The Official Newsletter of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League
Number 46                                                                                                                            July 2005

Ohioans have traveled well to twelve previous annual conferences of the Lincoln Highway Association, so it was no surprise that our state was well represented at the June 2005 event in Ely, Nevada. Both the Mid Ohio and Eastern Ohio chapters had strong representation, as the thirteenth national conference saw the promotion of outgoing state director Bob Lichty (Canton) to the office of president. Replacing Bob as our state director is Marie Malernee (also of Canton), who put together a surprise reception to honor the beginning of Bob's tenure as the assocation's chief official.

Representing Mid Ohio at the Nevada event were Cloyd and Mary Ann McNaull (Ashland), Richard and Mary Lou Taylor (Mansfield), Phil and Marilyn Johnson (Mansfield), Beryl Beckett (Apple Creek), Eileen Smith (Hayesville) and Vivian Stitzel (Ashland). OLHL and LHA Past President Esther Queneau (formerly of Ashland; now of Pittsburgh) and husband Bernie were also in attendance. Esther presented her program on "The Beautification of the Lincoln Highway." This program was based on Esther's typically diligent research for an article which she prepared several years ago. The interesting article has appeared in electronic form on the OLHL web site for several years, and now has been published in the Summer 2005 issue of The Lincoln Highway Forum.

Making the trip from Eastern Ohio were Bob Lichty and Rosemary Rubin, Marie and Ezra Malernee, Jim Cassler and son Brian (Canton), John Long (Canton)—who for so many years has faithfully helped Jim with the Trading Post, Jeff Lotze and son Jeremy (Louisville). With Marie stepping up to the position of state director, Jeff will assume the presidency of the Eastern Ohio Chapter.

Buckeye Ramblings apologizes to any Ohioan who was missed in these lists. The editor took a close look at the group photo on the cover of the recent Forum, and the only other Ohioan he thinks he spotted is Thelma Riehle, who hails from Edgerton—way up in the northwest corner of the Buckeye State, not too far from the Michigan border. Which reminds me...Michigan's Russell Rein has long been a supporter of OLHL—attending all the national conferences and nearly half of our annual state meetings through the years—so we should recognize him, too!

Thus, in attendance from the Ohio Lincoln Highway League were at least a dozen and a half of our finest members, challenging perennial powerhouse Iowa for the state with the most representation. However, if they invented a statistic which measured people miles traveled, it seems a good bet that having nineteen or so folks traveling the 2200 miles from Ohio to Nevada would get us at least one gold medal.

Ohioans who were not able to attend the national event, but were recognized as new life members of LHA, were Mike McNaull and Mike and Tammy Buettner. They join Russell Rein and Jim and Karen Cassler as OLHL members who have recently contributed life memberships to the national association. Mike had been holding out for several years just so he could claim life membership number thirty—the number of the federal highway which follows the historic route across Ohio.

Also absent, but recognized for her dedicated long time service, was Ruth Frantz of Illinois. Ruth's role as membership secretary for more than ten years has been an exceedingly important contribution to the national association. Buckeye Ramblings would like to take this opportunity to thank Ruth for her faithfulness in regularly distributing updated membership lists. These lists help make it possible for this newsletter to get to the mailboxes of LHA/OLHL members.

May 2005— Kathy Clark (Forest); William Memmer (Lakewood)
June 2005— Eagle Creek Historical Organization (Arlington); Ken and Kay Flanagan (East Canton);
Richard and Betty Huber (Minerva)
July 2005— Gomer Welsh Community Museum (Gomer); David and Martha Gotschall (Minerva)

August 6, 2005— "Cleaning of the Bricks" at old brick road remnant along Windsor Road near Mansfield
August 18, 2005— Chapter meeting at The Roadhouse west of Ontario
For information regarding chapter activities, contact Chapter President Mike McNaull at mmcnaull@hotmail.com or newsletter editor Beverly Looker at blooker@columbus.rr.com

