The Official Newsletter of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League
Number 45 May 2005
LARGE GROUP IN ATTENDANCE AT ANNUAL STATE MEETING
The largest attendance in recent years was just one of the highlights of the 11th Annual State Meeting of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League, as fifty-five members and guests gathered on an oddly cold and snowy Saturday in late April at the Pour House in downtown Upper Sandusky. Hosted by the Mid Ohio Chapter of OLHL, and led by committee co chairmen Howard Donbar, Mike Hocker, and Charlie Looker, the well promoted and well planned meeting brought in numerous guests and prospective new members from the local community, plus representatives from at least two visitors' bureaus.
An excerpt from the Upper Sandusky visitor's brochure
(right), entitled A Great
Place To Plant Your Family Tree, here featuring a photograph of the county
courthouse, plus the Lincoln Highway/Ohio Historical Society marker (located
just east of downtown at a brick road remnant), conceived and sponsored by the OLHL and OHS through the Ohio Bicentennial Commission's Longaberger Initiative;
This event raised the bar back to where it should be with respect to attendance at state meetings, and the Mid Ohio Chapter, led by President Mike McNaull and the planning committee triumvirate, deserve hearty accolades for their efforts in getting the word out in a way that truly made a difference. The colorful post cards and flyers that were mailed out over the span of two months leading up to the event proved to be an excellent idea, with several OLHL members from various parts of the state attending a state meeting for the first time.
After the introductory ceremonies, Mike Buettner presided over an eighty minute long annual business meeting before adjourning for a fine noontime meal. The afternoon featured a Lincoln Highway trivia game, with a wealth of door prizes given out on behalf of an impressive list of generous sponsors. Attendees then had the option of touring as many as three local attractions— the beautifully restored interior of the Wyandot County Courthouse; the Wyandot County Historical Society Museum (which has a shortened Lincoln Highway concrete post at the front gate); and the Wyandott [sic] Mission Church and Cemetery. Built with government funds in 1824, and used by the Wyandott Indians until their removal in 1843, the church is recognized as the first Methodist Mission in America. All three attractions were opened by special arrangement for the day's events, and the OLHL thanks our local hosts for allowing us the privilege of visiting their sites.
A post card (left) featuring the Wyandott Mission Church, as depicted in an 1887 painting by Frank H. Halbedel. The church was vacated by the Indians in 1843, but rebuilt in 1889. In 1960 the church was dedicated a National Shrine of the Methodist Church.
Items discussed during the business meeting included yearly summaries of the activities of the two Ohio chapters of OLHL— the host Mid Ohio Chapter; and next year's host, the Eastern Ohio Chapter. It was announced that Jeff Lotze will be taking over as president of the Eastern Ohio Chapter, with immediate past president Marie Malernee having been nominated to step up to become our new state director, replacing Bob Lichty. Bob, who has diligently and faithfully served his limit of terms as state director, will be installed as the national president of the Lincoln Highway Association at the upcoming national convention in early June.
Also on the agenda were progress reports regarding the placement of signs on the newly designated Lincoln Highway Historic Byway (part of the Ohio Scenic Byway program), the status of the National Park Service Study of the Lincoln Highway, and the exciting and groundbreaking year enjoyed by the Ohio Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor.
The official sign (right) fabricated by ODOT for the Lincoln Highway Historic Byway, which was unveiled for the first time to many OLHL members. Keep in mind that ODOT forces can only post signs on their network of state highways. OLHL members need to encourage county and other local officials to get signs posted on roads not maintained by ODOT;
New business included a proposal for big barn signs featuring
the Lincoln Highway logo, a proposal for a Lincoln Highway garage sale day along
the whole length of the highway, and a report on the inevitable closure of the
landmark Lincoln Highway bridge in Van Wert County— the one with the signs in
the parapet walls. Larry Webb and Mike Buettner are working with Van Wert County
and the Ohio Department of Transportation to discuss how potentially landlocked
areas west of the bridge can be accessed without removal of this historic
As has been customary, the officers of the past year were asked to continue their terms through April 2006. Those officers are listed at the bottom of this sheet. Regarding appointed positions, Mike Buettner will continue as newsletter editor, and Jim Ross will continue as webmaster. Anyone interested in reviewing the treasurer's report and the minutes of this year's annual business meeting, or for any previous meeting, can contact the president, who is responsible for the safe keeping of all such records.
