The Official Newsletter of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League
Number 33 May 2002
OHIOANS ENJOY TRIPS TO CALIFORNIA
Several members of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League were able to make the long trip to Sacramento, California, for the Tenth Annual National Conference of the Lincoln Highway Association. Total attendance was 145, and included among the bus trips along the historic route was a nice driving tour of San Francisco, and a crossing of the Golden Gate Bridge, with a stop at the park on the north end.
State Director Bob Lichty and Rosemary Rubin rented a convertible and spent some extra time "driving the mountain roads and firming up some hotels and things for the 2003 National Tour, [which has been] designated an 'official' LHA event." Bob lived in both Oakland and Truckee before coming to Ohio, and said "this was the best Lincoln Highway convention I have ever attended. Even though I was into LHA then, the California group tours were wonderful. I had never hiked the early road at Donner Pass before. Donner Pass is my favorite spot on the entire road and still is. Rosemary had never been to California before and she loved it."
One of the highlight events of the convention was the setting of a new concrete post at the Western Terminus of the Lincoln Highway. All the Ohioans were pleased to be on hand for that event, and especially enjoyed visiting with displaced Ohioan Esther Oyster, a past president of both the LHA and OLHL. Esther had the privilege of being a chaperone of sorts for 91-year old Bernard Queneau, who flew in from Pittsburgh for the event. As you may recall, Bernard was one of the Boy Scouts who made a coast-to-coast tour with Gael Hoag just prior to the setting of the concrete posts in September 1928. Esther reports that "he was quite a hit at Lincoln Park" for the setting of the new post, saying that "everyone wanted photos of him with the current Boy Scout troop, then wanted his autograph on the program, then more photos with the post after it was set. They kept him busy."
Also attending from the Ohio membership were Beryl Beckett, Eileen Smith, Vivian Stitzel, and Hanni Talpas. Eileen's sister-in-law Virginia Oberecht joined them as a guest. Eileen says that she will long remember "the experience of dealing with California." Vivian especially enjoyed the walk through Donner Pass. Before their flight home, all the ladies enjoyed a tour of old Sacramento and had high praise for the California capital. They fondly recalled several miles of flower-filled median which made the Sacramento interstate route look much like a boulevard.
Jim Cassler and his young son Brian also made the trip to California. Jim's
company has accepted the contract for most of the marketing activities for the
national Lincoln Highway Association. According to Bob Lichty, "this includes
developing and marketing Lincoln Highway products, clothing, and souvenirs, to
solicit advertising for The Lincoln Highway Forum, and to sell memberships in
the national organization." Ohio members should send a note of encouragement or
a note of thanks to members such as Bob and Jim for their willingness to take on
additional tasks in advancing the cause of the national organization.
Future national conferences will be in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 2003; Chester, West Virginia, in 2004; and Ely, Nevada, in 2005. The Ohio Lincoln Highway League will join with Pennsylvania members of the Lincoln Highway Association for the planning of the 2004 event.
PETE DAVIES BOOK IS GREAT LINCOLN HIGHWAY READING
Fans of Lincoln Highway history will want to add the book American Road to their Lincoln Highway libraries. Two summers ago, Pete Davies flew across the waters from his home in West Yorkshire, England to begin a two month journey of research and travel as he followed the route of the 1919 Transcontinental Army Convoy from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco. Several colorful stories are told from Eisenhower memoirs, but the monumental struggle of getting 81 trucks and nearly 300 men across the poor roads from Iowa to Nevada is what stands out in this story. The trip "was an adventure, a circus, a public-relations coup, and a war game all rolled in to one [and] as road conditions worsened, it also became a daily battle of sweat and labor, guts and determination."
One accurate example of praise for the book comes from Carlo D'Este, author of Eisenhower: A Soldier's Life, who writes that "Pete Davies vividly portrays the dramatic saga of one of the least-known but pioneering events in twentieth-century American history: a feat of unparalleled significance when motorized travel was in its infancy and roads virtually nonexistent. I commend this book to anyone interested in a superbly told tale of real-life adventure and heroics."
Several members of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League were acknowledged for their assistance to Pete as he made his way across Ohio, including Bob Lichty, Rosemary Rubin, and Gary Pelger of the Classic Car Museum in Canton. The Ohio chapter of the book is entitled "A Revolution In Motion," which came from one of several enthusiastic quotations from Bob. Also acknowledged were Jim Ross, who showed Pete the brick road remnants east of Canton, and Richard Taylor, who impressed Pete with his collection of restored autos, plus Esther Oyster, Mike McNaull, and Mike Buettner.
