Posts Tagged ‘Gregory Franzwa’

Proclamation honors LHA pioneer Franzwa

April 29, 2009

When Lincoln Highway Association pioneer Gregory Franzwa took ill, President Bob Dieterich wanted to honor him before he died. He says, “We didn’t make it in time, but my wife and I drove over to Utah last week to give this to Kathy [along with Jesse Petersen].” The photo below shows Jess and Bob giving the proclamation to Kathy (after all the tears stopped).


The proclamation establishes an annual “Gregory M. Franzwa Award” to be given to the organization or individual doing the most to promote the Association. Click HERE to see the full text. Also, a fund has been established in Greg’s name to be used for preservation projects. Contributions can be sent to Jesse Petersen, P.O. Box 1075, Tooele, UT 84074.

Lincoln Highway icon Franzwa passes

March 31, 2009

I’m sorry to report that Lincoln Highway Association pioneer and stalwart Gregory Franzwa passed away late Sunday night. Franzwa was instrumental in founding both the Oregon-California Trails Association and the modern Lincoln Highway Association. He edited the LHA’s Forum for most of its 17 years, and in 1995 he began a series of state-by-state guidebooks to the Lincoln Highway that covered the western portion of the route. His Patrice Press carries the numerous books he has authored about western trails.


His wife Kathy wrote that “he left us peacefully, at home, with me at his side. I cannot stress strongly enough how much his friends in OCTA and the LHA meant to him. All of the letters, emails, and cards brightened his last days very much. He asked that I scatter his ashes on the Oregon Trail.”

The last note he sent to me was an endorsement for my forthcoming Lincoln Highway Companion book. Even ailing, he was willing to lend a hand to a friend and to the highway. I appreciate his unending help and support in the two decades I knew him.

LHA founder ailing

February 11, 2009

Gregory Franzwa, founder of the modern-day Lincoln Highway Association and editor of the LHA Forum, is ailing. LHA president Bob Dieterich reports that cancer has left him sometimes too weak to walk or talk. This follows soon after his scare with lung cancer, which he kept to himself then humorously documented in Folio. That’s the newsletter of his Patrice Press and it’s more like a full magazine eagerly anticipated by its readers. Here’s wishing Gregory and wife Kathy all the best. You can send him your good thoughts as well, or better yet, a good joke at <>.


Alice Ramsey book recounts, retraces 1909 trip

March 10, 2008

We’ve mentioned the recreation of Alice Ramsey’s cross country trip set for 2009, but readers can relive the original journey courtesy of author and researcher Gregory Franzwa. Alice recounted her adventures 54 years after her 1909 trip in Veil, Duster, and Tire Iron—problem is, it’s extremely hard to find a copy of that book. Franzwa has not only republished the original text but done us all the favor of unearthing where her travels literally took her, from roads to hotels to restaurants. Much of her route (well, west of Ligonier, Indiana) would become the Lincoln Highway four years later.


Alice Ramsey’s story was once well-known: on June 9, 1909, she and three female companions set off from NYC in a new, dark green Maxwell DA. She reached the Pacific 59 days later, becoming the first woman to drive coast-to-coast. The text and illustrations from her 1963 book are here along with 108 new endnotes that add lots of info as to the route and stops.

But the endnotes, following each chapter, are just part of the amazing supplemental material that’s been added. Almost half of Franzwa’s book consists of Chasing Alice, a conversational guide retracing the author’s research journeys. Filled with vintage ads, photos, and modern maps and pictures, the reader tags along as Franzwa tries to find remnants of the original trip. Along the way, fellow researchers, librarians, web sites, and friends help out, like Van and Bev Becker, who combed Mechanicsville, Iowa, for clues to Alice’s overnight stop there. Not only did they locate the buildings that housed the hotel, the livery stable, and the restaurant, but they dug up the hotel’s gold-embossed registers listing the four women travelers, their rooms, and even the time of their wake-up call!

The book ends with a preview of the work being done by Richard Anderson to rebuild a 1909 Maxwell DA and recreate the trip on its centennial. All parts of the book will have you yearning for the open road.

Alice’s Drive: Republishing Veil, Duster, and Tire Iron
by Alice Ramsey, Annotation and “Chasing Alice” by Gregory M. Franzwa
Patrice Press, 265 pp, 161 illustrations, 108 notes, index, softcover
ISBN 1-880397-56-0

$19.95 plus $4.95 s/h direct from Franzwa’s Patrice Press or contact Amazon sellers.