Posts Tagged ‘celebration’

Lincoln Highway Dedicated 100 years ago tonight!

October 31, 2013

The Lincoln Highway was dedicated on October 31, 1913 — 100 years ago tonight. Bonfires, parades, concerts, and speeches were held all along the coast-to-coast route on Halloween.

West of Chambersburg, Pa., Shatzer’s Fruit Market (2197 Lincoln Way West) has been serving the public since 1933. Outside is one of the decorated fiberglass pumps sponsored by the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor along with one of LHHC’s interpretive panels. ~ Photo by Brian Butko, October 2007.

Have you wondered if there was any significance, or is the date a coincidence? Most likely, the LHA’s directors chose it knowing it was a time for public celebrations. The U.S. was just beginning to celebrate Halloween in 1913 but there was a centuries-old tradition of bonfires, parades, and dressing up on All Hallows’ Eve that recent immigrants had brought here. LHA leaders were masters at harnessing public relations, and what better date to choose for fanciful nighttime celebrations than the one day a year that such activities already took place?

The San Francisco Chronicle (October 26, 1913) reported, “It is the idea of the boosters of the transcontinental motorway that the dedication be a sort of spontaneous expression of gratification and it has been left to each city and town along the route of the proposed highway to devise and carry out its own plan of celebration.”

On the 31st, the Chronicle added, “The exercises will be a fitting Halloween celebration, but overshadowing all the goblins and ghosts of the evening there will be the spirit of the great national boulevard.”

In the dedication proclamation from Wyoming, Governor Joseph Carey stated, “It is thought especially fitting that on the evening of October 31st there should be an old-time jollification to include bonfires and general rejoicing; this for the purpose of impressing upon the people and especially the younger generation-the services and unselfish life of Lincoln, and for the further purpose of painting a big picture so far as amusements are concerned of the highway which is to cross our state.”

Some of that wording likely came from an LHA press release, as an article in the November 1 Salt Lake Tribune noted it had been “the request of the directors of the Lincoln Highway to make October 31 an evening of general rejoicing.”

And so the Lincoln Highway was dedicated that night 100 years ago in a spirit of pride and optimism. May we do the same for the coming century.

Nevada, Iowa announces 2008 Lincoln Hwy Days

March 3, 2008

The interestingly named town of Nevada, Iowa, will celebrate its 25th annual Lincoln Highway Days this August 22, 23, and 24, 2008. Info for the coming year will soon be posted on The event usually includes a carnival, dance, rodeo, and a big parade.


Nevada is east of Ames and just west of the popular Niland’s Cafe/Colo Motel. The original Lincoln Highway Day in October 1983 was actually called the Old 30 celebration to coincide with the completion of a railroad overpass west of Nevada.

Clarence Iowa events tied to Lincoln Highway

January 16, 2008

Clarence Iowa has found that the Lincoln Highway is a route to getting things done. The Clarence Lincoln Highway Committee was founded in 1997 by local businesses and citizens to organize a fun summer fund-raiser for community projects. Their efforts have expanded to many other projects, and this year, the group took over the town’s Christmas festival.

Bad weather delayed the fun one day to December 2, but it was well attended. Businesses contributed generously, such as Kelly Tree Farm, which gave evergreens to line the streets, and individuals baked lots of desserts for a Cookie Walk, with all proceeds benefiting the 2009 Clarence Sesquicentennial Community Projects. The Tipton Conservative covered the event in advance.

IA_Clarence752 trees
A portion of the Festival of Trees display from Christmas in Clarence.

The summer event, the Clarence Lincoln Highway Festival, is still their major effort, which we’ll report on separately. Jen VanOort, editor/designer of the Clarence Community Newsletter and webmaster for, says, “The festival went along at a quiet but profitable pace for many years until two years ago when new leadership was established and the festival really blossomed into an exciting, fun, well-attended event for the entire area, and was even mentioned in the Chicago Tribune.”

IA_Clarence757 movie
Clarence children enjoying a movie before Santa arrives.

Other plans for the future include a farmers’ market, downtown streetscaping, façade improvements, and concerts and ice cream socials in the downtown park. Jen says, “Keep your eye on Clarence! We have big plans! The funny thing is, our leader, Jamie Wilhau is not native to Clarence or even Iowa, but she feels so passionately about this town, its history, and its potential that she is infectious! Together, we dream up a lot of ideas!”

Jen adds that Clarence is special to highway fans too. “We have the distinction of being one of the only communities left in Iowa with the Lincoln Highway as our main street! No bypass yet … although they are threatening that in the future”

100th Ball Drop Marks New Year in Times Square

January 1, 2008

More than a million people filled Times Square, the eastern terminus of the Lincoln Highway, to celebrate the new year with the 100th drop of a giant lit ball. An all-new version features 9,576 light-emitting diodes behind 625 triangular Waterford crystals and aluminum frame. At 11:59 pm, December 31, the ball dropped down a 77-foot pole in 60 seconds atop 1 Times Square (not to street level). Here’s a video of it being assembled:

There were also 110 certified confetti engineers who tossed out 2 tons of confetti by hand from the tops of buildings.

The ball’s LED bulbs are smaller but more than twice as bright as last year’s lights, which were a spiky mix of 600 incandescent and halogen bulbs in 4 colors. It was lit for 6 hours but used only the electricity of 10 toasters. The new lights can create more than 16 million colors (and video imagery) but were limited to 25. The $30,000 in crystal is just a small part of the ball’s $1.1 million value.

Dropping a ball has been a way to synchronize clocks since the 1800s. The first ball in Times Square was made of wood and iron and lit with 100 25-watt incandescent bulbs. It replaced a new year’s fireworks display started in 1904 that was later outlawed by city officials. Three other balls have been used since then, and now this new one, the fifth. For the next 11 month, it will rest in a vault 50 feet below 1 Times Square, beside the fourth ball.