Archive for January, 2011

Offbeat 1917 LH brochure touts water fountain

January 27, 2011

A brochure scanned and online for free download touts a Lincoln Highway water fountain design that was to be placed from coast to coast. Also proposed were cement tourist cabins to be built resembling Abraham Lincoln’s log cabin. Both ideas intended to honor the slain President. A map shows the “Reno Branch” of the LH from Reno, Nevada to … Los Angeles!

42N visits Lincoln Highway in Linn County, IA

January 14, 2011

Our friend David Chase has a couple beautiful photos on his 42N blog taken along the original Lincoln Highway in Linn County, Iowa. Travelers can veer off the paved Lincoln Highway onto a gravel road to find an iron bridge and farm buildings. Check out the other barn here, and make sure to click them to see the images in beautiful large format:

Repairs planned for Tama LH bridge after mishap

January 10, 2011

The Tama-Toledo News reports that the most famous Lincoln Highway bridge — in Tama, Iowa — was hit recently by farm equipment, damaging one of the concrete rails which spell out “Lincoln Highway” and causing $1,500 damage.

In evaluating this damage, Schoonover Tuckpointing, Vinton, also found areas where cement is “spalling” – breaking up, flaking or pitting concrete. In addition, cracks caused by settling were also found. Total cost of these repairs and some spot painting was set at $4,382.

Mayor Chris Bearden urged city council members Monday night to approve the repairs. “The bridge is the only one in the country”, Bearden said. “It needs to be in top shape for the 150th anniversary (of Tama coming up in 2012.)”…. Tama’s bridge under went a renovation in 2006 costing $10,675 according to City Clerk Judy Welch.

The council also approved the purchase of seven new Lincoln Highway banners to replace ones street commissioner Stuart Eisentrager said are faded and showing signs of aging due to weather exposure. The new banners cost $153 each or a total of $1,071 plus shipping. The old banners will be offered for sale by the city with the sale procedure to be announced.

Familiar bypass problem for Tama-Toledo, Iowa

January 6, 2011

Anyone who has seen the Pixar movie Cars — or thought for a moment about how roads have changed over the past half-century — knows that bypasses around towns have a tremendous impact on traffic patterns. The latest to experience this shift are Tama and Toledo on the Lincoln Highway in Iowa. As reported by the Cedar Rapids Gazette, the 7,500 vehicles that daily went through the towns on U.S. 30 have been reduced to a trickle since a bypass opened. Motels and restaurants such as the King Tower Restaurant, below, are feeling the impact.

Since acquiring the local landmark eight years ago, Kristy Tovar has made a decent living running the King Tower Restaurant on the east side of Tama. Since the $82 million bypass opened, though, King Tower is no longer visible from the highway. Tovar’s anything but confident about the restaurant’s future.

“I never really thought that having this highway change would make that much difference, because most of our customers were local. I’d probably say business has been cut at least in half or more,” she said….

Since the days when it was known as the Lincoln Highway, Highway 30 has been the lifeblood of Tama-Toledo. Visitors recall the distinctive Indian head souvenirs sign at King Tower, which has been open since 1937, and the Lincoln Highway bridge that was an early architectural feature of the first transcontinental highway….

Brad Crawford is manager of the 54-year-old Big T Maid-Rite in Toledo. He said rumors are already flying about big restaurant chains like McDonald’s snapping up the good real estate along the bypass to open new restaurants.

Crawford is saving to buy a service sign on the bypass, but the cost will cut into funds he’d otherwise spend to advertise in the local newspaper and high school yearbook.

Vandals cut down Shoe Tree in Nevada

January 5, 2011

The famous (and world’s largest) Shoe Tree along the Lincoln Highway at Middlegate, Nevada, was cut down overnight last Thursday. The 70-foot cottonwood towered over U.S. 50 about 125 miles east of Reno. A gallery of photos such as the ones here can be found on Flickr.

According to the Lahontan Valley News, there are no suspects or motives:

There are a lot of angry people,” said Middlegate bartender Travis Anderton, describing the reaction from his customers. “That (the tree) helps out business. People come out to see the Shoe Tree.”… Anderton’s grandmother, Fredda Stevenson, is planning a memorial at the site of the tree on Feb. 13 from 2:30-5:30 p.m. The destruction of the Shoe Tree bothers Stevenson, who bought the Middlegate Bar and Restaurant 26 years ago. “I watched it grow up as a little tree,” said Stevenson, who has lived in the area for more than 40 years.

“We cried. It’s like losing a member of the family,” she said.

Rick Gray, executive director of the Fallon Convention and Tourism Authority, is another person who is outraged and hopes authorities can tie the loose ends together in finding the culprit or culprits.

“It was a quirky landmark on the Loneliest Road in America,” he said.

Click HERE for a page full of fond recollections. Note that comments on one of the news stories also included this viewpoint:

“That used to be a beautiful shade tree in the middle of the desert. It has since become an eyesore with all those stinky shoes hanging in it. An Historical landmark? Give me a break!… Good riddance to an ugly dead tree.”

Thanks to Loungelistener and Denny Gibson for the tip.