Posts Tagged ‘Pennsylvania’

PA road widening to affect LH & turnpike markers

August 21, 2008

LHA member Bill Spoon called to say the Lincoln Highway is being widened between Gettysburg and New Oxford, Pennsylvania. He worried about a couple markers by the roadside – one a LHA 1928 concrete post, and one a c. 1820 turnpike marker incised with mileages to Gettysburg, York, and Philadelphia.

LHA state director Mindy Crawford contacted the state; Steven A. Moore, Senior Project Manager
for PennDOT Engineering District 8-0, reported back that both are scheduled to be removed, stored, and replaced according to these specifications:

DESCRIPTION – This work is the removing and resetting of existing historic concrete markers.
CONSTRUCTION – Survey and record the existing marker location. Remove marker prior to the start of construction and store in a secure location. Reset marker near the original location as directed after adjacent construction is complete. Care should be taken to avoid damage to the existing markers during removal, storage, and resetting.

It’s good to see highway departments becoming aware of historic resources related to roads themselves.

Tea at Gothic-Victorian library in Langhorne PA

April 3, 2008

Historic Langhorne Association will host an Afternoon Tea to benefit the Anna Mary Williamson Library on Sunday, May 4, from 1 – 3:30 pm. The library, also home to the association, is noted for its 1888 Gothic-Victorian styling. It is located in eastern Pennsylvania in downtown Langhorne at 160 West Maple Avenue, the original Lincoln Highway. The historic photo below is from the HLA website.


Festivities will include Alisa Dupuy portraying a Colonial Patriot who tells stories of her life in the area. Food by Debbie of Wild Violets Tea Garden in Hulmeville will feature elegant tea sandwiches, scones with jams and lemon curd, desserts, and of course teas. Tickets of $30 per person are available through Historic Langhorne or at Judy’s Corner; seating is limited.

Historic Langhorne Association offers a research library, local artifacts museum and archives of business documents, genealogical records, historic photographs and area maps. It was established in 1965 and its building is open to the public Mondays 7 – 9 pm / Wednesdays, 10 am – noon and 7 – 9 pm / Saturdays 10 am to noon. Call (215) 757-1888 for more information.


US 30 bridge named for PA veterans

March 19, 2008

Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell signed six bills into law on March 17, one of which renames the bridge carrying US 30 over Main Street in North Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County, as the Veterans Bridge. See the actual House Bill 363 here.

According to the bill, the “designation honors the commitment, service and sacrifice of this country’s veterans and will serve as a tangible reminder of the courage and patriotism of the veterans who served this Commonwealth and this nation.” It will take effect in 60 days.


US 30 here is a bypass of the original Lincoln Highway that runs perpendicular to the Irwin business district. The above postcard copy shows the bridge under construction ca. 1939, with the business district behind it. The LH was being realigned in anticipation of the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s western terminus opening in 1940 about a mile to the east.

1915 article leads to LH routing mystery

March 7, 2008

Jim Steeley, of the Westmoreland County Historical Society and a LH researcher, came across a Lincoln Highway item in the September 30, 1915, Greensburg Daily Tribune, about rerouting the LH away from Madison, Pennsylvania. Problem is, the LH never went through Madison!


The article “Failure To Comply With Request May Lose Lincoln Highway” appeared on the front page of the paper describing Madison Borough’s refusal to improve its streets, therefore endangering the borough “to be side-tracked, and the Lincoln Highway removed from it.” It cited an engineer and a superintendent of county roads who “decided to change the route of the Lincoln Highway from Darragh through Herminie, leaving old Madison Borough to the left of the highway.” It would “not lengthen the road more than a fraction of a mile.”


But the Lincoln Highway is not known to have gone anywhere near Madison, let alone through it. To follow this route, Jim explains, the Lincoln Highway would have run through Greensburg to West Pittsburgh Street where it intersects with West Newton Street and hence to the West Newton Road (Rt 136) through Darragh, o to Madison (until it was bypassed) and Herminie, then north on Clay Pike through Rillton to Circleville at the top of Jacktown Hill, where it would join present-day US 30 west of Irwin. The map above shows the commonly known LH in red, the implied route in blue, and the topic of the article (routing through Madison) in green.

The first official LH road guide, published spring 1915, lists Greensburg followed (heading west) by Grapeville, Adamsburg, and Irwin—all along the red-marked route, similar to today’s US 30. Why, a half-year after the 1915 guide was published, was it believed that these towns were on the Lincoln Highway?

Forbes Trail was precursor to much of Pa’s LH

February 27, 2008

A new web site commemorates the 250th anniversary of Forbes Trail, hacked through the forests of Pennsylvania in 1758 during the French and Indian War. General John Forbes led an expedition from Philadelphia over the Allegheny Mountains to capture French-occupied Fort Duquesne, at what later became Pittsburgh. Among the 6,000 British and colonial troops was young George Washington, a 26-year-old colonel with the Virginia troops. The site is a project of French and Indian War 250, the organization spearheading the commemoration of the French and Indian War.


Forbes Trail (also commonly called Forbes Road) was closely followed or paralleled by the Lincoln Highway and US 30 across the state. Only mid-state does it deviate, when the military road jogs north to Carlisle, near Harrisburg. The Lincoln/30 stays south through Gettysburg and Chambersburg.


