, stopping in small towns and conducting interviews on the books that have changed their lives in a meaningful way.

The vehicle was built by the last manufacturer in America producing bookmobiles from the ground up. The Maroney BF-240 holds 3,200 volumes on Appalachian kiln-dried oak shelves. It was recently decommissioned by the Warren-Newport Library after 15 years and 70,000 miles of  service in suburban Chicago.

Anyone can participate in the Buy-A-Mile-Campaign for a minimum donation of $35. To donate or learn more visit

Lincoln Highway in new Transportation Museum

October 28, 2009


The Pilot News of Marshall County, Indiana, reports that Plymouth, a town along the Lincoln Highway in central Indiana, has opened a new transportation museum that includes the famed coast-to-coast road:

A ribbon-cutting ceremony Sunday marked the culmination of the efforts of many individuals, businesses, and organizations that contributed to the expansion of the Marshall County Historical Society and Museum. Welcoming the guests for the occasion was the president of the Historical Society, Dr. Ronald Liechty. Dr. Liechty explained that the process started full steam upon receiving an INDOT (Indiana Department of Transportation) grant in 2005 to open a transportation museum….

Local resident Kurt Garner was among those in the audience with deep affection for the completed project. Garner was one of several who were instrumental in formulating the original concept of the Transportation Museum highlighting the crossroads of the Dixie Highway: 1915, Yellowstone Trail: 1912-1930, Grand Army of the Republic (U.S. 6): 1931-present, Lincoln Highway: 1913-1950s, and Michigan Road: 1826-1900.

Garner said, “It is a great asset to the county. The museum will be a huge draw across the state for those interested in discovering historic routes.”

The museum is located in the Lauer Building at 123 North Michigan St., Plymouth, (574) 936-2306 or visit The above map of the town is from the LHA’s DeLorme road atlas package; click here to purchase your own — the 2007 version is on sale for $12.50, nearly 70% off while the 2010 edition is prepared.

Banta Inn has Halloween thrills year-round

October 27, 2009

Just in time for Halloween, The Oakland Tribune ran a feature on the Banta Inn, a saloon along the Lincoln Highway in the small town of Banta, near Tracy, California.


Here’s one story:

“One morning about 1:30 a.m. I saw what looked like a young woman float across the hallway from one wall into another,” said Banta Inn owner Dave Colli. “Other people have seen a little blond-haired girl, about 8 or 9, peeking in the dining room window. Even our cook has had a few encounters. One night he opened the oven and the pan came flying out at him.”…

“Something is definitely here,” Colli said. “We have had recurring dark shadows appear and then disappear. Most sightings have taken place in the evening to early-morning hours. Not only have the employees been witness to this, but we’ve also had reports from our guests.”

Stop by Saturday 9 p.m. – 1 a.m. for a Halloween party at the saloon or learn more at

Lincoln Highway plaque dedicated in Nebraska

October 26, 2009

The Columbus Telegram reported that Nebraska has a new historical marker honoring the Lincoln Highway. The marker is near the Prairie Creek Bridge at 115th Street and 355th Avenue NW of Duncan. The 1.2-mile Gardiner Station section of the Lincoln Highway and the pony-truss bridge spanning Prairie Creek were used from 1913 to 1928, before the LH was rerouted south of the Union Pacific tracks.

NE_ColumbusTelegraph plaque

The story begins with Bob and Karen Edmison, who in 2005 began the process of getting the Gardiner Station section of the Lincoln Highway listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Bob is a life-long resident of Platte County near Prairie Creek west of Duncan. He knew that the section of 115th Street, on the south side of his property along with the railroad station known as Gardiner Station, was part of the Lincoln Highway.

“Late in 2005 I contacted the Nebraska State Historical Society to ask how to get a bridge and roadway nominated for the National Historic Register,” Karen Edmison said. “I worked with the National Register Coordinator Stacy Stupka-Burda and the Nebraska State Historic Preservation Office and learned the basics of how to prepare a National Register of Historic Places nomination.”

Edmison said she submitted a rough draft of the nomination to the Nebraska State Historical Society in the spring of 2006. She said Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer L. Robert Puschendorf then took over the work using her rough draft nomination….

Puschendorf spent nearly a year completing research for the final nomination which included extensive research of Columbus Telegram archives and then submitted the nomination to the Nebraska State Historic Preservation board…. Approval from the National Park Service came in summer 2007….

Edmison said The Lincoln Highway Association, Nebraska Chapter funded the official plaque at a cost of about $2,600. She and her husband Bob provided the money for the construction of the base of the historical marker and the concrete work around it.

“Bob and Lenore Stubblefield of Shelton are very active in the Lincoln Highway Association, Nebraska Chapter,” Karen Edmison said. “They assisted with getting funding for the plaque part of the marker. The Nebraska State Historical Society and John Lindahl of the Nebraska Historical Marker Program worked with the foundry to get the marker cast.”

Learn more about the Lincoln Highway at

Penndel airplane diner restored, still not flying

October 23, 2009

Jim Payne wrote with an update on an airplane that once served as a restaurant along the Lincoln Highway in eastern Pennsylvania. “I passed by Dover [Del.] today and stopped at the Air Museum. I especially wanted to see the Lockheed Constellation that once sat atop the diner in Penndel. I passed by there after the plane had been taken down and saw it sitting in an adjacent lot with the wings off. I assumed it was going to be scrapped. I learned recently that it had been saved and restored.”


Here is one of his photos — it’s amazing to see it back as an aircraft. Thanks Jim!

