Naming the Lincoln Highway

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO

Credit for naming the Lincoln Highway often goes to LHA president Henry Joy, a fan of the sixteenth president, but a Colorado woman had the idea first. Frances McEwen Belford met Abraham Lincoln in 1860, when she was 21, and never forgot the man whom she called the “greatest American.” In September 1911, Belford proposed a coast-to-coast highway named for Lincoln, one year before Carl Fisher suggested his idea.

In August 1912—still a month before Fisher gathered his automotive industry friends to propose “coast-to-coast rock highway”—she had a bill introduced in Congress “establishing the Lincoln memorial highway from Boston, Mass., to San Francisco, Cal.” The bill died, but Belford did not give up, nor did she forget; years later, she wrote to Henry Joy, reminding him of who had thought of the name first. He admitted that she was first, but that “it takes more than sentiment to build a highway.” ~ from my book Greetings from the Lincoln Highway, now in its revised 3rd edition.

More info about Greetings and all my books can be found at www.brianbutko.com/books

A number of cards were produced as the Lincoln Highway was being planned, none of which shows the final route of the Colorado Loop. The publisher of this card pictured Colorado’s 1912 Lincoln Memorial Highway at Ute Pass, west of Colorado Springs. ~Postard courtesy Russell Rein.

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