Posts Tagged ‘memorial’

Monument to a Forgotten Lincoln Highway Booster

October 3, 2018


The Coan monument following its dedication in September 1925. [University of Michigan–Special Collections Library.]


On a busy corner west of Clinton, Iowa, you’ll find a Lincoln Highway monument, restored and well-kept after almost a century but mostly ignored by the passing traffic. The granite pillar honors Iowa State Consul and good roads pioneer William Folwell Coan, forgotten in LH lore but an important booster of the LH. It features original enameled LH emblems and had been wired for electricity so that “an electric dome will be placed at the apex of the shaft, illuminating the memorial for passing motorists at night.”

LH Coen 4530.jpg

The Coan monument is joined nearby by decorative Lincoln Highway lamppost bases dedicated by the city of Clinton, Iowa, in the 2000s.

The marker, dedicated with a small ceremony on August 5, 1925, was erected by the Clinton Chamber of Commerce at the southeast corner of Lincoln Way (also now US 30) and Mississippi River Scenic Highway (now US 67). Clinton County was rather progressive for its time; while half the U.S. states spent no finds at all on road improvement, Clinton was paving its roads with gravel.

Coan was inspired by an earlier local resident who had experimented with making concrete. In September 1913, Coan became one of the original 10 LHA consuls  — perhaps the only name familiar from that initial group is Gael Hoag for Nevada, later LHA Field Secretary and Managing Secretary.  In 1914, Coan was elected honorary vice-president of the LHA. Four years later, he passed away at age 57.



Dedicating the Coan monument, 1925. [University of Michigan–Special Collections Library.]

At the afternoon dedication ceremony, the flags covering the memorial were drawn back by six-year old William Rendall, Coan’s grandson. Gael Hoag was among the speakers, remarking how Coan’s name was held in such high regard at the headquarters of the Lincoln Highway Association.

The main oration was presented by local attorney and city solicitor Frank W. Ellis; it was reported the next day that he “paid high tribute to the man who probably more than any one other man in this vicinity, pursued an ideal of a great national highway.”  The monument, Ellis said, was a fitting reminder of the good which Coan had accomplished: “This monument teaches us a great lesson; that working for others is one of the highest attributes of humanity.”

Fisher Lincoln Highway monument in Utah update

November 7, 2008

Rollin Southwell sent an update on the monument he’s spearheading for Carl Fisher, father of the Lincoln Highway. It is planned for the top of Johnson/Fisher Pass on UT 199 between Clover and Terra, Utah. Architect Steve Ehninger recently announced construction and the dedication dates.


After a decade of planning, they are working on permits and approvals with hopes to be finalized by January 14, 2009. Construction could start April 9 and be completed by July 8. This includes a rock surround, asphalt paving, signage, and a beacon. Dedication is planned for August 12, 2009.


Read more at a site about the Fisher Pass monument or Rollin’s blog for more info on Fisher.

Lincoln artist interred with sculpture in Wyoming

July 21, 2008

The Laramie Boomerang reports that the ashes of sculptor Robert Russin and his wife Adele have been interred at the monument he created in 1959 to honor Lincoln’s 150th birthday. Its location in eastern Wyoming marked the highest point on the transcontinental Lincoln Highway: 8,835 feet. In 1969, the monument was moved to the nearby Summit Rest Area (exit 323) when I-80 opened between Cheyenne and Laramie, and is now at the highest point along I-80: 8,640 feet.

Above is a screen shot from the article and here’s a bit of the story:

Joe Russin, one of the sculptor’s sons, said his father’s wish was to be laid to rest near the statute [sic].

“The Lincoln statute became his calling card,” Russin said. “It was one of his favorite statutes.”

The mighty statute was actually made in Mexico City and then brought, in pieces, to Wyoming….

“My dad hadn’t thought about how low the wires were over Grand Avenue,” Russin said. “So they had to move it through Laramie really early in the morning and they cut the electric and telephone wires for each block as they went through.”

ABOVE: Sculptor Robert Russin and assistants work on the bust of Abraham Lincoln. Courtesy Jim Kearns, Manager, University of Wyoming Media Relations.

Flight 93 memorial brings traffic, other changes

January 20, 2008

The crash of United Flight 93 on September 11 changed Somerset County, Pennsylvania, in many ways. The curious instantly began streaming to the site just off the Lincoln Highway/US 30, and entrepreneurs began servicing the visitors. The western of the two access roads from Route 30 crosses an original alignment of the Lincoln. A temporary memorial continues to draw visitors, but the National Park Service has a larger memorial planned.

PA_Flt 93 motel

An article in the Daily American reports that local coal trucks are often involved in accidents, and when the Flight 93 National Memorial opens after 2011, US 30 is expected to carry as many as 400,000 more travelers a year. The Flight 93 National Memorial Corridor Study identified a preferred route to guide visitors to the memorial, which ultimately has to travel Route 30. At two public meetings, locals said the road should be wider, better maintained, and have fewer coal trucks. A traffic engineer said the accidents appear to be “relatively isolated incidents.”

The corridor study concludes that the significant horizontal and vertical curvature of the roadway and the corresponding restrictions on sight distance and the heavy volume of truck traffic make traffic safety a paramount concern. This is especially true for a two-thirds-mile stretch east of the intersection with Old Lincoln Highway, the study reported.

The study counts some 400 vehicles traveling to the site daily, and 900 on weekends. Once the new memorial opens, 400,000 are expected annually before tapering to 230,000.

The entrance will be from a third, more easterly location, where Old Lincoln Highway meets Route 30. The intersection would be reconfigured, probably affecting the remaining buildings from the former Emerald Park tourist camp and tavern. For now, PennDOT is planning improvements east of Stoystown including replacing three bridges, and adding turning lanes at the intersection with Route 403.

Locals responded to the flow of cars by creating yard sales, commemorative objects, and businesses to serve visitors. The photo above shows the Long Vu Motel just west of Reels Corners with a new name and sign promoting it’s connection to 9-11. Adele’s Diner across the road was in the news recently for similarly renaming to the Heritage Highway Restaurant, a nod to the range of history along the Lincoln Highway.

Lincoln Highway connection to Vietnam Memorial

November 23, 2007

The black granite used in the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., was supplied by a family firm along the Lincoln Highway in Lynwood, Illinois, south of Chicago. According to a recent article in The Times of Munster, Indiana, Rogan Granite (21550 E Lincoln Hwy/US 30, about 1000 feet west of the Indiana border) supplied the granite that carries the names of 58,256 veterans who either died in Vietnam or are listed as prisoners of war or missing in action. Tom Rogan says, “It was a very proud moment for our company and our family…. It was an opportunity for us to show what the region could do in support of our veterans.” The company, with roots back to 1874, was known as Calumet Memorial until 1980, when Tom and brothers Jim and Mick expanded the business.


The article recounts, “As part of the company’s headstone business, Rogan Granite supplied grave markers for veterans in several states. It was during a 1982 trip to Washington—to see which grave marker bids were successful—that Rogan learned of the plans for the memorial.” The bid required black granite because it could polish to a mirrorlike reflective surface and allow etched names to show up as white. The granite actully came from India, was cut and polished in Vermont, and etched in Tennesse, but the Rogan family coordinated the process of providing the 144 panels, each 44 inches wide each, that make up the two walls that are each 246 feet, 9 inches long. The memorial was dedicated on Veterans Day in 1982.

Photo Vietnam Memorial, The Wall, Washington D.C. by ehpien