More Lincoln Highway murals for Illinois

October 22, 2009

The Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition announces they have 40 murals in the works, with three already being painted – Aurora, Oregon (which was not directly on the LH), and Joliet. You can email with questions or visit for more information. Below are the plans for two of the newest.


Lincoln Highway walk continues to Lake Tahoe

October 21, 2009

Dennis Crowley just returned from walking the Lincoln Highway from Sacramento to Take Tahoe. He sent the summary below plus I’ve included some of the photos he’s posted online: the first shows him on the original 1914 pavement now on private property in Eldorado Hills.  The third photo is in the vicinity of Strawberry, Calif.

This leg into the Sierra Nevadas started with urban sprawl but soon turned to speeding traffic on the twisty, narrow, and very steep highway that often had little or no shoulder, all while Dennis pulled his 100 lb. trailer. Of course, the descent towards Nevada had its own challenges!

The words of Brian Butko summarized my last walk on the Lincoln Highway from Sacramento to Lake Tahoe far better than I ever could have: “That’s a long uphill climb!”  No truer words were ever spoken for many reasons. For reasons still unknown to me, I managed to sprain both ankles two weeks before taking on my second walk of the Lincoln Highway a few weeks ago. Thanks to taking things slow and a triple-digit heat wave in the Sacramento metro area that kept my muscles heated up when I walked, I soon found myself admiring the majestic beauty of Lake Tahoe. Besides the obvious challenge this journey was to be the first time I would use the trailer, now affectionately called, “The Man-Wagon” by my neice Amber to camp which meant being without any support vehicle for several days and pulling approx. a hundred pound load behind me. So to say, “That’s a long uphill climb” was the perfect ending and perfect summary to a journey that, in the end turned out to be a huge success.



From 1998 through 2005, Crowley walked and worked his way across America from Chicago to California on Route 66. He now calls the effort Cross Roads, “a single purpose and a simple message. By promoting America’s historic highways Cross Roads seeks to call attention to our country’s Christian heritage. The purpose for covering these highways on foot is to make the statement that America needs to return to and walk in her spiritual ‘old paths.’” He walked his first segment of the LH a year ago.

Read more at or search this site for “Crowley” to read of his Lincoln Highway adventures. To request his four email updates written as he was walking, contact Amber at

NJ-PA iron bridge celebrates 125th birthday

October 20, 2009

One of the Lincoln Highway’s most impressive bridges turns 125 years old today. New Jersey On-Line reports that the Calhoun Street Bridgethat connects Trenton, N.J., a-with Morrisville, Pa., “has not only dodged the wrecking ball but is scheduled for a major restoration next year.” The two-lane 1,274-foot-long span is the only wrought-iron bridge over the Delaware River. It is also known for having a cast-iron marker denoting the Lincoln Highway; similar ones stood at each state border.

NJ_bridge marker

The bridge was built on the original piers and abutments that were used for the first wooden span in the nontidal area of the Delaware that opened at the site in 1861. That bridge was destroyed on June 25, 1882, in one of the greatest fires the area has ever witnessed, according to historical accounts.

The privately owned Trenton City Bridge Co. announced it would replace the bridge with a wrought iron structure to be built by the Phoenix Bridge Co. of Phoenixville, Pa, the firm that also did the internal support structure for the Washington Monument in the nation’s capitol….

And after 125 years of use, engineers have determined that judging by fatigue factors; the bridge has at least another 30 years of usefulness carrying its present vehicle weight limits of 3 tons…. [An engineer] said additional factors involved in extending the usefulness of the bridge will be the restoration of the bridge’s trusses and the installation of a new flooring system consisting of high-strength galvanized steel.

Tulsa neon sign restoration an inspiration

October 19, 2009

Sometimes a story seems important enough to veer off the Lincoln Highway and onto other roads. A story in GTR Newspapers (source of the image below) about a Tex-Mex restaurant on Route 66 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and the restoration of its neon sign should serve as inspiration to any roadside business owner wondering if it’s worth investing time and money into preservation.

OK_Tulsa neon

El Rancho Grande opened at its current spot on 11th Street in 1953 and the neon sign followed soon after. While bypasses drained traffic and other businesses withered, “El Rancho Grande held on to its customer base, stayed open and is today the oldest operating restaurant along the [city’s] old Route 66 corridor.” The sign however had faded and stopped working; new owners “felt the restoration of the sign would be the icing on the cake and it would once again reach out to passing motorists that a Tulsa tradition is alive and well.”

But showing how regulations can be out of step with public opinion:

it was determined the sign would need to remain attached to the building during restoration. Taking it down would trigger city sign permit requirements that could render the old sign totally out of compliance for further use. Therefore the sign was restored in place.

Here’s hoping citry planners will be the next to realize the vcalue in preserving and restoring vintage signs and businesses.

Beloved Bon-Air Motel sign moved

October 16, 2009

Flickr friend loungelistener wrote to alert us that the Bon-Air Motel sign is no longer found at the abandoned property in central Ohio. It was a popular photo stop for those following the original Lincoln Highway through Williamstown. Here is an old photo from loungelistener; you can read others’ comments about his photo here.

OH_BonAirMotel sign

Ohio’s Milke Buettner did some sleuthing and reports the sign was acquired by the guy who has the  building on the southwest corner of the crossroads covered in old gas station signs. He adds, “In a related matter, the Eagle Creek Historical Organization will be erecting a new brick pillar at the original crossroads in Billtown (a.k.a. Williamstown)  some time in 2010.  I write about this is the most recent issue of Buckeye Ramblings.”