The book is $26.00 and can be found in most of the larger book stores. It is
published by Henry Holt and Company out of New York, and can be ordered from
HERITAGE CORRIDOR INSTALLS NEW BOARD
At the June 2002 meeting of the Ohio Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor, the new board was installed, with John Kiste of the Canton/Stark County Convention and Visitors Bureau as president. Jim Ross reports that "if there was any notion that there would be a slow period of transition, you can dismiss that thought. From meeting one, John took control and began organizing us and our agenda with his vision." Past President Lee Tasseff has consented to host the meetings, thus the group will still have its excellent centralized location at the Mansfield Convention and Visitors Bureau.
BRICK MEMORIAL ONCE EXISTED IN CAIRO
The editor recently received an e-mail image from a researcher doing work in California which shows that as late as the early 1930s, a large brick and stone Lincoln Highway memorial once existed in Cairo, Ohio. OLHL members Herb and Alice Bushong had asked about this memorial more than once at local meetings, but until now, the editor had no knowledge of it. The impressive memorial appears to be similar in size to the Hopley Memorial in Bucyrus, and features brick pillars connected with a central stone wall. Above the pillars and wall is a stone arch with CAIRO spelled out in either stone or brick. A date stone just below that reads 192? (last letter illegible).
BOB EBBESKOTTE CO-AUTHOR'S DELPHOS BOOK
Congratulations to Bob Ebbeskotte of Delphos for his part in co-authoring a fine book entitled Reflections: A Pictorial History of Delphos, Landeck, Ottoville, and Fort Jennings, Ohio. Several Lincoln Highway references are part of the pictorial work and related text, including two photographs which feature the Lincoln Highway Dairy. Bob is a long-time active member of LHA/OLHL, and is also involved with the Delphos Canal Commission and the Miami & Erie Canal Corridor Association.
BUCYRUS TO HOST LINCOLN HIGHWAY WORKSHOP (from a press release)
On March 1, 2003, the Bucyrus Tourism and Visitors Bureau will be hosting a Lincoln Highway Workshop for the United States Department of the Interior. This will be held at the Bucyrus Middle School Auditorium from 10:00am to 2:00pm. Persons interested in the Lincoln Highway from all over Ohio will be attending this workshop. More details will be released later this year, but please mark your calendars now.
OLD NATIONAL ROAD IS NEWEST NATIONAL SCENIC BYWAY
(from Echoes, a bimonthly published by Ohio Historical Society as a benefit to its members) Federal Secretary of Transportation Norman Mineta recently designated U.S. Route 40 an All-American Road and National Scenic Byway. The designation is the highest honor a byway can receive from the federal government. A National Scenic Byway is a road or highway that offers an enjoyable and relaxing experience for travelers and possesses scenic, historic, cultural, natural, archaeological, and recreational resources. All-American Roads meet a longer list of requirements to qualify for their designation.
The National Road was the nation's first interstate highway, created in legislation put forth by President Thomas Jefferson. Construction of the original 600-mile National Road began in 1806 in Cumberland, Maryland, and ended in Vandalia, Illinois, in 1840. In Ohio, the historic route runs more than 220 miles through ten counties, and can be closely followed by driving today's U.S. 40.
In 1996, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office commissioned an inventory of
historic bridges, abandoned road sections, inns and taverns, mile markers,
tourist cabins, and other historic sites along the National Road in Ohio. The
project culminated in a plan for preserving the old National Road in Ohio.
Editor's note: I have received a copy of this impressive inventory, and hope that something similar will soon be prepared for the Lincoln Highway in Ohio.
MYSTERY PHOTO LOCATION
Last month, we asked you to guess the location of another rare sign assembly (see inset). If you guessed the location to be Ord's Corner (at the intersection of the Lincoln Highway and State Route 115) between Gomer and Cairo, you were correct.
However, Buckeye Ramblings does need to make one correction to a previous statement: The sign assembly does not meet all ODOT specifications. It seems an ODOT engineer named Fike got a little creative in the fabrication of this sign, combining a standard curve arrow with the crossroad symbol. Although each by itself meets standards, no specifications are in the manual for the combination of the two. That is why you won't see another one like it (except on the opposite side of the intersection). In tribute to his creativity, the local ODOT office has unofficially pinned the name of "Fike's Curve" on this part of State Route 115.