August 14, 2005— Summer Road Rally and Picnic, by Jeff and Linda Lotze
September 8, 2005— Walking tour of East Rochester or Hanoverton
October xx, 2005— Joint meeting with Mid-Ohio Chapter, in Dalton; to be announced
November 10, 2005— Dinner at Taggart's; Meeting at Lichty/Rubin home, in Canton
December 8, 2005— Annual Christmas Dinner at Spread Eagle Tavern in Hanoverton
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 at fordtractor@att.net or 330-875-2989

August 11-13, 2005— Lincoln Highway Buy-Way Yard Sale, at a town near you
September 21, 2005— Ohio Lincoln Highway Historic Byway Statewide Tourism Conference,
at Wooster

Two years and one month after it mysteriously disappeared, the beautiful granite memorial which commemorated a historic Lincoln Highway bridge near Gomer is back in place. Acting on a backhanded tip from a too curious former renter, the owner of the property adjacent to the bridge over the Ottawa River drained an old hand dug well near a house which he had rented to this same fellow and several other local college students in 2003. At the bottom of the twenty foot well—with its two pieces separated by the fall—was the $4500 monument. After a few weeks, the county engineer finally freed up some men from their bridge crews and drainage crews to extract the submerged memorial, and on July 7, the marker was remounted on its original concrete base. A related story from the local newspaper is told at http://www.limaohio.com/story.php?IDnum=15783.

Because of the historic significance of the previous bridge, which was beyond repair or restoration, the Ohio State Historic Preservation Office had required the county to place this memorial after construction of the present bridge was completed in Spring 2002. Most local rumors had the missing marker at the bottom of the river, but OLHL President Mike Buettner—who lives just ten minutes from the site—had explored the river several times later that summer, when the water level was down, and was convinced that the marker was elsewhere. He had hoped it would somehow show up in some nearby field after the corn and wheat harvests of that summer, but that was not to be.

Mike first noticed the marker was missing while giving Gregory and Kathy Franzwa a brief tour of the area just prior to the LHA's annual conference in Fort Wayne in 2003. All three recall seeing fresh tire tracks at the site, and believed that heavy equipment was certainly used to pull the marker off its bent steel pegs. Not coincidentally, the college students who rented the nearby house that year studied at a local university where high performance mechanics—including automotive, agricultural, and construction machinery—is a specialty. The property owner recalls that his renters hosted a party at the house the same weekend that the marker disappeared. Thus, it doesn't take too much imagination to envision a few tanked up college guys taking some piece of heavy machinery out for a wild ride while making off with a local treasure and trying to figure out what to do with it.

The question begs, then...Why, after two years, did someone finally offer a tip as to the location of the missing monument? Mike Buettner speculates that the 2005 tipster was swayed by a similar act of vandalism in another nearby town—where some fool spray painted a beloved Civil War memorial statue. That crime received a huge amount of media attention, with the promise of reward money through the county sheriff's Crimestoppers program. That criminal was soon caught. Rewards had similarly been offered in 2003 for information about the Gomer crime, but it apparently took two years for dollar signs to light up the eyes of one former renter.

Mike isn't sure if the sheriff will be investigating the matter any further, and believes that no reward money was distributed. Right now, he is just happy to see a somewhat chipped, but no less impressive memorial, back in its rightful place.

Photographs courtesy of the Allen County Engineer's Office; the county workers who performed the recovery operation were John Basinger, Dave Houchin, Doug Vandemark, and Mike Stechschulte. Mike was given the task of being lowered into the pumped-out well to harness the monument.

