In September 1912, Carl G. Fisher, president of Prest-O-Lite Company of Indianapolis, Indiana, conceived the idea of constructing a "hard-surfaced, improved highway" from the Atlantic to the Pacific. He called his idea "The Coast-to-Coast Rock Highway," and it was Fisher's hope that he would find financial support from leaders of the automotive industry to build this first transcontinental automobile route. Fisher's company manufactured the lighting systems that were used on many automobiles of that day, and being "an enthusiastic motorist in his own right" (he was also founder of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway), understood the need for good roads at that time.
Later that same year, Henry B. Joy, president of Packard Motor Car Company, would propose to Fisher that this coast-to-coast highway also serve as a memorial to the beloved fallen president, Abraham Lincoln. As an "appeal to patriots," Joy's idea was well-received, and on July 1, 1913, in Detroit, Michigan, the Lincoln Highway Association was officially organized, with Joy being elected as its first president. The actual route of the Lincoln Highway had not yet been decided upon, but after two months of careful consideration, a route was eventually announced to the public on September 14, 1913. As it appeared in the original proclamation, the route across Ohio was "described as passing through...Canton, Mansfield, Marion, Kenton, Lima, Van Wert, [on the route] known as Main Market No. 3."
The texts that follow contain both the history of the Lincoln Highway, as it pertains to Ohio, and a road guide for the different versions of the route across the state, as it was marked by the Lincoln Highway Association between 1913 and 1928. In addition to the road guide, a set of both westbound and eastbound odometer charts have been included, plus a set of 23 strip maps. A section of appendixes, which includes miscellaneous maps, charts, and other items of interest, completes this internet edition.
It is this author's hope that the reader will not merely make a "paper journey" of this historic route as it travels across these pages, but that he/she will truly tour this route as it traverses more than 240 miles across the Buckeye State. Instead of driving straight through each town, stop for a while and get to know that particular place-- stroll the sidewalks; browse in the shops and museums; have lunch with the locals.... Endeavor to experience the feeling of "Main Street Across America" that Drake Hokanson so aptly describes in his definitive history of the Lincoln Highway, and use this road guide to find the way.
This project could not have been completed without the contributions of many kind people and members of the Lincoln Highway Association. A most special word of thanks is due to Esther M. Oyster, who so generously shared copies of her extensive research from historical archives in Columbus and Ann Arbor, and from newspapers in eastern and central Ohio. Thanks are also due to those who contributed a map or book or post card copy, or some other piece of information that was vital to the road guide project. Alphabetically, this list includes Richard Boehr, Brian Butko, David Cole, Bob Ebbeskotte, Ray Gottfried, Jack Kerstetter, Hal Meeks, Don Priess, Russell Rein, Jim Ross, Larry Webb, Mike Weigler, and Abe Yalom.
DEDICATED to my children, Michaela Noelle and Michael Karl