Posts Tagged ‘California’

Driving the Lincoln Highway in 1919 ~ part 10, “Don’t wish this trip on your grandchildren!”

August 10, 2018

As our journey alongside Beatrice Massey comes to an end, she has a few words of wisdom for transcontinental travelers who might follow:

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Lincoln Park, 1920. This bronze of Rodin’s The Three Shades was installed in 1920; it now resides inside the museum. [University of Michigan–Special Collections Library, lhc0140]


“Yes, this was indeed ‘the end of the road,’ with all of California yet to see. We had traversed the continent from the Atlantic to the Pacific without an accident or a day’s illness, and with only two punctures! We look back on comparatively few discomforts, and many, many pleasures and thrilling experiences, with keen satisfaction.

“Unless you really love to motor, take the Overland Limited. If you want to see your country, to get a little of the self-centered, self-satisfied  Eastern hide rubbed off, to absorb a little of the fifty-seven (thousand) varieties of people and customs, and the alert, open-hearted, big atmosphere of the West, then try a motor trip. You will get tired, and your bones will cry aloud for a rest cure; but I promise you one thing—you will never be bored! No two days were the same, no two views were similar, no two cups of coffee tasted alike. In time—in some time to come—the Lincoln Highway will be a real transcontinental boulevard. But don’t wish this trip on your grandchildren!”

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Muddy roads in Indiana, just before work on the Ideal Section was started in 1920. [University of Michigan–Special Collections Library, lhc2806]

Driving the LH in 1919 ~ part 9, Pacific Ocean

August 9, 2018

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO

It’s early September, 1919, and our cross-country travelers have finally reached San Francisco. The LHA had aimed to complete improving and marking its highway for the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in 1915; just four years later, almost nothing remained of that grand world’s fair.

However, one odd connection to the fair remains: the California Palace of the Legion of Honor (now simply The Legion of Honor Museum) famously marking the end of the Lincoln Highway is a full-scale replica of the French Pavilion from the 1915 Expo, which itself was a 3/4-scale version of the Palace of the Legion of Honor in Paris.

And now back to Beatrice Massey and her book, It Might Have Been Worse: A Motor Trip from Coast to Coast:

“The next day we were in the thick of the whirl. I did not consider our trip really ended until we stood on the sands of the Pacific. We motored through the city, out to the former Exposition grounds, where but a few buildings were left standing, and to the Presidio, one of the oldest military stations in our country, embracing an area of 1542 acres, overlooking the harbor….

“Driving through Lincoln Park, we entered Golden Gate Park, covering 1013 acres, with hundreds of varieties of plant life from all parts of the world, artificial lakes, boulevards, and the gorgeous flowers for which California is famed….

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The third and current Cliff House, built 1909. [NPR]

“The park extends to the Ocean Beach Boulevard, on the edge of the sands, where the breakers come bounding in against the Seal Rocks and the high promontory on which the Cliff House stands. The water is cold, and a dangerous undertow makes bathing unsafe, but the shore is lined with cars; hundreds of people and children are on the sand, and the tame sea-gulls are walking on the street pavement very much like chickens.

“We went up to the historic Cliff House, the fourth of the name to be built on these rocks. Since 1863, the millionaires of this land and the famous people of the world have dined here, watching the sea-lions play on the jagged reefs. It is closed now, and looks as deserted as any of the tumble-down old buildings which surround it.”

The Cliff House was actually just the third, opened in 1909. It was closed in 1918 after a government order halted sale of liquor “within a half mile of military installations,” soon to be followed by Prohibition. Nonetheless that same building still greets tourists to this day.

Driving the LH in 1919 ~ part 8, California

June 26, 2018

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO

Our cross-country travelers of 1919 approach the West Coast, as recounted in the book It Might Have Been Worse:

“Beyond Reno the ascent of the Sierra Nevada begins, and you pass Lake Tahoe, six thousand feet high, the most delightful summer-resort region in America. The Lincoln Highway joins the other routes here, and is really a highway, making a glorious finish in Lincoln Park, San Francisco. One of the finest views is the mighty canyon of the American River, with the  timbered gorge and the rushing stream two thousand feet below. You are held spellbound by the scenery, as you descend the western slope to Sacramento, the capital of California, 125 miles from San Francisco….

