Archive for April, 2010

Fort Bridger's Lincoln Highway bridge doomed

April 30, 2010

The Bridger Valley Pioneer reported today on a public WYDOT meeting held April 27 at the Fort Bridger State Museum regarding an 80-year-old Lincoln Highway bridge that is becoming a danger.

The Blacks Fork Bridge on County Road 221, north of Fort Bridger, or the Lincoln Highway Bridge, is structurally unsound and can’t be brought up to safety standards without being removed and replaced….

Julie Francis, WYDOT archeologist, said the bridge was a concrete T-girder bridge built in 1921 under Federal Aid Project 17. The bridge was typical of bridges built at that period. The bridge included two spans so it was 160 feet long and 18.4 feet wide. She said there were also 3.5 miles of Lincoln Highway roadwork completed as part of the same project. She said the construction of the present bridge replaced a timber trestle bridge.

Ternderloin site visits Lincoln Highway drive-in

April 28, 2010

Lincoln Highway fans may be aware that ephemera expert and historian Russell Rein also loves tracking down good stops for pork tenderloin sandwiches. The newest post from a blog called Des Loines (devoted exclusively to tenderloin sandwiches) reviews the food and ambiance of the Dairy Mart along the Lincoln in Glidden, Iowa (east of Carroll), easily spotted by the big rooster by the side of the road.

The Dairy Mart is a well-maintained and classic-looking ice-cream stand beside the Lincoln Highway. The tenderloin is homemade, but not really anything special. This place is worth stopping in for the Ice-Cream or other menu items.


The owner takes good care of this place to keep it looking like a classic Lincoln Highway stop for food and ice-cream. The inside is a little cramped with smaller tables and seats, but that is just how authentic roadside places are.

Dairy Mart is at 325 E 9th St./US 30.

San Fran diner in family 73 years facing changes

April 19, 2010

The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that Louis’ Restaurant, an old-style diner overlooking the Pacific Ocean at San Francisco, is facing an interesting dilemma. The popular restaurant is west of the Lincoln Highway terminus but has been passed for 73 years by those finishing their cross-country adventure by continuing on to the Cliff House or the ocean itself. The business is run by the descendants of founder Louis Hontalas, but a 1998 congressional edict requires the landowner, the National Park Service, to put out for bid concessions with revenues of more than $500,000. The Hontalas family will have to bid against other people and corporations for the right to keep their own restaurant.

The origins of the place go back to Valentine’s Day 1937, when Tom’s grandfather and grandmother, Helen Hontalas, opened the restaurant on Point Lobos Avenue. They were Greek immigrants struggling to make it during the Great Depression.

Louis’ was a tiny place then, built out of what had once been a covered wooden walkway leading from a streetcar barn to the famous Sutro Baths. The land at that time was owned by the nephew of Adolph Sutro….

In 1948, the adjacent streetcar barn burned down, severely damaging the restaurant. Louis and Helen rebuilt the cafe….

Louis died in 1972, and one year later the land was incorporated into the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Louis’ son, Jim, remodeled the place in 1974 even though there was no guarantee that the lease would be renewed….

Whoever leases the place will also have to build a second exit, make the restaurant fire- safe and do other renovations to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The work will ultimately cost at least $500,000, Hontalas said.

Pollardville roadside attraction demolished in CA

April 16, 2010

A colorful roadside attraction along the Lincoln Highway in western California is finally being demolished after closing in 2007.

The Lodi News-Sentinel reports that Pollardville, “once home to staged gunfights, Vaudeville plays and juicy fried chicken, was systematically demolished Tuesday morning.” The site included a ghost town that featured the set of the 1957 film “The Big Country,” with actors portraying bank robbers and sheriffs, the Pollardville Palace Showboat Dinner Theater, and the Chicken Kitchen, formerly the Polynesian-themed Islander Restaurant from Stockton.

The odors from the machine’s diesel engine served as a sharp contrast to the former aromas of mashed potatoes and comfort food Pollardville’s restaurants were once known for. The creaking of the structures collapsing was balanced by the sound of the cars quickly zipping past on Highway 99

Only hint of good news?? The company that handled the demolition said the 50-foot Pollardville sign will remain  until someone buys the property and decides what to do with it.

Ship Hotel / Lincoln Highway book reviewed

April 13, 2010

Still trying to catch up, and here’s one exciting reason I’m behind — my new book on the Ship Hotel is out and I’ve arranged some signings. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette just published a very nice feature review about the book and of the Ship itself.

Mural for Army's Transcontinental Motor Convoy

April 7, 2010

Here’s a story from Sauk Valley Newspapers (Dixon-Sterling, IL), April 6, 2010:

DIXON – The City Council on Monday approved two lease agreements for painting a mural that will be at Galena and River roads. The mural, part of a series of Lincoln Highway Association projects, will re-create members of the first Army Transcontinental Motor Convoy lunching on the lawn of the Old Lee County Courthouse.

“That’s going to be a really nice mural,” Mayor Jim Burke said.
He appointed a three-person committee 6 months ago to work with the Lincoln Highway Association.

One lease agreement calls for the mural to be painted on the Pattie Hummel Photography and Dixon Tourism building at 106 W. River St. The other is for use of adjacent property on Galena Avenue during the mural’s painting.

“We want it up by the Fourth of July, and even June,” Burke said, adding that Lincoln Highway Association members will be in Dixon June 22-26 for their national conference.
In July 1919, the Army convoy made a historic cross-country trek from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco. It stopped in Dixon for lunches made by residents, according to the Dixon Telegraph’s archives of July 22, 1919.

Back from trip; Ship Hotel book signings set

April 5, 2010

My 10-day trip south was fun but left no time for blog updates. Lots to catch up on including the scheduling of three signings of my new book, The Ship Hotel: A Grand View along the Lincoln Highway.

FRI, April 16, 7–8:30 pm: B&N Waterfront, Homestead PA

SAT, April 17, 10–Noon: Coffee Bean coffeehouse, 5345 Rt 30, across from Westmoreland Mall, Greensburg PA

SAT, April 17, 2:30–4 pm: newly restored Union Hotel, 128 E. Main St., Everett PA

The non-profit Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor is coordinating the two on Saturday and will have books available for purchase with cash or check. Coffee mugs and t-shirts featuring vintage pictures of the Ship Hotel will also be for sale along with my other books on the Lincoln Highway and roadside attractions.  Sales benefit the non-profit LHHC.