The Official Newsletter of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League
Number 50                                                                                                                            July, 2006


The enthusiastic membership of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League continues to travel well to the annual national conventions of the Lincoln Highway Association.  During the second week of this past June, at least twenty OLHL members were in attendance at some point during the Fourteenth Annual Conference of the LHA, which was held on the beautiful campus of Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.  Good attendance also came from the host state and its immediate Lincoln Highway neighbors in Illinois and Nebraska.

After a busy two days of bus tours, plus a third day featuring seminars and walking tours on and around the campus, many OLHL members remained in attendance for an awards banquet on Friday evening that will be a treasured lifelong memory for at least two Ohioans.  Both Mike Hocker and Mike Buettner were honored at that banquet with the Lincoln Highway Association’s Meritorious Achievement Award.

Mike Hocker (left) (Galion) was recognized for his leadership role in making the newly-conceived Lincoln Highway BuyWay Yard Sale event an unqualified success across Ohio—taking an idea that was first discussed in April 2005 and helping to make it a reality just four months later.  In August 2006, the second version of the popular event will add portions of Indiana to the original Ohio length.

Mike Hocker and Mike Buettner each received the Lincoln Highway Association’s “Meritorious Achievement Award” at the awards banquet of the 14th Annual Conference of the LHA. The conference was hosted by the Iowa Chapter on the beautiful campus of Coe College in Cedar Rapids. Mike and Mike join Esther Queneau (1995) and Bob Lichty (2001) as Ohioans to be honored with the association’s highest award.  Photos courtesy of Jim Cassler

Mike Buettner (right) (Lima) was recognized for his several years as president of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League, and also for his contribution of several articles to The Lincoln Highway Forum.   Mike has served as the president of the OLHL since 1998, when the group voted to split the responsibilities of the state director and the state president among two people.  At that time, Bob Lichty became the state director and Mike was elected as president.  After Bob served his limit of two terms, Marie Malernee was elected as state director.  Both Bob and Marie have been faithful in their attendance of distant national LHA events and meetings while following in the footsteps of the original State Director/President Esther Queneau.  Ironically, Bob is now serving as the national president of the Lincoln Highway Association, which made it even more special that the two Mikes were able to receive their awards with a congratulatory handshake from another Ohioan.

Next year’s conference will be held the third week of June 2007 in Fort Morgan, Colorado.  The event will be hosted by members of both the Wyoming and Nebraska chapters, under the highly regarded leadership of Jim Ranniger.  Colorado was a brief host for an alternate route of the Lincoln Highway in the mid-1910s, when a convoluted variety of loops through Greely and/or Denver provided short-lived options to travelers of that day—options which have significantly added to the colorful history of the Lincoln Highway.


Standing—Jim Cassler, Ed Cannane, Cloyd McNaull, Bob Lichty, Tom Lockard, Bernard Queneau, Mike Hocker, and Mike Buettner;

Seated—Marie Malernee, Rosemary Rubin, Mary McNaull, Esther Queneau, Nancy Hocker, and Thelma Riehle;

Kneeling—Sean Fitzsimmons and Brian Cassler (Sean, whose dad John took the picture, is from Iowa, and became fast friends with Brian);

Absent from photo—Robert and Ruth Brown, Mary Lou Lockard, John Long, Tom and Elsie Mykrantz, and Russell Rein (John and Russ were manning tables in the book room)

Image courtesy of Mike Hocker.

How many of noticed that this is the golden issue of Buckeye Ramblings, the official newsletter of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League? With that thought in mind, the editor offers this brief history of the newsletter, which is published four times each year, although no longer on a quarterly basis.

The very first issue of Buckeye Ramblings was prepared in early 1994, with Esther Oyster (now Esther Queneau) serving as editor. Esther was editor for fourteen issues, handing over the task to Gary Pelger of the Canton Classic Car Museum for issue number fifteen (Spring 1998). Mike Buettner assisted Gary with issues number sixteen through eighteen, before beginning his solo efforts in the spring of 1999. Thus, the newsletter is now in its thirteenth year of continuous publication.

The printing schedule is now set up so that the first issue of each year predates the annual state meeting; the second issue of the year reports on the state meeting while also predating the annual national conference; the third issue of the year reviews the national conference and covers other activities for the summer; the timing for the fourth issue of the year is usually in the fall, but also at the discretion of the editor.

July 20, 2006—6:30 p.m. meeting at Lowe-Volk Nature Center; State Route 598, just south of Leesville;
meat will be provided; bring covered dish, table service, and drink
August 20, 2006—Road trip to Stan Hywet (Seiberling home) in Akron; meet at 10:00 a.m. at Buehler’s
parking lot, just east of U.S. 42/U.S. 250 intersection east of Ashland
For information regarding chapter activities, contact Chapter President Mike McNaull at mmcnaull@hotmail.com or newsletter editor Beverly Looker at blooker@columbus.rr.com
July 16, 2006—Road Rally; location to be announced
September 14, 2006—Tour of Massillon Museum or Military Museum
For information regarding chapter activities, contact Chapter President Jeff Lotze at fordtractor@att.net or 330-875-2989
June 18-22, 2007CLincoln Highway Association National Conference at Fort Morgan, Colorado