“With four hundred miles of navigable waterways, transportation facilities are exceptional, and it is small wonder these valleys of the Sacramento and the San Joaquin are the banner ‘growing section’ of the state. It was like driving through a private estate all the way to Oakland, where our first view of glorious San Francisco harbor greeted us. Oakland and Berkeley, ‘the bedrooms’ of San Francisco (as a prominent banker explained to us), are on the east shores of the bay. On the front of the City Hall in Oakland (which, by the  way, we were told is the tallest building in California) was the sign, typical of these open-hearted people, ‘Howdy, Boys!’ (to the returning soldiers) in place of the proverbial ‘Welcome.’…

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“Road near Oakland, California,” c. 1920. [University of Michigan–Special Collections Library, lhc0022]

“We were landed at the ferry slip, and with a sensation never to be forgotten we drove off the wharf into San Francisco — ‘the city loved around the world’ — built upon hills overlooking the expanse of the Pacific, with a cosmopolitan throng of half a million people. We could not  have reached here at a more fortunate or auspicious time. San Francisco was en-fete in honor of the fleet. Every street and building was festooned with flags, banners, and garlands of flowers…. Bands were playing, auto-horns were tooting, and the air was alive with excitement — joyous, over-bubbling pleasure, that had to find a vent or blow up the place….

“The next day the Transcontinental Government Motor Convoy arrived, which added to the celebration that lasted a week. It had come over the Lincoln Highway, with every conceivable experience; the gallant young officer in command, Lieutenant-Colonel Charles McClure, told us at dinner the next evening that ‘Our worst experiences were in the desert. The sand was so  deep and the trucks were so heavy that at times we only made a mile an hour. When one got stuck, the men cut the sagebrush and filled the ruts, and then we were able to crawl.’ The city gave them an ovation, and “dined” them as well — and doubtless would have liked to have ‘Vined’ them also.”

EL Cerrito photo shows pre-Lincoln Hwy business

March 12, 2012

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
The El Cerrito (California) Patch publishes monthly updates from the El Cerrito Historical Society. This month features a look at the early days of San Pablo Avenue, which served as the Lincoln Highway after the route was moved in 1928 to the northerly path between San Francisco and Sacramento.

The community was originally called Rust for Wilhelm Rust, whose blacksmith shop was on San Pablo Avenue at was is now the intersection of Fairmount Avenue. The area became El Cerrito in 1917 when the city was incorporated. The above view of the shop — before the Lincoln Highway and even autos came through — is looking west across San Pablo from Fairmount. Rust’s wife Lina sits in the carriage with Wilhelm to our right of her. Photo courtesy of Louis L. Stein, El Cerrito Historical Society collection.

California Lincoln Highway history recalled

January 2, 2012

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
The El Cerrito [Calif.] Patch ran an article by Rich Bartke, president of the El Cerrito Historical Society, about the Lincoln Highway. The story concentrates on the San Pablo Avenue, the main artery through El Cerrito, about 10 miles north of Oakland. Early local history is recounted along with Lincoln Highway milestones. The historical society is considering the purchase of two or four new Lincoln Highway signs to identify San Pablo Avenue as a portion of The Lincoln Highway. In 1926, Bartke’s father drove the entire cross-country route in a Model T and snapped the photo below.

Duarte's Lincoln Highway Garage owner passes

December 15, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
Mike Kaelin of Tracy, Calif., sends word that Francis (Frank) H. Duarte, 96, passed away on Nov. 22, 2011. He was the last business owner of the iconic Duarte’s Lincoln Highway Garage in Livermore. Frank was born in 1915, the year of the Pan-Pacific International Expo in San Francisco, a prime destination that year for Lincoln Highway travelers. Coincidently, the California LHA Chapter is planning its Winter meeting at Duarte’s Garage on Jan. 7, 2012.


