Posts Tagged ‘Ligonier PA’

PA Lincoln Highway corridor open house today

December 16, 2011

Pennsylvania’s Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor has a new home along the Lincoln Highway between Greensburg and Ligonier. LHHC has purchased the 1815 stone Johnston House across from the Kingston Dam. The site will eventually be home to the Lincoln Highway Experience Museum, which will include the restored Serro’s Diner that sat along the LH in Irwin.

LHHC is holding a Grand Opening of its gift shop today, Friday, December 16, 2011, from 3 to 7 p.m. Hot cider and gingerbread will be served. In addition to Lincoln Highway memorabilia and books, you’ll find many fine crafts from the Handmade Along the Highway program.

Contact LHHC at 3435 Route 30 East, Latrobe, PA 15650. New phone: 724-879-4241.


Funding the PA Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor

September 28, 2009

The Chambersburg Public Opinion reports that Pennnsylvania’s Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor appears to be one of the casualties of Pennsylvania’s budget battle.

PA_LHHC Lig office

Funding for the historical organization currently isn’t on any recent version of the Commonwealth’s budget, according to Kristin Poerschke, office manager for the Heritage Corridor in Ligioner. Should the organization not be funded with state dollars it would leave them looking at fundraising as its primary source of income potentially.

The Heritage Corridor was started in April 1995 and is one of 12 special “Heritage Areas” in the state devoted to promoting Pennsylvania’s Heritage. The corridor is composed of about 200 miles of U.S. 30, starting in Adams County and traveling west to Westmoreland County….

In previous years, Heritage Areas were funded through the state, with $1.95 million being divided among the dozen organizations. Should the budget pass without funding for the Heritage Areas, the Heritage Corridor will find itself in unfamiliar territory….

The organization will look to raise funding by holding events rather than soliciting donations, she said. The corridor will host an “An Affair with Lincoln” in Ligonier in December that will include arts, crafts, music and an Abraham Lincoln impersonator.

Visit the heritage corridor HQ at 215 East Main St, Ligonier, PA, or go to

Ligonier talk, signing, & drive-ins: Sat, June 27

June 26, 2009

On June 27th, your blogger here, Brian Butko, will present a program on the Lincoln Highway at Ligonier Valley Library, Ligonier, PA, which is also hosting a drive-in theater exhibit. The program starts at 11 am followed by discussion and a book signing that benefits the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor. Below is the Van-Del Drive-in, along the LH between Van Wert and Delphos, Ohio.


The library is on the Ligonier “diamond,” or square, at 120 W. Main Street / the Lincoln Highway. After the presentation I’ll be signing my latest book, Lincoln Highway Companion.


The book signing complements the exhibit, Movies, Motors, & Memories: Pennsylvania’s Drive-In Theaters, which includes photographs, artifacts, and memorabilia. Above is exhibit curator Jennifer Sopko at the drive-in I grew up attending, the former Woodland Drive-In, West Mifflin, PA.

Some of the items include a huge c. 1950 carbon-arc projector, speakers, signs, photographs, artwork, and notebooks containing copies of drive-in ads and memorabilia. Visitors can see the display in the Pennsylvania Room Mondays through Thursdays from 10 am-8:30 pm, and on Fridays and Saturdays from 10 am-5 pm through July 7, 2009. For more information log onto the Ligonier Valley Library’s website at

First Roadside Giant installed W of Ligonier PA

April 16, 2009


The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor has announced that the first of the Roadside Giants student sculptures has been installed along the Lincoln Highway west of Ligonier, Pennsylvania. The Roadside Giants program encourages students from vocational and technical schools along the Lincoln Highway (US 30 in PA) to design and create sculptures that will line the road. They are named for the larger-than-life buildings and statues that are used to attract travelers to stop and spend some time and money, documented in such esteemed books as Roadside Giants — yes, written by me and my wife Sarah.


pa_lhhc-studentsThe first Giant, from the Eastern Westmoreland Career & Technology Center, is a replica 1940s Bennett Gas Pump at the future site of the Lincoln Highway Experience, a welcome center and attraction in Ligonier Township. It’s at the intersection of US 30W and Route 259, near the Idlewild Park entrance. Ligonier Living also wrote a story about it.