The web site features seven “gateways” – Philadelphia, Lancaster, Carlisle, Fort Loudoun, Bedford, Ligonier, and Pittsburgh – where visitors can click to learn its connection to the trail and what historical remnants survive.

A long-anticipated book is due in May. Pennsylvania’s Forbes Trail: Gateways and Getaways along the Legendary Route from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh ($18.95) will feature more than 40 themed tours with info on activities, lodging, and dining.


I asked French and Indian War 250 Marketing Director Karen Lightell about the difference between calling it Road and Trail. She said they “chose ‘Forbes Trail’ to avoid confusion because many people see the Forbes Road as extending only from Carlisle to Pittsburgh—i.e., the road the Forbes Expedition actually built. They traveled from Philadelphia on existing roadways. ‘Forbes Trail’ is meant to imply the entire experience ‘today’ of the corridor along the original Forbes route as described in the book.”

More Sleepy Hollow Tavern history recalled

February 26, 2008

The Pittsburgh Tribune Review ran another article today recounting some history of Sleepy Hollow Tavern. Former workers, owners, and customers offer a variety of fond recollections. As Julie Donovan, public relations director for the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, said, “It seemed no matter who owned it, it was always busy. It was definitely a Laurel Highlands landmark, and I hate to see it go.”


Above: A photo that was on the wall of Sleepy Hollow when I first visited in 1989 shows the 1930s sandwich stand and gas pumps.

Although a descendant of former owners says it was always Sleepy Hollow, my recollection from a 1989 visit is that that’s correct for the restaurant but not the land around it. The area was known as Kelley’s Hollow; co-owner Joe Neiman’s habit of dozing in his rocking chair in the 1930s led to jokes about Sleepy Hollow, which was used to name the tavern that opened in 1940.


Click the screen shot above for the full Trib article.

Sleepy Hollow Tavern fire being investigated

February 25, 2008

Cy’s matchbook
Above: A vintage Sleepy Hollow matchbook, courtesy Cyrus Hosmer.

The weekend fire at the former Sleepy Hollow Tavern along the Lincoln Highway in western Pennsylvania has left the building charred and condemned. According to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, after burning overnight Saturday onto Sunday, firefighters were called back at 11:30 Sunday morning when the roof reignited. The second floor, which once housed a dozen hotel rooms, has fallen into the first floor restaurant. Click the image below for the full story from the Trib:


Youngstown Fire Chief Barry Banker, who led some 20 area fire crews, said when he arrived, smoke was coming out of the building from every direction. After attempting to enter the 1939 wood-frame structure, they turned back and could only fight it from outside. There were no injuries reported, but KDKA-TV reports that state police are saying the blaze is suspicious in nature.

Sleepy Hollow was a popular stop since being built 1939-1940, but suffered after the westbound lanes of Lincoln Highway/US 30 were moved across Loyalhanna Creek. A small causeway was added, and after some success as a buffet in the 1980s, the business has had various remodelings. The Trib reports that the most recent owners tried filing for bankruptcy in November.

WPXI-TV has a short story calling it a biker bar. KDKA now has their video report online – click the images below:


The surrounding area remains visually stunning: in 2005, the county purchased 1,239 forested acres from the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy for $900,000 to create The Loyalhanna Gorge Greenway, stretching 3 miles along both sides of the Loyalhanna Creek from the Kingston Dam to Longbridge through Chestnut Ridge.

Fire Destroys LH Landmark near Ligonier, PA

February 24, 2008

US 30 eastbound was closed for 8 hours overnight as fire destroyed the Hollow Tavern in Unity Twp, Westmoreland County, just west of Ligonier, and about 40 miles east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Built 1939-40 as a restaurant and hotel along the Lincoln Highway in the Loyalhana Gorge, it was perhaps best known for a small concrete causeway across the water. The 2-lane LH ran past its door, but when westbound lanes were moved to the other side of the water in the 1950s, half their customer base disappeared. They fought for, and won, the small access crossover.
PA Sleepy Hollow

The location, popular for its view, had housed a gas station and sandwich stand since the 1920s. The area was known as Kelley’s Hollow but acquired the Sleepy Hollow moniker from one of the owners’ habit of dozing in his rocking chair. The building resembled a big log cabin, and its old wood construction made fighting the fire difficult. Click HERE for no-narrator 1-minute video of the blaze from KDKA-TV (after a 15-second commercial).


Also, click on the image above for a brief text report from WTAE-TV.

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 Companion extra photo 1

January 12, 2008

As I prepare to hand to my publisher the images for my next book, Lincoln Highway Companion, I’m left with hundreds that just don’t fit. They’re fine photos, but I have a page count that I can’t exceed and it’s already filled. So here’s the first of the runner-ups.


I’ve photographed this neon sign for at least 15 years. It’s in West Virgina very close to the Pennsylvania border. The sign and entrance face the parking lot – in the rear of the nightclub! The Lincoln Highway opened here in 1928 – I’ve always wondered if it originally came down this side and was later moved to the front side of the building to make the road straighter.

In this other angle I posted on Flickr, you can see that under the Carriage Club neon is lettering for what must be an earlier name, the Half Moon Club. Any West Virginians know more about the club or the road here?