A crowd of over 250 people sit or stood for nearly an hour under a tent pitched on the new eastbound lanes of four-lane U.S. 30 near Bucyrus, as fifteen miles of new four-lane highway were opened on August 4, 2005. Despite the 85 degree heat, dignitaries took nearly one hour to thank everyone and anyone for a job well done (deservedly so), and then the group moved to the westbound lanes for the official opening of the road. ODOT District Three Deputy Director Tom O'Leary was master of ceremonies, which included former Governor and now Senator George Voinovich and several politicians. Congressman Mike Oxley interjected some memorably unique energy into the otherwise typical tent proceedings by asking the attendees to give their neighbors high-fives. Congressman Paul Gilmour thoughtfully challenged the crowd to think of the highway "as not just a road, but a ribbon of prosperity."

Speaking of ribbons, this ceremony broke from tradition by having the several dignitaries ply their scissors not through a ribbon, but through a three-foot wide, twenty-foot long banner that essentially mapped the old and new roads. The map featured the cities and towns most affected by the new route—Bucyrus, Galion, and Crestline. The fifteen miles of new road, with no at-grade intersections (I like that), stretches from the east terminus of the Bucyrus bypass to the Fourth Street interchange between Crestline and Ontario, west of Mansfield. With the completion of this project, travelers can negotiate a four-lane version of U.S. 30 from the west side of Upper Sandusky to the east side of Wooster. Work is in progress now to extend the four-lane highway east of Wooster. Work also is under way to close the last gap of limited access highway between Ada and Upper Sandusky.

Senator Voinovich

Banner cutting with several scissors—all shapes and sizes.

Congressmen Oxley and Gilmour

Mike Hocker, and Brian and Jim Cassler make the long walk back to their vehicles before traffic is released ODOT workers finish posting new signs at the interchange north of Galion

(1) Senator Voinovich; (2) Banner cutting with several scissors—all shapes and sizes; (3) Congressmen Oxley and Gilmour; (4) Mike Hocker, and Brian and Jim Cassler make the long walk back to their vehicles before traffic is released; (5) ODOT workers finish posting new signs at the interchange north of Galion

Actually, Brian was greeted just a few storefronts away from the Lincoln Highway (Fourth Street version), where a small but enthusiastic crowd had gathered at Main Street Books in the Carousel District of downtown Mansfield. Brian was making his second stop on a cross county tour promoting his latest book Greetings From The Lincoln Highway. The book is a must for all present and future Lincoln Highway fans, and is certainly the most significant national Lincoln Highway work since Drake Hokanson helped revive interest in the historic route with his 1988 work The Lincoln Highway: Main Street Across America. Color photographs and post card reproductions abound in the book, with detailed texts and maps tracing the most important Lincoln Highway routes.

The June 23rd book signing followed on the heels of the monthly meeting of the Mid Ohio Chapter, which saw about two dozen folks shoehorned into the nearby Walnut Lounge. Chapter President Mike McNaull turned the meeting over to Richard Taylor, who shared stories of back roads adventure while touring in Nevada prior to the national conference. Several other chapter members (see related story on sheet one) also recalled highlights from the Nevada event.

After dinner, the whole group traveled one block east to greet Brian at the book store and share stories of the Lincoln Highway. The chapter set up a display table in the book store to help introduce locals to the activities of the Lincoln Highway Association, which included brochures, plus several items collected by Richard Taylor, and Michael Lester's compilation of post cards.

Brian Butko photo by Mike Hocker


When Chuck Brunkhart, Village Administrator of Forest, attended the annual state meeting in April to propose an across the state yard sale on the Lincoln Highway in Ohio, probably no one envisioned how well the idea would take off. But take off it has, with Mike Hocker, Executive Director of the Ohio Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor (OLHHC), excitedly reporting that "this thing is getting a life of its own already...my phone is ringing off the hook." Many of the visitors bureaus and chambers of commerce along the newly designated Lincoln Highway Historic Byway have become very enthusiastic about having their own "Buy Way" corridor.

Although the event will be organized only for Ohio this year, Mike feels "it is only natural to extend it across the thirteen Lincoln Highway states next year." Organizations such as churches and service groups have been invited to set up space to sell snacks and drinks, and the OLHHC will be offering a line of "Buy Way" merchandise.