Four other schools will also soon install giants:
• Somerset County Career & Technology Center designed a vintage Bicycle Built for Two
• Bedford County Technical Center students created an oversized quarter including a profile of Washington
• Franklin County Career & Technology Center built a replica 1921 Selden Apple Truck like the ones used to haul produce at Chambersburg’s orchards.
• Central Westmoreland Career & Technology Center wanted to design a Lincoln Highway-era figure, so they chose a Packard Car with Driver.

“I love art and education,” said Olga Herbert, Executive Director of the LHHC.  The Roadside Giants of the Lincoln Highway project combined the two, and involved the community.  It will create another great photo op for all Lincoln Highway road trips this summer.”

Lincoln Highway Experience plans unveiled

February 24, 2009

A new mailer/flyer details plans for the museum building being planned by the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor in western Pennsylvania. The Lincoln Highway Experience will be the largest and most prominent site documenting the Lincoln Highway.


To be located just west of Ligonier, Pa., the Lincoln Highway Experience will tell the story of the highway both in the state and on a national level. Interpretive exhibits will focus on the years 1912-1940 but the emphasis will be on what is still along the corridor, encouraging visitors to get out and drive the road.

The building itself was designed by Venturi Scott Brown Associates, familiar to roadside fans for their pioneering work, including publication of Learning From Las Vegas: The Forgotten Symbolism of Architectural Form (1972, revised 1977) by Robert Venturi, Denise Scott Brown, and Steven Izenour. The 10,000 s.f interior was handled by Maude Group and Kissiloff Associates and will include two films.


The LHHC has helped secure and administer grants for dozens of regional projects and is now launching its own capital campaign for the Experience. Donors at the $2,500 level will bceome members of The Lincoln Circle, with naming opportunities. The LHHC was designated in 1995 to promote economic development through tourism. Visit for more information about the Corridor.

Scenes from the Heritage Corridor Road Rally

September 23, 2008

LHA director Mindy Crawford sent along some photos from the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor’s Road Rally. After breakfast and a look around the McDonald’s Big Mac Museum in Irwin, the group toured Rick Kriss’ Antique Auto Restoration. That’s Rick at right, and below you’ll see work underway on a vintage Lincoln and Cadillac.

Next stop was to the east at DeLallo’s Italian Market. Mindy says they have “wonderful olives, meats, cheeses, pastries, and breads. Most of the group took home a bag or two of goodies. We bought some feta-stuffed olives, biscotti, shelled pistachios, and pasta in different varieties!”

After lunch at The Summer Place, the 50-some attendees toured the restored Darlington Station, a stop on the Ligonier Valley Railroad. The rail line ran from 1877 to 1952 between Ligonier and Latrobe; its path is now used by the westbound lanes of US 30.

Another highlight was a visit to Serro’s Diner, a 1930s O’Mahony that is undergoing restoration. More than a decade ago, I helped arrange its purchase by the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, which then donated it to the Heritage Corridor. It is being restored to once again serve some light meals and a big dose of history at the group’s planned interpretive center.

Surprises abound at Road Rally dinner

September 22, 2008

The 12th Annual Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor Road Rally was held this past weekend under perfect skies between Irwin and Ligonier, Pennsylvania. A number of antique cars took part, including a 1958 Edsel and the 1958 Chevy pictured here all the way from the Jersey Late Greats car club. I was clued in on the the surprises so only attended Saturday night, but more news to follow later this week.

Dinner on Saturday was at The Road Toad just west of Ligonier. Olga and Kristin from the LHHC were there along with the excited attendees, including Esther and Bernie Queneau (below), known as one of the four Boy Scouts who crossed the LH in 1928 on a safety and promotional tour. Rick Kriss, whose antique auto shop had been toured earlier, donated a number of things to the Corridor including a large LH clock ringed in neon. LHC director Mindy Crawford was there too along with Kevin Patrick, mapmaker for my Greetings from the LH book and co-author with me of Diners of Pennsylvania.

But the highlight was a surprise visit from PBS producer Rick Sebak, who brought along a copy of his just-finished show A Ride Along the Lincoln Highway. Not airing on PBS for more than a month, the crowd was treated to a sneak preview of the entire film on an impromptu setup of computer, video projector, and sheet on the wall.

Here’s a snap of the video, made all the more fun by its casual setup, with the scene showing LHA director Jay Banta driving through the Utah desert. The show will air on local PBS stations on October 29 and 31.

