Archive for September, 2010

Boardwalk Empire features Lincoln HIghway sign

September 24, 2010

PBS producer Rick Sebak wrote to say that the premier of the new HBO series Boardwalk Empire, about the arrival of Prohibition and the growth of organized crime, featured a Lincoln Highway sign.

Young Al Capone was driving a load of stolen liquor to Chicago when the sign went by: “LINCOLN HIGHWAY” with “Chicago 200 Miles” just under that. It was square in shape, navy blue in color, probably metal on a roadside pole.

When the show rebroadcast, Rick took a photo of his TV screen for us! LH fans will recognize that the sign is pure fiction but is based on real-life state-line markers produced in 1917, such as this one from the LHA archives showing the border of Nebraska and Wyoming.

The ongoing adventures of Lincoln Highwayman

September 23, 2010

Don’t forget to follow Lincoln Highwayman, aka Jim Devitt, as he continues his trip westward on the Lincoln Highway. After some troubles with his Ford Model A, he’s cruising through Indiana. Follow along  at Click the image below to see LARGER the short segment of vintage Lincoln Highway located between upgraded LH (seen to the right) and US 30 (off camera to the left)

Fire levels Cheyenne's Hitching Post Inn

September 22, 2010

A beloved Lincoln Highway landmark, the Hitching Post in Cheyenne, Wyoming, has been destroyed by fire. Various newspapers covered the fire and aftermath, including an initial story by the Caspar Star Tribune.

This article in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle recalls some history:

The Hitch, as it is fondly known, started out as a small motor hotel called the Lincoln Court. Pete Smith opened it in 1927…. In 1946, the Lincoln Court became a charter member of Best Western International. In 1948, the family opened a restaurant at the hotel called the Hitching Post. As more and more rooms were added, the name stuck.

My family stayed at the Lincoln Court about 5 years ago, by then a wonderful mid-century motel, but that older portion had recently been demolished. The remaining and much larger Hitching Post maintained an Old West decor.

The newspaper reported that the motel, lounge, and restaurant served as a longtime second home for Wyoming legislators but had closed amid financial trouble last year and remained vacant. “The hotel has been undergoing extensive renovations and officials of the company that owns it say it was just weeks away from reopening…. The front lobby and an attached liquor store were destroyed.”

The city called in an ATF team of about two dozen agents to help with the investigation, and the blaze was just ruled arson but the investigation is ongoing. Most comments to articles are overwhelmingly nostalgic for what has been lost, with only a few voicing a need for modern retail there.

Thanks to loungelistener for the tip.

TV station profiles story of 1959 Iowa video

September 20, 2010

A Des Moines, Iowa, TV station picked up on the story of the 1959 film showing US 30 in Iowa. WHO-TV channel 13 filed a report centered on the complex of gas, food, and lodging at Niland’s Corner in Colo, Iowa, which is seen in a screen shot in my report of the film. Scott Berka, Colo City Clerk, who is instrumental in keeping the buildings going, is briefly interviewed at the Colo Motel, a Lincoln Highway classic!

View the video HERE. Note it starts with a brief advertisement.

Amazing 1959 film of Iowa's US 30

September 16, 2010

YOU WILL LOVE this video of central Iowa’s US 30, filmed in 1959 to show congestion and the need for road improvements. Highway Relocations was created by the Iowa State Highway Commission (ISHC), now IDOT, to show the downside of gas stations, rest stops, and the skinny two-lanes they populate. Filming started just east of State Center at the junction of Iowa 64 (now Iowa 330) and US 30 (the Lincoln Highway) and continued west along US 30 through State Center, Colo, Nevada, and Ames, ending just west of Boone. The film is 16 minutes long and covers 55 miles. {Note: Please read the comments for more info on  the cars and the year it was filmed.]

Amazingly, most of it was filmed by a camerman perched atop a ladder connected to a car and extending approximately 22 feet in the air above the roadway! The camera, on a 1958 Ford Ranch Wagon, followed and filmed a 1958 Plymouth Fury. “The unidentified cameraman had the precarious task of trying to hold the camera steady and stay on the ladder, notably without a safety harness or other protective device.”

“As part of the Iowa DOT’s effort to preserve and archive its historical resources, the original Highway Relocations 16mm film was recently professionally cleaned and restored to its original film quality.”

Lincoln & Dixie highways marker dedication

September 14, 2010

A historical marker for the Lincoln & Dixie highways will be dedicated on Saturday, October 2, 2010, at 10:00 a.m. EDT at the southwest corner of Washington and Michigan streets in South Bend, Indiana. All are invited to join a reception and program immediately following at the American Trust Place – Blue Gallery, 101 N. Michigan St. The marker notes the significance of the Lincoln Highway (Washington St.) and Dixie Highway (Michigan St.) intersecting at this corner.

Please RSVP to Joyce Chambers (574) 272-5374 by September 27. Parking is available on the street or behind the American Trust Place. Enter through Woodward Court on Colfax Street between Michigan and Main Streets

This marker is made possible through the Indiana Historical Bureau in collaboration with the GFWC/IFC Progress Club of South Bend, Indiana Lincoln Highway Association, and the City of South Bend.

You too can race at the Bonneville Salt Flats

September 9, 2010

PBS producer Rick Sebak passes on a reminder of a one-a year opportunity September 15-18, 2010. From a release: “Call it a hunch, but you’ve long suspected that when it’s really on the line, you could race a motorized bar stool across some salt flats faster than anyone. And soon, you’ll have your chance to prove it. Once a year, the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association puts on a crazy drag race between old VW vans, go-karts and, if you insist, regular old race cars.” Read more online at the Utah Salt Flats Racing Association and check out photos of past events.

"Traveling the Lincoln Highway" in Plainfield

September 7, 2010

“Traveling the Lincoln Highway” will be presented tonight at the Plainfield Public Library by Dave Clark, known to Route 66 fans for his Windy City tours and books. “Travel back in time as you take a virtual tour of the first automobile trail marked from coast-to-coast. The story of the Lincoln Highway combines nostalgia and history highlighting modern sites in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa.” A display on the Lincoln Highway is set upon on the library’s main floor. The library is at 15025 S. Illinois St. Plainfield, (815) 436-6639 or

Edison Tower restoration continues in NJ

September 2, 2010

Al Pfingstl sent an update on the Edison Tower in Edison, New Jersey, the site of the inventor’s Menlo Park laboratory. It’s part of the 36-acre Edison State Park, which is also being rejuvenated to include a newly constructed museum (replacing a tiny one from 1947) and outdoor interpretive exhibits.

The building contractor has begun interior demolition. The old baseboard electrical heaters, some of which were almost falling off the wall, are being replaced. The original 1940s Men’s and Ladies’ rooms, neither of which met modern requirements for handicapped accessibility, are being gutted. By redesigning the restroom entrance location, architect Alice Deupree with the Jersey City firm of LWDMR & Associates PC, has combined the two original restrooms into one accessible unisex restroom. The existing floor is being removed for replacement with new flooring material.

However, an even newer update on the web site notes the uncovering of asbestos.

Built in 1937, the Edison Tower now suffers from crumbling concrete and was named by Preservation New Jersey as one of New Jersey’s Ten Most Endangered historic resources. Since 2006, over $3 million has been raised towards the Tower restoration and a new museum. One side of the park fronts the Lincoln Highway/NJ 27 but the tower and museum are accessed via Christie Street. Learn more about them at (source of the image below).