The Official Newsletter of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League
Number 43 October 2004
"A TRULY WATERSHED DAY FOR THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY"
Over sixty people came together on September 22 at the Galion Community Theatre for a full day Lincoln Highway conference entitled "Creating New Tourism From An Old Road." Although the sometimes overlapping memberships of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League and the Ohio Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor were well represented by over one dozen fine folks, it was encouraging to see that nearly every Lincoln Highway county in Ohio was represented by a local visitor's bureau. Several speakers were on hand to cover various subjects and offer various challenges.
Mike Hocker, who makes his home in Galion, is a member of both Ohio Lincoln Highway organizations, and had a huge part in the planning of this landmark event. He believes that this will be "a truly watershed day for the Lincoln Highway." Mike also believes that "we got their attention in the right way" and that "gaining more support will be much easier in the future." He encourages all of us now to "keep pushing."
One of the first speakers on the agenda was Sharon Strouse, a community development agent with the Ohio State University Extension. She challenged the group to think about the road with respect to its commodities (the road and the view), its product ("A Sunday Drive Any Day") and its services (places to eat, sleep, and shop). Sharon's energetic presentation was a great wake up call to the convention and visitors bureau representatives who have not yet jumped on the Lincoln Highway bandwagon.
Olga Herbert, executive director of the Pennsylvania Lincoln Highway Corridor, outlined the impressive accomplishments made along the historic route in her home state, where they have endeavored to "create a buzz on a shoestring." The six counties that are part of the Pennsylvania association see the Lincoln Highway as a "200 Mile Roadside Museum," and have learned that there is often as much value in "friend raising" as there is in "fundraising." Things really seem to have hit their stride for our neighbors to the east, with the restoration of the old Coffee Pot landmark in Bedford, the painting of several barn murals throughout the corridor, and the creation of photo opportunity stops and interpretive sites at significant locations.
The group broke up into three sessions before lunch. One session
looked at tour bus strategies, with another discussing the idea of partnering
for economic success. This writer attended a third session hosted by Paul
Staley, who represented the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Scenic
Byways program. I was especially interested in learning what we should be
expecting in the way of standard signs, now that the 1928 route of the Lincoln
Highway in Ohio has been designated a historic byway. Paul suggested that the
traditional red, white, and blue Lincoln Highway sign, which is presently
allowed only on non state roads, will now be acceptable along numbered state
highways. He felt that to preserve some of the history of the route, the
traditional sign would be preferred to the standard Ohio Byway sign—a thought to
which I wholeheartedly agreed. We should also expect to see the historic byway
route indicated in green on future editions of the official state highway map.
After lunch, the group was happy to hear from Neil Zurcher, a television journalist from FOX-8 News in Cleveland. Neil has written several books on travel and tourism in Ohio and is most often recognized as the best selling author of Favorite One Tank Trips and Tales Of The Road. Being from Northwest Ohio, this writer was not familiar with Neil's work, but it was obvious that a good number of those present were delighted to have Mr. Zurcher share some of his stories and tales. Two videos with Lincoln Highway ties were shown from his television series on one tank trips.
The day closed with the unveiling of a concrete post replica on the nearby Public Square. Although Galion lost its place on the Lincoln Highway in 1921, their sense of history is such that they want to be remembered as both an original Lincoln Highway town and a part of today's tourism corridor. Ironically, the main east west street through town still carries the name of Harding Way—the end result of the controversial rerouting of the Lincoln Highway to a more direct northern route. This was yet another part of the colorful story that led to the eventual designation of 30 North and 30 South federal routes between Mansfield and Delphos, a "cumbersome compromise" which endured between 1931 and 1974.
Members of the Ohio Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor are to be wholeheartedly commended for their efforts in making this conference happen. Where the Ohio Lincoln Highway League has been unable to reach some of the tourism groups, the Heritage Corridor group has begun to find success. With this success should come an increasing awareness of the Lincoln Highway as a linear tourist destination—an awareness that completely fulfills the League goals of promoting and preserving the memory of America's First Transcontinental Automobile Route.
Thank you to LHA/OLHL member Jim Cassler and The Klingstedt Brothers Company, who have donated the return envelopes that were used to mail this newsletter. Congratulations are also in order for Jim and his associates regarding their fine work regarding the Lincoln Highway Trading Post, now the official supplier of Lincoln Highway Merchandise. Members are encouraged to visit the web site at www.LHTP.com for a look at the impressive inventory of items, which were prominently displayed during the recent meeting in Galion. One new item is this trendy oval sticker that is reminiscent of tags on European automobiles. I got one for my car.