WELCOME TO NEW O.L.H.L. MEMBERS
April 2005— Tyge Jantzen (Senningerberg, Luxembourg); Terry M. Martin (Leavittsburg, Ohio)
As of September 2004, there are 166 LHA members with Ohio addresses; we have moved up from third place on the national roster of states, and are now second only to Iowa, which has 181.
June 23, 2005— Meeting at 6:00 p.m. at Walnut Lounge in Mansfield; followed by visit to Main Street Books, where Brian Butko will be signing his newest book, Greetings From The Lincoln Highway (see sheet 3). All OLHL members are invited to attend. Let's campaign for new members!
For information regarding chapter activities, contact Chapter President Mike McNaull or newsletter editor Beverly Looker.
EASTERN OHIO CHAPTER:
May 12, 2005— Pole Painting; Place to be announced
June 4, 2005— Stark County Lincoln Highway Cross-County Cruise
June 16, 2005— Meeting at Minerva Scenic Railway; museum tour and train ride
April 22 or 29, 2006— Eastern Ohio Chapter will host the 12th Annual Business Meeting of the OLHL, at a time and place to be announced by the end of this year.
For information regarding chapter activities, contact Chapter President Jeff Lotze or 330-875-2989
June 7-11, 2005— Lincoln Highway Association National Conference at Ely, Nevada;
Ohio's State Director Bob Lichty will be installed as LHA National President;
See group travel itinerary below
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 remain in order for Jim and his associates for continuing their fine work with the Lincoln Highway Trading Post, now in their fourth year as 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 now includes a center-wire binder for your collection of Lincoln Highway Forum.
Costs for printing and mailing the 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.
BREEZEWOOD, PA— A GOOD PLACE TO LEAVE THE FOUR-LANE
Anyone traveling from Ohio to Washington, D.C. is likely familiar with Breezewood, Pennsylvania. That's the place where you exit the Pennsylvania Turnpike, pay your toll, then follow the I-70 signs northerly and even westerly in and out of that still-small "Town of Motels" before resuming southerly on a toll-free four-lane road. In the years before the toll road, Breezewood was not much more than a wide spot on the Lincoln Highway, but the opening of the turnpike in 1940 and its exit to Breezewood saw the birth of an oasis for tourists, with now perhaps the only stop light on the entire length of I-70.
Interestingly, the original exit (see X on map) and eleven miles of the original turnpike (see A on map) were abandoned in 1968 in favor of a new route which bypassed two tunnels. The Rays Hill Tunnel (see T on map) was about 2/3-mile long, and the Sideling Hill Tunnel (east of map area) measured about 6600 feet, and had become bottlenecks as two-lane portions of an otherwise four-lane road. Rather than bore two miles of new tubes, the transportation department chose to bypass the pair of congested two-lane tunnels with a new alignment of tunnel-free four-lane road (see 76 on map).
In a 2001 Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article by Tom Gibb (see link at www.brianbutko.com) it was reported that "in semiretirement [the abandoned turnpike] hosted highway safety experts who wrecked cars for science and a crew that filmed a tire commercial in a tunnel." Gibb also reports that this old stretch of road was "the birthplace of roadside rumble strips that alert drivers who drift onto the berm."
Today's toll road runs a higher line, and passes under the Lincoln Highway at a point near the location of Bill's Place (see B on map), a famous stop on the historic highway that collectors of today now recall fondly for its post cards and souvenirs. Remnants of both the Lincoln Highway and the earlier Forbes Road survive nearby. Brian Butko documents the area well in his Pennsylvania Traveler's Guide for the Lincoln Highway (cover shown at lower right of map).
It was from this book— Brian's first specific to the Lincoln Highway— that this writer was amused to learn that a Bittner (likely an more-anglicized version of Buettner) was once the owner of the Gateway restaurant and hotel in Breezewood. Thus, for all kinds of reasons, this small crossroads town has a lot to look for in a little bit of space, and will surely be a stop on our future family trips to the east.
MINI-TOUR ARRANGED FOR TRAVELERS TO NEVADA CONVENTION
Ohio Director, Bob Lichty, and his wife Rosemary Rubin have arranged a mini-tour toward Ely, Nevada, to arrive in time for the convention Tuesday, June 7, 2005. The tour will not have any pre-arranged events or sightseeing, but will arrange for a block of hotel rooms each night at a discount rate for members to book on their own. Participants may join at any point. There will not be a tour book or maps provided, but copies of the 2003 Cross-Country Tour Book are still available from the Lincoln Highway Trading Post by visiting their website at www.LHTP.com or by calling them at 1-800-454-8319. Some of the hotels are the same ones used during the 2003 tour.