UPCOMING CHAPTER EVENTS
(All meetings are at 6:30 p.m.)
Thursday September 19— Eastern Ohio Chapter will meet at the park in East Rochester for a covered dish picnic. In the event of rain, the meeting will be at the Normandy Inn in Minerva
Thursday September 26— Mid-Ohio Chapter will meet at "The Cabin" 1.5 mile south of Mifflin
Thursday October 17— Eastern Ohio Chapter/Mid-Ohio Chapter will have a joint meeting at The Amish Door just east of Wooster. Mike McNaull will give a talk on "The Great Trail."
Thursday November 21— Eastern Ohio Chapter will meet at Nicole's Family Restaurant in East Canton. Tentative presentation will be a film on the 1919 Transcontinental Army Convoy.
Thursday December 19— Eastern Ohio Chapter will meet at the Spread Eagle Tavern in Hanoverton for their annual Christmas dinner meeting.
Please visit the OLHL website frequently to learn of schedule additions and 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.
NEW BRIDGE OPENS WEST OF GOMER
Although the bridge itself is contemporarily unremarkable, the fact that the bridge it replaced had some historic value has led to the placement of this granite memorial west of the project. OLHL President Mike Buettner worked with the Allen County Engineer and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office in preparing the text for the memorial.
A rainy spring delayed progress in building the new bridge, which opened in early June, four months after demolition began on the old bridge. The bridge was designed by Kohli & Kaliher Associates, Inc., of Lima (where Mike works), and was built by Fort Defiance Construction of Defiance, Ohio. This is the 12th bridge that the engineers and surveyors of Kohli & Kaliher have had a part in replacing on the historic route, including new structures from Wyandot County to Van Wert County.
The new bridge, like its predecessor, includes three spans, with eight
prestressed concrete box beams in each span, and each beam four feet wide. The
width of the new bridge is thus 32 feet; its length is just over 171 feet.
The text on the granite memorial reads as follows:
This historical bridge was built on this site in 1927 by the Allen County Engineer's Office. When
opened, it carried the Delphos-Upper Sandusky Road, U.S. Route 30, commonly referred to as the
Lincoln Highway, over the Ottawa River and served as an important transportation link for area
residents, as well as local and regional commerce.
The structure was a spandrel filled reinforced concrete arch, consisting of
three equal 70 foot clear spans supporting a 28 foot wide deck. The decorative
railing, called a balustrade, consisted of concrete spindles and cap.
At the time of removal in 2002, this structure had served the traveling public for 75 years. This monument is a tribute to the incredible workmanship of our forefathers and commemorates this magnificent structure that was a vital link on the Lincoln Highway, which was America's first transcontinental automobile route.
NEW SIGN PLACED AT CHILDREN'S GARDEN
The Children's Garden at the Allen County Museum in Lima continues to add new features along a section which features the Lincoln Highway. Last summer a concrete post was placed, as was a striped ribbon of blacktop, 105 feet in length. This season a new sign was placed under the direction of Kay Studer, a lifelong resident of the Gomer area who is now a horticulturist with the local OSU Extension office. Kay fondly remembers childhood horse rides along the Lincoln Highway, and recalls seeing the old concrete posts alongside the historic route.
The outstanding art work, highlighted by a happy child waving from a fine old roadster, is by Bill Kuhlman of Whitehouse, Ohio. Mike Buettner, whose daughter Michaela is pictured here, prepared the texts with help from Kaye's husband John, who just happened to be Mike's 7th-grade English teacher.
Future plans call for the placement of stepping stone pavers around the
monument, to be known as "The Walk Of Courage." This is in harmony with the
larger "Growing Awareness" historical garden of healing, which makes students
and the community more aware of the historical figures who have helped our
country grow and heal.
The text on the interpretive sign (not apparent in this reproduction) reads as follows:
Top: The Lincoln Highway Opened in 1913, the Lincoln Highway began in New York City, crossing 12 states and 3331 miles to reach San Francisco.
Right: The success of the Lincoln Highway led to the development of other good roads. In 1926, the government created a system of numbered highways such as U.S. Route 30, which closely follows the Lincoln Highway across Allen County and Ohio.
Bottom Left: The Lincoln Highway was dedicated to the memory of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States. He was admired by many Americans because he was a fair man who wanted all people to be free. In his memory, the Boy Scouts set concrete posts along the Lincoln Highway in 1928. Like the post nearby, each had red, white, and blue stripes with a large letter L and a Lincoln medallion.
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 2002 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.