Lincoln Highway on Belle Plaine, Iowa, mural

Van & Bev Becker wrote to say that Belle Plaine, Iowa, hopes to encourage tourism by promoting the Lincoln Highway and its importance to the town. Artists have been commissioned to paint historic scenes on local structures. The Beckers sent the photo below of a mural on the outside of the history museum at the corner of 12th St. & 9th Ave.

A word about the dates 1913 through 1937 that were used in the caption at the bottom of the mural.  The 1913 date is of course of the beginning of the Lincoln Highway; however, the 1937 date includes the early years when the Lincoln Highway was designated as US 30.  Early highway planners routed travelers miles to the south into the city of Belle Plaine to avoid the steep and muddy “Bohemie Alps.”  By the late ’30s, highway building techniques, including cut and fill, allowed the then-Highway 30 to run straight west through the extremely hilly region east of Tama, resulting in Belle Plaine being bypassed.  This new route straight through the Bohemie Alps is the road you will drive today if you follow Highway 30 between Cedar Rapids and Tama.

So the mural portrays the 1913 route through the terrain it was, in reality, avoiding.

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