Costs for printing and mailing this newsletter are covered entirely by LHA membership dues. Please renew your membership in the national association so that we can continue to publish news from Ohio on a regular basis.
WELCOME TO NEW O.L.H.L. MEMBERS
August 2004— Pam Dippold (Columbus); Charles and Shirley Rasor (Cairo);
and Dr. William Ryan (Boca Raton, FL)
September 2004— David W. Johnson (Salem); J. Thomas and Mary Lou Lockard (Gambier);
John and Vicky Peters (Virginia Beach, VA); and Larry Batton (Charlottesville, VA)
For information regarding chapter activities, contact Chapter President Mike McNaull at firstname.lastname@example.org or newsletter editor Beverly Looker at email@example.com
April 23, 2005— Mid-Ohio Chapter will host the 11th Annual Business Meeting of the OLHL, at a time and place to be determined. The chapter is considering Upper Sandusky as a possible location, with the hope of encouraging local participation in an area where membership is slight.
EASTERN OHIO CHAPTER:
For information regarding chapter activities, contact Chapter President Marie Malernee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-492-2053
November 11, 2004— Meeting at Bob and Rosemary's house
December 9, 2004— Annual Christmas Party at Spread Eagle Tavern in Hanoverton
MID-OHIO AND EASTERN OHIO CHAPTERS MEET IN DALTON - From report by Mike McNaull
On October 14, the two local chapters of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League held a joint meeting at Das Dutch Kitchen in Dalton. About thirty-five members and guests were present, with both chapters evenly represented. The business meeting was brief, and included a report on the OLHHC conference in Galion (as covered at top of page) by Bob Lichty. The Mid-Ohio Chapter moved to donate a set of pole-painting stencils to the Bucyrus Visitors Bureau. The stencil set is another new item available from the Lincoln Highway Trading Post (www.LHTP.com).
The speaker for the Thursday evening event was OLHL member Cloyd McNaull, the uncle of Mid-Ohio Chapter President Mike McNaull, and the brother of LHA Past-President Esther Queneau. Cloyd gave an excellent program on the subject of the Titanic, and related it to the Lincoln Highway by stating that both were big news items, even before either one of them had actually set sail. Each was the latest in transportation, and each helped to usher in a new age of prosperity and growth.
Cloyd also shared the accounts of Frank Goldsmith, Jr., a survivor of the ill-fated voyage who later would marry a cousin of Cloyd's father. Tragically, the young Frank lost his father in the Titanic disaster. On the deck of the sinking ship, the father's last words to his son were "I'll see you later, Frankie"—which unfortunately was not to be. The father's body was never recovered.
Attendance continues to range from twelve to twenty at most monthly meetings of both chapters. This is encouraging testimony that the foundation of the OLHL remains solid at the chapter level, with challenging activities and interesting programs occurring regularly in those two parts of the state. LHA members in those parts of Ohio are encouraged to be a part of, not apart from, their nearest local chapter.
(Right) Five members of the Mid-Ohio Chapter share the grilling duties at a recent summer meeting in Leesville, which has become an annual event. From left to right are Phil Johnson, Charlie Looker, Don Berringer, Don Stauffer, and Dan Ritchey.
PROGRESS BEING MADE ON NEW U.S. 30 ALIGNMENTS
On the heels of an encouraging day in Galion, this writer made it a point to check out the construction of the new four lane U.S. Route 30 alignments in Crawford County and Wyandot County. I am happy to report that work between Bucyrus and Upper Sandusky is quite far along, and all expectations are for that segment to be opened around Thanksgiving of this year. Work east of Bucyrus started several months later, and thus will likely not be completed until 2005.
With the completion of these two projects, the only two lane section of U.S. 30 that will remain west of Mansfield is about twenty five miles between Ada and Upper Sandusky. However, the future right of way is supposedly being cleared now in that swath with the hopes that work will soon be started. According to ODOT District One in Lima, the project goes out to contract in December 2004, with a projected completion in Summer 2007. Ironically, this same segment was the last part of the early Lincoln Highway in Western Ohio to be paved, in the early 1930s (see map below).
