The route of the 1928 Lincoln Highway between Van Wert and the Ohio/Indiana state line could very adequately be described as a twin of the section between Delphos and Van Wert—first, it follows the beach ridge of the Maumee Glacial Lake; second, the route is a descendant of the 1835 Bucyrus and Fort wayne State Road; third, it is basically the same route called for at the time of its original proclamation; fourth, the present roadway is a virtual reconstruction of the original roadway; and fifth, that part of the roadway which was Ridge Road is now officially Lincoln Highway.

However, this section does include one special landmark which makes it unique in all of western Ohio. That landmark is the small single-span concrete bridge over Upper Prairie Creek, 9.5 miles northwesterly from the "control station" in Van Wert, which features two red, white, and blue Lincoln Highway signs—one in each end facing traffic. This bridge, constructed about 1930, is the only original structure of any type (bridge, pillar, or post) between Oceola and Fort Wayne which still displays any of the traditional Lincoln Highway symbols, and is apparently one of two such structures that were built in Van wert County. A similar bridge over Jennings Creek, at the west corporation line of Delphos, once had the same type of signs, perhaps until it was refurbished in about 1979.

In 1999, Dr. Alan Hathaway of Iowa drove "The Ten Millionth" Ford Model T from New York to San Francisco to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of that carIn 1999, Dr. Alan Hathaway of Iowa drove "The Ten Millionth" Ford Model T from New York to San Francisco to celebrate the 75th Anniversary of that car's first trip. This photo stop is on the 1930 bridge over Upper Prairie Creek in Van Wert County.

In early 1995, under the direction of the Van Wert County Engineer, the bridge over Upper Prairie Creek was sandblasted and new guardrails were installed. Prior to this clean-up, the Lincoln Highway signs had been obscured by diagonal stripes of black and white paint. This project occurred just in time for the double-deck bus tour that was such a fun part of the first annual convention of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League in April of that year.

It is important to note that this bridge is no longer on a "through" portion of the Lincoln Highway. The abandoned part of the roadway now dead-ends at the right-of-way fence of U.S. 30, with no access to or from the four-lane route. However, the bridge remains on public right-of-way, and can be accessed without trespass by continuing westerly from the Lincoln Highway intersection with Dixon-Cavett Road.

A detour of a different sort existed in this area in 1916. During that driving season, a route was temporarily marked that passed through Convoy and Dixon, Ohio, and Monroeville, Indiana, before rejoining the route directly north of Monroeville. This long detour avoided a notorious "mud strip" northwest of the town of Convoy.

One of the first numerical designations for this section of the Lincoln Highway was Inter-County Highway #419, or Van Wert-Fort Wayne Road. It was also the westernmost leg of Ohio's Main Market Route No. 3, probably taking on some different nomenclature on the Indiana side of the state line. Later designations were the typical State Route 5 and U.S. Route 30 numbering discussed elsewhere.

The present right-of-way appears to have been established as part of a U.S. 30 improvement project in the 1930s. Although lacking the wide right-of-way dimensions that resulted from the reconstruction east of Van Wert, this section does feature the usual curve improvements, typically decreasing the degree of curvature and adding superelevation. Two excellent examples of such curve improvements are near the Pleasant Chapel and Sugar Ridge cemeteries, at locations described more specifically in the odometer charts. Just east of the Pleasant Chapel Church, in a grassy area on the east side of Richey Road, there is a small culvert which remains as one of the last clues of the old alignment west of Van Wert.

One potential landmark that has failed to survive in this section is the Seeding Mile in Paulding County. That short stretch of road between the Van Wert/Paulding county line and the Ohio/Indiana state line was one of the first concrete sections of Lincoln Highway pavement in all of Ohio and the United States. According to the 1924 Guide, this Seedling Mile "was constructed by the state with cement contributed by the [Lincoln Highway] Association," and was one of only two in the state. The other Seedling Mile was in Elkrun Township in Columbiana County [see §2].

Basically, the idea of the Seedling Mile was to build a section of concrete that would serve as such a good object lesson that it would provide an incentive for local entities to extend it. Indeed, by the end of the 1920s, the Lincoln Highway featured hard-surfaced pavements—concrete, brick, and macadam—not only in northwestern Ohio, but also across the entire state. It is interesting to see the highway improve with each edition of the Lincoln Highway Road Guides.

It appears that this landmark mile was ultimately destroyed by the construction of the present westbound lane of U.S. 30 in the late 1960s. West of Upper Prairie Creek, the only portion of the original alignment which did survive the four-lane construction is at the Blue Creek crossing, two miles east of the Indiana line. This remnant is now on private property, and can be observed adequately from the four-lane right-of-way, especially if westbound.

Interestingly, the office of the Van Wert County Engineer has suggested that it was the bridge over Blue Creek (long since removed) which was supposed to have the two Lincoln Highway signs, and not the bridge over Upper Prairie Creek. This does make sense, because both the first and last bridges on the Lincoln Highway route in Van Wert County would have been marked with the traditional red, white, and blue signs, thus creating gateways at opposite entrances to the county.

Upon reaching the Indiana line, the tourist tracing the 1928 route of the Lincoln Highway has driven over 240 miles, passing through eleven Ohio counties, and seven county seats. There have been opportunities to drive on every type of roadway from a 10-foot Readers are encouraged to join the Lincoln Highway Association, a national organization which endeavors to promote and preserve the highway dedicated to the memory of Abraham Lincoln.wide brick section to a four-lane superhighway. In eastern Ohio, the traveler wandered and weaved through hills and hollows, much in contrast to the straight paths (at the section lines) and level paths (at the beach ridge) in western Ohio. With so many fine landmarks still in place, and so many fine people actively involved in promoting and preserving this historic route, this Lincoln Highway tour across Ohio will continue to offer much to see and more to enjoy for many years to come.

Readers are encouraged to join the Lincoln Highway Association, a national organization which endeavors to promote and preserve the highway dedicated to the memory of Abraham Lincoln.

Odometer chart for this section

Strip Maps for this section