Several locations are being "really creative" in their promotions. The Minerva Scenic Railway "is running a special event and boarding and deboarding shoppers at a large yard sale along the tracks." According to Mike, "Wooster is talking about a chain saw carving event, and some towns have moved the week of their community yard sales to match this one."

The event has been scheduled to run from Thursday August 11 through Sunday August 13. If you are interested in being a part of the event, or want to learn more, call the OLHHC at 419 468 6773, or visit their web site at www.LHbuyway.com.
Buy-Way graphic is courtesy of Mike Hocker/OLHHC

As noted in the Summer 2005 issue of The Lincoln Highway Forum, LHA members Paul Gilger, Jan Shupert Arick, and Russell Rein have compiled a list of twenty-one trivia questions on the subject of the Lincoln Highway. Although Ohio can not boast of a highest or lowest point, or northernmost or southernmost point on the transcontinental highway—and is nearly shut out when compiling the answers—there is one interesting tidbit that your editor has discovered while tallying the mileages of all the various Lincoln Highway routes that have crossed the state. That is, Ohio has as much abandoned mileage as it does final mileage—the "final" route being the one marked with concrete posts in September 1928.

Using the charts from A History and Road Guide of the Lincoln Highway in Ohio, the final route of the Lincoln Highway measures 242 miles. That distance begins at the foot of the dismantled Chester Bridge in East Liverpool and ends at the Indiana state line. In a neat coincidence, there were 241 concrete posts placed along that route—about as close to one per mile as you could get. Although many folks refer to the concrete posts as mileposts, they were often several miles apart—being placed in pairs at all turns, and also a few miles apart in long, straight stretches of the road.

Interestingly, at least another 242 miles of Ohio roadway has been part of the several Lincoln Highway alignments abandoned between 1913 and 1928. Many of these miles were charted as alternate routes in the road guide project, such as the early variations—and variations of variations—which passed through Ashland, Galion, Ada, and Lima. There are other abandoned segments which were not charted, such as the short lived route through Marion and Kenton. This "originally proclaimed" alignment existed on paper for just three short weeks in September 1913, and although it was likely never signed as the Lincoln Highway, it nevertheless was a part of the historic highway. In fact, the Marion Kenton route still shows up on Lincoln Highway maps dated as late as 1915, such as the map on the inside back cover of Brian Butko's new book.

Other mileages considered, but not submitted to the triumverate as part of Ohio's final tally, are from the two official Lincoln Highway detour routes. Both of these detours were followed by the Army convoy in 1919—the first detour passing through East Palestine, Columbiana, Salem, Alliance, and Louisville to rejoin the route at Canton; and the second detour passing through Olivesburg between Ashland and Mansfield. If considered, these detours would add another 70 miles to the tally of Lincoln Highway miles in Ohio—rendering an astounding 550 miles of total routings in a state that is only 225 miles wide. The detours were official to the point that Rand McNally auto trails maps continued to show these alternate routes with Lincoln Highway symbols well into the 1920s.

Finally, if we in Ohio wanted to be really greedy, we could throw in the four-lane mileages of U.S. 30 which have intermittently bypassed the traditional routes. After all, there is an administrative action of the Ohio State Director of Highways, dated August 1, 1930, that basically states that the route of U.S. 30 in Ohio—wherever it may be at a given time—is the route of the Lincoln Highway. But this author finds simple satisfaction in the fact that despite all the potential snags of semantics to determine a correct grand total, Ohio has as many abandoned miles as it does final miles of the Lincoln Highway. It would be interesting to see if any other Lincoln Highway state could make that claim.

To learn more about the Galion to Lima route via Marion and Kenton, a route which became the Harding Highway, see the new article now posted on the OLHL web site at www.LincolnHighwayOh.com.

At right is one of the symbols used to mark the route of the Harding Highway, copied from the 1926 Rand McNally Auto Road Map of Ohio.

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.