The Official Newsletter of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League
Number 31                                                                                                                             March  2002


Mike Lackey, writer for The Lima News, put it correctly when he wrote "The Snow Cruiser can still draw a crowd in Gomer." Over 62 years after Admiral Byrd's ill-fated Antarctic exploration vehicle crashed into a small stream east of Gomer, a standing room only crowd of 75 people from six counties in Northwest Ohio gathered January 20, 2002, at the Sugar Creek Township House in Gomer to recall their memories from October 1939, when "the eyes of the world were on Gomer."

Willard Watkins, then a boy of 12 years, was standing on the wall of the bridge in front of the family farm when a rear wheel of the Snow Cruiser grazed the structure. As described by Mike Lackey's predecessors, the red/orange behemoth "coasted gracefully through a guardrail and farm fence and came to rest, at an angle, in Pike Run." It took four days to get the 55-foot long, 20-foot wide, 37-ton vehicle out of the creek and back on the road to Boston, where it would be put on a ship bound for the Antarctic.

Helen Renner Lewis was in high school at the time, and she recalled how "women all over town cooked hot dogs" and along with her sister Marjorie, "sold them for a dime apiece." At the same time, their future husbands Richard Lewis and Tom Bourne "staked out fields on opposite ends of town and parked cars at 75 cents each."

Lincoln Highway Association member Carla Olds, a daughter of Mrs. Lewis, said "Uncle Tom told me he made $400 in three or four days." Another LHA member, Fred Davis tried to explain the fascination of the event by saying "It was just a happening. It was once in a lifetime and you didn't want to miss it."

By some estimates 125,000 onlookers came to Gomer, then and now a community of only about 300 people. The throngs were such that "soon the nearest available parking was two miles out of town... Reporters rented small planes and flew in from all over, landing in the wheat fields surrounding the village."

Not many folks in Allen County missed this event. Whenever you mention the Lincoln Highway in these parts, just about everyone old enough to remember will tell you about the time when the Snow Cruiser crashed near Gomer on the greatest of all the transcontinental highways.

Photo/post card reproduction courtesy of Ray Gottfried, OLHL expert on the Snow Cruiser subject
For additional reading, see "Gomer still recalls day of cruiser's crash" by Mike Lackey,
in the January 23, 2002 issue of The Lima News (www.limanews.com)


The Mid-Ohio Chapter of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League will be hosting the 8th Annual State Meeting, to be held Saturday April 27, 2002, at "Celebrations by Sallie" in Ashland. OLHL members will receive a registration form, a schedule of activities, and a vicinity map as an enclosure with this newsletter. Members should also review minutes from the 2001 meeting in Delphos, plus proposed changes to the bylaws, for approval at the business meeting which will follow the programs. Please forward your comments and questions regarding these materials to Mike Buettner prior to the meeting, so that the meeting, scheduled for one hour, may progress quickly. Much thought and external advice has been given to the revision of our OLHL bylaws, and it is hoped that these changes will more accurately reflect the present business methods of the OLHL.


Thursday May 16 Eastern Ohio Chapter will meet at Southern Inn in Minerva
Saturday May 18 Eastern Ohio Chapter will be painting utility poles with Lincoln Highway symbols
Saturday June 8 Eastern Ohio Chapter will sponsoring a Cross County Cruise
Thursday July 18 Eastern Ohio Chapter will meet at Steel Trolley in Lisbon

We regret that no information was available regarding future meetings of the Mid-Ohio Chapter. Please contact Mike McNaull regarding upcoming events. OLHL members in Western Ohio will continue to meet on an informal basis until it can be determined if there is enough interest to sustain a chapter in that part of the state. Hopefully, several new members will be gained as a result of the recently successful meeting in Gomer which featured the Snow Cruiser.
Please visit the OLHL website frequently to learn of schedule updates.

Thank you to LHA/OLHL member Jim Cassler and his employer The Klingstedt Brothers Company, who have donated the return envelopes that were used to mail this newsletter.

Q: In 1928, what U.S. oil company became the first to market its products in all 48 states? A: Texaco


The Ohio Lincoln Highway League is pleased to present this schedule for our eighth annual state meeting. This year's meeting will be Saturday April 27th at "Celebrations by Sallie," a small private banquet facility in Ashland (see map on back of this sheet). The meal will be $7.50 per person, which includes tax but not tip, and will include a salad bar, pasta buffet (five different pastas), dessert, and beverages. Beverages include soft drinks and coffee, and will be provided all day. Please use the form below to register your plans to attend, making checks payable to the Ohio Lincoln Highway League.
Guest speakers for the two morning programs will be Gerald Payn, who is an Abraham Lincoln re-enactor, and Jack Dixey, who will present "Stories From The Road." The afternoon sessions will have Bob Lichty discussing upcoming Lincoln Highway events of national importance, including the possibility of seeing the 2004 National Conference come to West Virginia, plus events in Ohio such as car cruises and the Ohio Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor. Before presiding over the business meeting, Mike Buettner will host a slide-show game which will lead to the traditional door prizes.
Enclosed with this mailing are the minutes from last year's meeting. Members should review these minutes for acceptance in our official records, and for purposes of additional discussion this year. Also to be reviewed is an enclosure of proposed changes to the OLHL Bylaws.


10:30am - 11:00am Arrival--registration, swapping, and fellowship

11:00am - 12:00pm Programs by Gerald Payn and Jack Dixey

12:00pm - 1:00pm Lunch (please register for lunch by completing the form below)

1:00pm - 2:00pm Programs by Bob Lichty and Mike Buettner

2:00pm - 3:00pm Annual business meeting of Ohio Lincoln Highway League
All chapter presidents should be prepared to give an annual report
All members should be prepared to vote on revisions to OLHL Bylaws, as per the enclosure

Buckeye Ramblings is the quarterly newsletter of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League, our state affiliate of the Lincoln Highway Association. Editor of this newsletter and president of the OLHL is Mike Buettner (1618 Chandler Drive/ Lima, Ohio/ 45805). Any changes of address should be forwarded to Mike. Other officers through April 2001 are Mike McNaull, Vice-President; Jim Ross, Secretary; and Mike Lester, Treasurer. State Director for the Lincoln Highway Association is Bob Lichty. For texts of back issues, plus photography and other Ohio information, visit our website at www.lincolnhighwayoh.com.