Posts Tagged ‘tourism’

Preview next 4 Lincoln Highway murals in Illinois

May 7, 2010

The next four Lincoln Highway Interpretive Murals in Illinois will be on display at ShawCraft Signs, 7727 Burden Road, Machesney Park TODAY from noon to 5:00 p.m.

Recently a mural was installed in Dixon to tell the story of the 1919 Military Convoy as it traveled cross-country, including a young Dwight Eisenhower.  The mural tells the story of the convoy stopping in downtown Dixon to lunch on the courthouse lawn. You can view a cool slideshow created by Jay Allen of Shawcraft to see the mural come to life.

The four murals in production will  be installed along the Illinois Lincoln Highway National Scenic Byway in northern Illinois. The murals are going up in 40 communities, and so far include Rochelle, Creston, DeKalb, Aurora, Joliet, Cortland, Genoa, Oregon, and Dixon.

The one set for New Lenox focuses on a 1920s dance hall moved to make way for the highway in 1924. University Park’s will tell the story of the Van Buren sisters who in 1916 became the first women to “solo” the highway on their Indian motorcycles.

Summer Festival at 1866 Austin NV church

July 23, 2009

“Soup, Sin, & Salvation” — a Celebration of Restoration, is the theme for the annual dinner and auction to be held this Saturday, July 25, 2009 in St. Augustine’s former church in Austin, Nevada. St. Augustine’s is the state’s oldest Catholic church building (1866) and a popular stop for tourist along the Lincoln Highway/US 50. The church was sold to a private party who formed a nonprofit organization to restore and renovate the structure.


The event will feature:
Homemade bread and rolls
Homemade soup in a commemorative cup
Depression-era food such as Spam
Grilled steak kabobs
Rich and delicious homemade ice cream

1 pm: Mella Harmon presents:
“How Soup & Sin Saved Nevada” — Nevada during the Great Depression

2-5 pm: “Artists in Austin”
Visit area artists at fun locations around town

6 pm: Dinner and Auction in the old church!
For the first time in decades, this historic building will echo the happy sounds of people gathering!

Tickets are $39. Get more info at or contact Jan Morrison (775) 964 – 1100.

MSN online follows the Lincoln Highway

July 2, 2009

LHA director Kay Shelton alerted us that, for the couple million people with Hotmail accounts, logging out takes them right to the Web site and a few weeks ago the site had a link:  “Forget 66:  A Better Cross-Country Route” with a short article on the Lincoln Highway. It’s still available HERE.

Lincoln Highway_msn

The story by award-winning author Earl Swift advises “Forget Route 66. This here is our Main Street.” And “With a couple of weeks free, you can still take this curvy, low-speed cruise from end to end and, in the process, gain an understanding of just how big and varied and spectacular this country is.”

Gettysburg and Lancaster tourism along US 30

December 3, 2008

Jennifer Vogelsong wrote an interesting piece for the York Daily Record/Sunday News about the search for authentic experiences in Gettysburg and Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Much of the public face is found along the Lincoln Highway/US 30 but she finds that the best places are a block or two away or along the back roads. She was inspired by the December issue of National Geographic Traveler that ranked the two destinations among the most important historic places on Earth — and fourth worst when it comes to sustainable tourism, ie how authentically they preserve the past, manage tourism, and withstand development.


At the Mennonite Information Center on US 30, director Jeff Landis advises “If you see a sign with the word “Amish” in it, it probably isn’t.” Still, at The Amish Experience, with billboard ads and an F/X Theater, “employee Ginny Reese said it’s pretty authentic, and an appealing option for visitors who don’t want to drive the back roads for the real thing: ‘They can’t find it or they don’t know where to go and what they’re looking for.'”

Read more of Jennifer’s travels around these two areas and York in her blog Explorer’s Backpack.

Illinois gets grant for Murals and Gazebos on LH

December 13, 2007

IL Post mural

The Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition (ILHC) recently received $443,000 in federal grants for its National Scenic Byway program, a designation the Lincoln Highway through Illinois received in 2000. The funds will be used over the next 3 years to produce interpretive murals in 40 communities along the 179-mile route through the state. Each mural will interpret the history and heritage of the highway and its impact on the communities, and a companion brochure will summarize their locations and messages.

Diane Rossiter, Associate Director of ILHC, says, “We are excited to begin this new project! This money, plus the $40,000 we just received from the state and the Illinois Bureau of Tourism will make it all happen. Our hope is that visitors will be compelled to travel Illinois Lincoln Highway and discover all that it has to offer.”

IL Post mural close up

Three murals are already complete: Creston was unveiled in May 2006, DeKalb in October ’06, and Rochelle in May ’07 (see photo and closeup above, courtesy ILHC). Some of the communities slated to receive a mural are Ashton, Byron, Cortland, Dixon, Genoa, Oregon, Rock Falls, Sterling, and Sycamore, not all of which are directly along the LH, but are considered withing the “corridor.” That can generate broader interest and awareness but may lead to some confusion.