Locals are also encouraged to meet the travelers at the pre-arranged hotels for
greetings. For those starting from the east, the first night will be at the
Canton Marriott McKinley Grande on Thursday, June 2, in Canton, Ohio. The
Eastern Ohio chapter will greet the travelers at 6:00 p.m. at Motorcar Portfolio
in the lower level of the hotel for a reception.
The hotels holding rooms are as follows:
Thursday, June 2 Canton, Ohio 1-330-453-8900
Canton Marriott McKinley Grande Ask for Bob Lichty or 220 Market Avenue South Megan Boyd Canton, Ohio
$79.00 plus tax
Friday, June 3 Dixon, Illinois 1-815-288-2001
Comfort Inn & Quality Inn Mention LHA
154 Plaza Drive
$77.00 plus tax
Includes hot breakfast buffet
Saturday, June 4 Grand Island, Nebraska 1-800-548-5542
Holiday Inn Midtown Code LHA
2503 South Locust
Grand Island, Nebraska
$64.00 plus tax
Sunday, June 5 Laramie, Wyoming 1-307-742-6611
Ramada Center Hotel Code LHA
2313 Soldier Springs Road
$69.00 plus tax
Monday, June 6 Wendover, Nevada 1-800-217-0049
Peppermill Hotel & Casino Ext. 6658
680 Wendover Blvd Ask for Teresa
Wendover, Nevada Mention LHA
$34.95 plus tax
For those choosing to do some extra sightseeing, maps and suggested attractions will be available for the journey from Wendover to Ely, which is about 100 miles.
All participants must make their own hotel reservations by calling the numbers listed. Except for the Canton Marriott, always request the special Lincoln Highway group rate, and refer to the code. The block of rooms will be held at all the hotels until May 15, 2005. After that they will be released to the public. For more information, contact Rosemary Rubin.
For anyone desiring campgrounds along the route, a listing is provided in the 2003 tour book available from the Lincoln Highway Trading Post.
BRIAN BUTKO BEGINS BOOK TOUR IN JUNE
Author, historian, and Lincoln Highway Association member Brian Butko will soon begin a week long tour through several Lincoln Highway locations to promote his newest book Greetings From The Lincoln Highway. Ohio members are encouraged to visit Brian for a book signing at Main Street Books in Mansfield on Thursday June 23. By a wonderful coincidence, the monthly meeting of the Mid-Ohio Chapter of the OLHL is that same evening, and everyone is invited to attend the chapter meeting at The Walnut Lounge before heading one block down the street for the book event. Brian regretfully declined a dinner invitation, saying "I'll be traveling with my family and there's no telling where we'll be until the 7 p.m. start! Probably at the carousel!"
Brian is affiliated with the Historical Society of Western Pennsylvania, and is the editor of Western Pennsylvania History magazine. He is also affiliated with the Pittsburgh Regional History Center. This will be his third venture into Mansfield for a book signing, where previously he had "lines out the door" to promote Klondikes, Chipped Ham and Skyscraper Cones: The Story of Isaly's. Lincoln Highway members will also recall Brian's work in preparing two editions of The Lincoln Highway Pennsylvania Traveler's Guide and also Diners of Pennsylvania, which was co-written with Kevin Patrick. Stackpole Books has been the publisher for all volumes.
Brian also maintains an interesting web site where one can learn more about his past, present, and future projects. This reader particularly enjoyed a story from a specially arranged 2001 tour of an abandoned portion of the Pennsylvania Turnpike between Breezewood and Sideling Hill, including several views in and around two abandoned tunnels. The abandoned roadway was to be converted into a bike path. See sheet six for a related story featuring that area.
Buckeye Ramblings is the newsletter of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League, our state affiliate of the Lincoln Highway Association, and is published four times per year. 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 2006 are Mike McNaull, Vice-President; Tammy Buettner, Secretary; and Michael Lester, Treasurer. State Director for the Lincoln Highway Association (until June) is Bob Lichty. Marie Malernee has been nominated as our next state director. For texts of back issues, plus photography and other Ohio information, visit our website at www.lincolnhighwayoh.com.