East of Mansfield, a response from ODOT District Three in Ashland indicates that a new four lane section east of Wooster is scheduled to open in 2006. This author would do cartwheels for the chance to drive the historic route in Eastern Wayne County without the congestion caused by heavy truck traffic and the growing number of stop lights.
Farther east, ODOT District Four in Ravenna reports that a segmentation of the lengthy four lane project beginning in eastern Stark County and ending in Columbiana County will allow for roadway construction to progress more quickly than if treated as one big task all the way to Lisbon. The initial separation would allow for a project to be constructed as far east as State Route 44 near East Canton. The second segment would take the route twenty miles further, to State Route 9 near Hanoverton. No construction dates were given.
Seeing the four lane route clear through to the existing limited access highway east of Lisbon still seems to be an eternity away for some of us, but I hope that I get to see it in my lifetime.
AN UNEXPECTED CHANCE TO SAY "THANK YOU"
On the occasion of a President Bush campaign visit to Lima in August 2004, OLHL President Mike Buettner had a chance to say a personal thank you to Congressman Mike Oxley (Ohio 2) for his part in getting funds for the construction of new U.S. Route 30 alignments in Northwest Ohio. Mr. Oxley, along with Canton's Ralph Regula (Ohio 14), was also instrumental in getting the bill passed by which Congress directed the National Park Service "to evaluate the significance of the Lincoln Highway and to develop alternatives for preserving, interpreting, and using its remaining features." Known as Public Law 106 563 and the Lincoln Highway Study Act of 2000, the bill was passed December 23, 2000.
This past June, this writer received a copy of the Lincoln Highway Special
Resource Study and Environmental Assessment. The study inventories over 100
items of significance along the various Lincoln Highway routes in Ohio,
including bridges, buildings, markers, as well as brick road remnants. Almost
everything of significance we have discovered through the research of our
members has been included in this inventory.
By the way, that's a great picture of Mr. Oxley; however, your editor seems to be doing an impression of a Disney chipmunk. Apparently when the image was made, he was still in the process of giving instructions to his wife on how to use the new-fangled digital camera borrowed from work. Oh, well...
1913 LINCOLN HIGHWAY ROUTE GUIDE REPRINTED
Although the first Complete Official Road Guide of the Lincoln Highway didn't appear until 1915, there was a thirty-page pamphlet published in October 1913 which described road conditions and directions for the transcontinental route. Frank H. Trego, the chief engineer among the eminent directors of the Lincoln Highway Association, is credited for the work, which contains "an appeal to the state authorities and to all officials to properly dedicate...re-mark and re-name the said described highway with the Lincoln Highway insignia." Only four pages of the booklet are devoted to a coast-to-coast description of the route, but fifteen pages cover the difficult-to-follow segments of the route in the mountainous western states. In fact, the first page of the directions takes the tourist from New York City all the way to Jefferson, Iowa— 39 percent of the 3389 miles measured between New York and San Francisco.
Trego encouraged the tourist to "follow standard guide books, except in cases where we give the necessary information." Thus, it seems essential for navigators to have had other references on hand such as the Automobile Blue Book and other auto club guides. However, because "the roads have been so altered and so many new ones built," Trego confessed that "on much of the trip we obtained our directions from local people." According to the text, Trego "made notes as we went along," with LHA President Henry Joy driving the entire distance.
Only six cities in Ohio are listed in the odometer chart, with an ominous asterisk hovering in their midst. The asterisk warns that "since this survey was made, the official route has been changed to pass through Bucyrus instead of Marion and Kenton." Undoubtedly, when Trego and Joy charted the route that was proclaimed in September 1913, much care was taken in recording mileages from point to point with the idea that they would be published as such. There is little doubt in my mind that when the proclaimed route through Ohio was revised after only three weeks, there was no time to go back to the field and record new distances, which would affect every published entry west of Ohio. It was much simpler to change one map panel to show Bucyrus' place on the revised route.
Reprints of this pamphlet are available from the Lincoln Highway Trading Post. A reduced copy of the cover appears at right, along with excerpts of the information relating to Ohio, both in chart and map form below.
(left) The new Lincoln Highway Association brochure, with significant contributions made by Ohioans Jim Cassler (Canton) and Mike Hocker (Galion). Great work by all, it is a sharp brochure!
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, either by mail or by calling his office at 419-227-1135. Other officers through April 2005 are Mike McNaull, Vice-President; Tammy Buettner, 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.