Frank had bought and managed Duarte’s Garage after his discharge from the Army Air Corps in 1945. he had already worked there for his father, Frank, since 1934, then enlisted as an aircraft mechanic in 1939. He is survived by two nieces. Services on Dec. 14 were private, and Frank was interred at St.Michael Cemetery in Livermore. Donations in his name may be made to the Duarte Garage Museum, now operated by the Livermore Heritage Guild. Learn more about the garage and museum at www.livermorehistory.com/.

Blogging the Lincoln Highway in NV and UT

November 17, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
I’ve been following a fantastic blog for a couple weeks. Grover Cleveland — his real name — writes “Camera and Pencil in the Mountains” that details his travels in the Sierra Nevada range. Last year he bought a 1919 Model T Ford roadster and converted it into a pickup truck. He’s hoping to follow a good portion for the Lincoln Highway centennial in 2013.

He told me, “I just completed a 1,500-mile trip in Nevada and western Utah. I covered as much of the 1913 alignment as could be found from Verdi, Nevada to Tooele, Utah.” He writes online that he wants to help fellow travelers: “To provide travel notes, recommendations, and some serious safety information. I got in trouble because I didn’t heed some professional advice — you shouldn’t have to.”

For this trip, he loaded his dog Beasley into a 1989 Tiger van: “A conversion on an Astrovan chassis, nicely equipped with kitchen, bathroom, a pop-top, and oodles of radio gear (I’m a ham radio operator – K7TP).”

Click the images here to see Grover’s large originals. Then follow his adventures at sierratraveler.wordpress.com/.

Order Lincoln Highway Companion from Amazon – click HERE

Long-time LH fan and researcher Norm Root

September 29, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
Long-time LH fan and activist Norm Root has passed away. As reported on a CaringBridge site his family set up, he was diagnosed with a terminal illness just last month. Norm was a Caltrans employee and dedicated preservationist and researcher who helped me with information and images for my Lincoln Highway books.

Gloria Scott, Chief of the Built Environment Preservation Services Branch at Caltrans, commented: “If there is anyone who would be considered the Caltrans ‘Historic Roads God,’ it was Norm—especially for the Lincoln Highway. And Route 66, with his New Mexico roots.”

Read more about Norm or leave a tribute at www.caringbridge.org/visit/normanroot/.

UPDATE: Gloria Scott sends news that a memorial will be held at Northminster Presbyterian Church on Saturday, October 15 at 2 pm. Gifts to honor Norman may be made to: Norman Root Youth Mission and Camp Fund, Northminster Presbyterian Church, 3235 Pope Ave., Sacramento, CA 95821. Read more at www.legacy.com/.

Denny's Lincoln Highway adventures continue

July 5, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
Make sure you keep following Denny Gibson’s blog after the first day he hits the Lincoln Highway (his Day 9). Click HERE to continue with Day 10. Highlights include encountering snow at Donner Summit (note the LH “Subway” beneath the railroad overpass just left of center) and an adventurous ride along the sometimes perilous Kings Canyon Road (on a tour led by Nevada LHA director Jim Bonar).
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Denny Gibson's new Lincoln Highway adventure

June 29, 2011

LINCOLN HIGHWAY NEWS IS A BLOG BY BRIAN BUTKO
We’re once again lucky to have Denny Gibson traveling and documenting part of the Lincoln Highway, this time some of the roads to and from the 2011 LHA conference in Lake Tahoe. You can follow his adventures beginning at www.dennygibson.com/lhfest11/day09/index.htm when he visits bits of the Lincoln in Utah. He starts with the beautiful little Lambs Canyon bridge (below). Then it’s across the Utah desert (below #2) and into Nevada.

At the conference, participants rode the old road at Clarksville, Cal., in Model A Fords (below). We’ll save more for our next blog entry….