SECTION 2—LISBON TO MINERVA—20.0 MILES
Between Lisbon and Minerva, the route of the 1928 Lincoln Highway begins its transition from an "eastern" road to a "western" road. For the first time on its transcontinental journey, the highway traces the lines of the rectangular survey system, although none of these "straight" east-west courses are as long as two miles. There were no such squared lines in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, where the location of the route was controlled by the historic paths of colonial highways, and then by the topography of the Appalachian Mountains and the Ohio River. Even in the area between East Liverpool and Lisbon—where the rectangular surveys commenced—the prominent hills and hollows continued to control the location of the route, with no regard for the survey lines.
Lisbon is the seat of government for Columbiana County, which also includes East Liverpool and Hanoverton, and is blessed with many fine old buildings. The town was founded as New Lisbon in 1803—the year of Ohio's statehood—and after Marietta, is the second oldest town in the state. Lisbon has an impressive list of sixty homes and buildings on the Ohio Historic Inventory, with over twenty of these homes on the street now known as Lincoln Way.
The Columbiana County Court House is in Lisbon, the second oldest city in Ohio. Built in 1870, the building was remodeled in 1933 using large blocks of stone salvaged from the old locks of the failed Sandy and Beaver Canal.
Hanoverton also has many fine old buildings, especially on Historic Plymouth Street, which intersects the Lincoln Highway one block east of the main intersection in town. These buildings are all in a community that is reminiscent of a small town in New England, and the short drive up this street is definitely a worthwhile departure from the charted course. The highlight on Plymouth Street is the wonderfully restored Spread Eagle Tavern, which has become a popular destination for modern-day members of the Lincoln Highway Association. Several other buildings are also of historical and architectural interest, including one building that was a stop on the Underground Railroad. Thankfully, all these buildings survived a terrible fire in October 1918 which destroyed the center of town.
The wonderfully-restored Spread Eagle Tavern is the highlight on Historic Plymouth Street (below) in Hanoverton, a small town that brings New England to mind. The history of the tavern dates back to 1837, just before the coming of the canal and the town's heyday.
The Spread Eagle Tavern was the host for the sixth annual meeting of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League. A highlight of the day's events was the setting of the fourth concrete post replica in Ohio, at the intersection of Plymouth Street and the old Lincoln Highway. A brick pillar replica has also been built at the intersection in the center of town.
Gradually leaving the Appalachian foothills, the route beyond Hanoverton, and between Kensington and Minerva, is the flattest section of the Lincoln Highway in the eastern two-thirds of the state. Here, the highway parallels Sandy Creek for about ten miles, dropping only 60 feet over that distance. This corridor was long ago followed by the Sandy and Beaver Canal, which was a short-lived endeavor to connect what is now Lisbon with other commercial markets. Also constructed in this corridor was the Cleveland and Pittsburgh Railroad, which later became part of the Pennsylvania Railroad. Both the small towns of Kensington and East Rochester grew up as stations on this railroad.
The Sandy and Beaver Canal was completed in 1848, but ceased operations in 1852, "when a reservoir burst and finances collapsed, in part because of the competition from the railroads." The canal system included 90 locks, 30 dams, and two tunnels cut through solid stone—including the longest canal tunnel in the United States. According to the local brochures, much of the canal channel and several locks can still be observed today. A historical marker for the canal tunnels is on the south side of the highway about one mile east of Hanoverton.
Through Hanoverton, the Sandy and Beaver Canal followed the course of Sandy Creek. What is now Lincoln Street is probably part of the towpath of the old canal. West of town, remnants of the channel can be observed on the north side of U.S. 30. Beyond Kensington, the old channel remains with Sandy Creek, but is on the south side of the highway.
An interesting bit of local lore concerns the fate of some of the lock stones from the canal. Large blocks of stone salvaged from the old locks were used in the 1933 remodeling project at the Columbiana Court House. Then in 1947, another large block of stone was used to complete the remodeling of the entrance of a Lisbon church. These were honorable ways for the failed canal to repay part of its debt to the community.
With respect to early roads and highways, the route of the Lincoln Highway between Lisbon and Minerva follows one of the original routes of the Ohio Inter-County Highway System. This particular route was designated as Inter-County Highway #368, or Lisbon-Canton-Southern Road. It was also part of Main Market Route No. 3, and later assumed the typical designations as State Route 5 and U.S. 30.
Since 1928, the alignment of this route appears to have undergone few major changes. When U.S.Route 30 was first designated between Lisbon and Minerva, it appears to have followed completely the route of I.C.H. #368. The most significant change since that time is a 1.5-mile stretch, constructed in the late 1950s, which begins about four miles west of Lisbon, and ends just past the structure over the West Fork of Little Beaver Creek. An old curving piece of the early roadway, shown on the Columbiana County map as Old Thirty Road, remains southeast of the present structure, and can be reached by way of the north end of what is now Trinity Church Road, which also had been part of the earlier alignment. However, tourists are advised to observe this particular remnant without leaving Trinity Church Road, because "Do Not Enter" and "Private/Keep Out" signs have been posted here.
Aside from this realignment, the usual improvements of curves and grades would probably be expected over the course of time. There are presently no four-lane sections between the endpoint towns of this route. However, the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) is studying several corridors in this area for the planning of a future four-lane version of U.S. Route 30 which would connect with existing State Route 11 near Lisbon.
Except for a short diversion in Hanoverton, the charted course for this section between Lisbon and Minerva is the same as the route of U.S. 30. This diversion in Hanoverton includes using the First Street bridge to cross Sandy Creek, and Lincoln Street on the south side of the creek, to correctly follow the 1928 route marked by the Boy Scouts. The present Canal Street/U.S. 30 bridge over Sandy Creek was built some time later, and eliminated the two turns at First Street.
These cabins in Minerva are at the location of the old Green Gables Tourist Court.
Minerva is the largest town between East Liverpool and Canton, and the control station selected here for the odometer charts is the site of an old gas station on the southwest corner of Market Street and Lincoln Way, which predates the transcontinental route by a couple years or so. This is one of only a few old-fashioned corner buildings which have survived along the route in Ohio. The property is now part of a gift shop, and provides a nice gateway to one of the prettiest little downtown areas in the state. In 1998, an original concrete post was found by three boys in a wooded area near Robertsville, and was placed near the southeast corner of this intersection.
This old gas station in Minerva dates back to about 1910.