ILHC will start work on 20 interpretive gazebos in the Spring in such communities as DeKalb, Dixon, Oregon, and Rochelle. Rossiter says,

“Our intent is to place a historical mural in each community that lines the highway and those along the corridor also. The communities will be charged with finding a building location and researching possible story ideas. Each mural will be painted on substrate material and will be mounted to the side of the building. This works much better than painting on the building itself, because it can be taken down for upkeep or if the building needs repairs. When all are completed, a brochure will be created detailing each mural and its location along with the location of the interpretive gazebos. There are no gazebos completed as of yet, but our hope is to begin construction in the spring.”

Visit or phone (815) 547-3854 for more information on the Lincoln Highway through Illinois.

Iowa Welcome Center Responds to Concerns

December 7, 2007

On Tuesday, Chicago Public Radio’s Gianofer Fields reported from her LH trip that her reception at the Harrison County Historical Village and Iowa Welcome Center along the Lincoln Highway in western Iowa was not very welcoming. She has even subtitled that day’s entry, “What happens when the welcoming center isn’t so welcoming?”:

FIELDS: Tell me about this place that we are standing in.
HEIM [center employee]: Well, this is the welcome center that we are standing in.

I suppose that I should have taken that massive silence as a sign that the welcome center lady wasn’t in the mood for company. When I saw the old cabin perched on a small hill by the highway; I thought it had, “Stop here roadside attraction,” written all over it. So I did in hopes of learning more about it.

HEIM: Well, it has a wealth of information and antiques in it and it takes about an hour to go through, self guided usually.

Did I just get the bums rush? Clearly, I am on my own.

Above: Half the operational expenses for the village/welcome center are covered by sales in the Iowa Products Store and village admission fees.

I asked center coordinator Kathy Dirks about the two things that seemed to bother Ms. Fields—the lack of enthusiasm and the self-guided tour. Here is her response:

I wish I would have been here and that I could be here everyday to guarantee every person’s experience that steps through our front door would be stellar and involve the highest level of customer service. Unfortunately, it’s not humanly possible because we are open 361 days a year. So on many weekends and other days when I’m unable to be here due to meetings, vacations, etc., we pay some of our volunteers to man the facility. Almost all are elderly because the hours are limited and the pay low due to our limited budget. (My opinion would be almost all of them would be totally intimidated by a surprise microphone interview as well.)…

Not to make any excuses for what happened because there are none, but it can also be somewhat of a challenge to work at this particular facility because of the volume of knowledge the volunteers/workers are expected to know about Iowa – from everything tourism-related, to agriculture, to state laws, to about anything else that could cross your mind. I’ve worked here 13 years and still get questions I’ve never been asked before. I would have hoped though that everyone working here could have answered questions about this facility. I see much more intensive training needs to happen.

Our goal at the Harrison County Historical Village and Welcome Center has always been to supply the best service possible. I believe that on many occasions we do succeed in achieving that goal based on comments from customers and the amount of repeat business we receive. I absolutely hate when it doesn’t happen. Unfortunately, I can’t repeat Gianofer Fields experience here and make everything perfect. I can only learn from it and do whatever possible so it isn’t repeated….

We only offer self-guided tours on a regular basis and state that in our brochure. Unfortunately, we don’t have enough business, nor large enough income, to offer guided tours on a regular basis. The facility sits on 17 acres and the museum is in five different buildings covering about 4 1/2 acres. On many days, we only have one person that works the entire facility – beginning people on museum tours, answering welcome center questions, waiting on people in the gift shop, sweeping the floor, etc. If I had been here by myself, I would not have been able to give Gianofer Fields a guided tour of the museum either without locking the door to the welcome center/gift shop.

It’s obvious Ms. Dirks cares an awful lot about customer satisfaction while struggling with limited staff and resources. And Ms. Fields (who has not responded to my emails, though the station’s Director of Communications did one time) would probably understand these points too if she had known or been told in a more positive manner. Maybe Ms. Fields can return some day and give us all an update.

Nebraska Promotes the Lincoln Hwy with Videos

November 2, 2007

NE Weiss signThe Nebraska Division of Travel and Tourism has produced both a short and long video to promote the Lincoln Highway as a scenic route. The focus is on natural beauty and general history more than auto-era attractions, though there are some nice views of the brick road west of Omaha and Buffalo Bill’s Scouts Rest Ranch in North Platte.

The LH there is now a Nebraska Byway, not to be confused with an American Byway, the name for roads in the National Scenic Byways program, which the LH has only achieved in Illinois. The Nebraska tourism site has general descriptions of 10 such routes here.

More info and photos are available on the site for the Lincoln Highway Scenic and Historic Byway Association, “a grassroots organization that brings together businesses, government tourism entities, and individuals along Highway 30 in Nebraska to work together and promote this stretch of road to tourists.”

The only description online of the Byway program itself is in a Department of Roads brochure detailing highway sign regulations: “The Nebraska Byways Program identifies significant two-lane highways throughout the state that highlight Nebraska’s diverse topography, history, culture, recreational opportunities and landscapes.”

Here is the 29-second video. Other roads in their series get near identical narration:

And here is the 3-minute video:

Thanks to Lenore Weiss for the sign photo.