Three Sleepy Hollow Tavern updates

July 17, 2008

I have three updates on Sleepy Hollow Tavern near Ligonier, Pennsylvania, a 1939 roadside landmark along the Lincoln Highway that burned in February.

An article in today’s Tribune Review reports that the contractor demolishing and rebuilding the place has found numerous treasures including a couple huge safes. Fred Haeflein says one of the safes is a 100-year-old, 1,000-pound combo-lock model, hand-painted with gold lining and braided metal on the outside. Other items include a popcorn machine, brass lighting fixtures, a Corona metal beer cooler, and objects that hung on the walls such as antique skis, golf clubs, and “various Lincoln Highway road signs.”

The Trib also recently reported that Ligonier filmmaker Andrea Niapas, who produced a 2007 docudrama of Amelia Earhart’s last flight, is documenting Haeflein as he dismantles and rebuilds the tavern. She sometimes stands atop construction vehicles to get better footage of the building’s selective demolition.

Finally, Clinton Piper wrote to say that his mother volunteers to compile obituaries for a local database and was searching the Latrobe Bulletin on microfilm when she came across some interesting references to two buildings on the Sleepy Hollow site:
1. Overland Inn burned prior to 1926
2. Gas station destroyed by fire 10/18/26

A later gas station at the site is pictured in my PA LH book (shown above) but little is known about it.

Sleepy Hollow to be rebuilt as original log inn

June 18, 2008

The Tribune-Review reports that Sleepy Hollow Tavern, along the Lincoln Highway near Ligonier, Pennsylvania, and destroyed by suspected arson in February, will be rebuilt to its original look by a building contractor who once lived in the area. On June 23, Fred Haeflein will begin selectively demolishing the building; equipment is already arriving, as seen in the screen shot below:

Haeflein plans to lead a seven-member crew in rebuilding the structure to its original log cabin inn appearance. The entire second floor and roof could not be salvaged but the first floor will be incorporated into the new structure, and 6 of the 18 framed dormers over windows on the front and back portions of the roof will be reused. Haeflein plans to base his reconstruction on the view in a vintage postcard, seen below, before the later additions of a stone front and solarium in back.

Sleepy Hollow started as a typical roadside stand; the inn was built 1939-1940 but suffered after the westbound lanes of Lincoln Highway/US 30 were moved across Loyalhanna Creek. A small causeway was added, but the place declined in recent decades, surviving mostly as a tavern.

Popular chicken BBQ along the Lincoln Highway

May 20, 2008

John Renock of Galion, Ohio, sent some photos about his favorite Lincoln Highway chicken barbecue stand. During the summer, it’s along the westbound lanes of US 30 west of Ligonier, Pennsylvania, very close to Idewild Park. The stand is in the lot of a closed dairy drive-in across from the Driftwood Inn (known for it’s 1950s signs).

John says it’s been a weekend adventure for a number of years to go on a Sunday drive from Ohio to travel back to his nearby hometown and to get barbecued chicken. In the photo above, that’s Mike Hocker (Executive Director of the Ohio Lincoln Highway Historic Byway) in the green shorts/white shirt standing in line.

The gentleman who owned the soft ice cream stand found out he could earn as much doing chicken every Sunday Memorial Day through mid-October as working a weekly schedule selling ice cream etc. So he closed the ice cream store and uses the cooler, etc. to support the barbecue built on the western edge of the parking lot. I believe he is helped by a brother and brother-in-law. Didn’t take serious notes when I interviewed him the first time. He is sort of gruff. Stands at the end of the barbecue pit and takes your order.

As the chicken halves are pulled off the grill, they are placed in large, covered roasting pans near the serving area. They steep in the steamy juices for an hour or so before they are pulled from the roaster, dropped onto precut sheets of aluminum foil, methodically wrapped and deftly dropped into a paper sack. Pop is kept cool in ice water in a 50’s vintage pop cooler. Cole slaw is available, too.

Be ready to speak up when it is your turn as the guy has a line of people to serve and gets a little grumpy if you hem and haw. Just put us in mind of the “Soup Nazi” on Seinfeld. They start the charcoal pit around 6 a.m. on Sunday and serve until all is sold. We estimated about 750 to 1,000 half chickens on a given day. (He wouldn’t say). Then you can find a spot on a nearby shade tree picnic table maintained on the proper tyand enjoy your prize. Melt in your mouth chicken! When we first went there in ’97 it was about $3 a half. Last time it was $4.25.