Posts Tagged ‘map mystery’

More map mysteries – Lincoln Hwy curves in PA

December 19, 2008

Ken Ruffner wrote me with a question regarding an image in my book The Lincoln Highway: Pennsylvania Travelers Guide. It’s the historic photo on page 153 (1st ed., 1996) of the Horseshoe Curve above McConnellsburg, Pa.

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I had said the view is looking west to McConnellsburg, with the new road on the right. Ken wrote, “but then the road on the right is lower than the one on the left when in fact it really is higher on the hill… this photo doesn’t register with me…. could you please help me out with this so I can let it go… a friend of mine and I left the area with more questions than we started out with.”

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Above is an aerial view showing modern US 30 as a straight line and the old LH/US 30 curving up the mountainside. They still join at a prominent horseshoe curve but I wrote in my book that the photo was along the old curvy road, about where the “y” is in “Lincoln Way E.” I had discerned this by walking the old road, but after Ken inspired me to look at the aerial view, I realized the entire curve survives, though only partially driveable. The “lost” remnant is on the west/left side of Old 30/Lincoln Way E – it’s much more visible in the close-up below.

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I see where Ken could be confused, but the new curve was broader and hence closer to the drop off. Look below at my proposed routings: red is the original (we’ll call it 1913 for LH reference), purple is the new (1924) curve. The original (red) road/curve that sat higher would have survived the 1924 reshaping, as seen in the historic photo, but was erased when the current road split the horseshoe about 1970.

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The topo maps show the evolution, the first showing the original curve as a sharp turn, the second showing the broader 1930 revision.

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The last mystery is the little road south of all this that likewise has a turnoff to the east. I marked it in blue. Is it an earlier alignment? A detour during construction in 1924? Or 1970? Or was there a house there at some point?

Note about exploring the 1924 alignment  — the road in my 1992 photo is blocked and walking it may be trespassing now, though perhaps it’s just blocked to stop traffic. When I walked it back then, it was beautiful and thrilling to be discovering an old alignment. What an eerie feeling to stand where thousands of cars once chugged up the mountain.

Lincoln Hwy map tweak at Grand Junction Iowa

December 12, 2008

Reviewing the Iowa chapter in my forthcoming Lincoln Highway Companion, I often compare my maps to extreme close-ups of the LHA’s excellent CD-based maps based on the DeLorme system. My book has a photo from just east of Grand Junction, Iowa, where 4 bridges cross Beaver Creek. However, I noticed the LHA maps only show 3 roads/bridges there, despite a notation of “4 Bridges.”

So I checked with Bob and Joyce Ausberger, who made the ultimate effort to save the original tiny concrete bridge there by purchasing it and the land around it! They confirmed that the original LH needs to be shown crossing it. “There is still the remains of the road grade. You need to be standing at the right location to see it. It was never more than a graded dirt road, but it’s there. Right now it is covered with brome grass so it probably wouldn’t show up on the DeLorme maps.”

You can see all 4 in the Google Maps aerial view — from top: original LH, railroad, old LH, and US 30. (And note how lucky we are – the aerial views go low-res just a few yards to the west!)

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On a sample of the DeLorme map, I’ve drawn in by hand a bright blue line where the original route should be, and a black circle where the bridge is. I’m guessing at where it joins the revised LH/222nd St on the west end but maybe readers can help confirm that.

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