August 10-12, 2006—Second Annual Buy-Way Yard Sale, in Ohio and Indiana 

From Ohio to Iowa and Back
Because of family and financial considerations, the editor has not been able to attend as many of the national LHA conferences as he would like. However, with some challenging creativity, this past June he was able to combine a kid-friendly family vacation to Chicago with a Lincoln Highway road trip to Iowa and back. This allowed him to see parts of the Lincoln Highway in two new states—Illinois and Iowa. A return trip on portions of the 1928 route of the Lincoln Highway across Indiana was also part of the itinerary. Here are some of the editor’s observations from his several days of travels in June 2006:

ILLINOIS (Thursday June 15 and Saturday June 17)
Since the Lincoln Highway Association was revived in 1992, this editor has now explored the historic route in five states. Of these five, no state has marked their portions of the Lincoln Highway better than Illinois. With the apparent assistance of the state highway department, large standard signs are posted before, during, and after each turning movement is made. Of course, when your state is known as “The Land of Lincoln,” it seems pretty wise to build on that famous nickname, which likely helped Illinois in so quickly getting a National Byway designation for their part of the Lincoln Highway.

In this trip of discoveries, our favorite stretch of the Lincoln Highway in Illinois was the forty miles between DeKalb and Dixon. We found the historical marker for the Seedling Mile near Malta on the grounds of Kishwaukee College, and then stopped at the visitor’s center in Rochelle. Father and son also enjoyed a brief train-watching stop at the Railroad Park in Rochelle, where two Union Pacific trains rattled the iron diamond in just fifteen minutes. Son Michael wanted to wait for the orange and black engines of Burlington Northern-Santa Fe (his favorite color scheme), but time did not permit that on the westbound trip. However, his patience was rewarded with a short five minute wait on the return trip home, when a consist of intermodal freight led by a pair of BNSF engines hurtled eastbound toward Chicago.

From Rochelle, we followed the oldest parts of the Lincoln Highway through Ashton and Franklin Grove. As we collected dust on the gravel road between those two small towns, another Union Pacific train blasted by us. By day’s end, we would count twenty trains on this busy railroad line that was still within view when we checked into our motel at Cedar Rapids. Of course, our visit to Franklin Grove was not complete without a stop at the LHA National Headquarters. We were not surprised to see that four traveling parties from three eastern states had signed the registry before us.

Perhaps our favorite town in Illinois was Dixon, which seems to be a fine place to call home. Without a doubt, the town was proud to be the boyhood home of Ronald Reagan. Daughter Michaela has an artistic eye, and surprisingly joined her dad in taking a picture of the famous arch over Galena Street in downtown Dixon. After her visit to six impressive sites in Chicago, she was very choosy about her photography along the Lincoln Highway. Still in Dixon, we also photographed a statue of a young and clean-shaven Abraham Lincoln that overlooked the glistening Rock River. It is said that this is the only statue of Lincoln in uniform—his military uniform while serving during the Black Hawk Wars.

IOWA (Thursday June 15 through Saturday June 17)
After a diversion to the John Deere Pavilion/Store in Moline, Illinois, we rejoined the Lincoln Highway near DeWitt, Iowa, where we turned west toward Cedar Rapids. Almost immediately we realized that our friends in Iowa have been hard at work painting the red, white, and blue stripes of the Lincoln Highway logo onto a good number of utility poles. Nearing the end of a long day, we drove the route of U.S. 30 into Cedar Rapids and saved explorations of older Lincoln Highway routes for the return trip. This was not completely by design, but after we came upon a westbound Union Pacific coal train at Wheatland, we found it fun to try to match speeds with the train, which we accomplished for the distance of nearly thirty miles to Lisbon. The train would gain on us when we slowed through Lowden, Clarence, Stanwood, and Mechanicsville, but between towns we managed to make up a little bit of ground. The excitement of pacing the train was definitely the highlight of the day for son Michael.

Lincoln Highway Bridge in Tama, Iowa, originally built in 1915; restored in 1978.  Click to enlarge.

On Friday morning, we set out with the goal of reaching the famous Lincoln Highway bridge in Tama by lunch time, and there was no problem in making that happen. Using the Iowa map pack for the first time, we followed the old alignment through Belle Plaine and points west. The Lincoln Café and George Preston’s service station were stopping points for several pictures. At Tama, I was surprised to see that the famous bridge still carries traffic. I had this erroneous mental picture that it had been bypassed and preserved in the adjacent park. Under the bridge, the children discovered and even petted a large and tired bullfrog relaxing in the shade, which they thoughtfully christened with the name of Abraham.

George Preston’s Station on Lincoln Highway in Belle Plaine, Iowa; “since 1923”  Click to enlarge.

On the Saturday return trip, we took time to follow the many turning arrows painted on the utility poles in the same line of small towns through which we had passed on Thursday. At the advice of Mike Hocker, we also stopped at the old railroad overpass in Mount Vernon (now a pedestrian bridge), where we experienced the sensation of not one, but two trains passing a short distance under our feet—also getting dusted with blasts of dirty heat from the exhaust fans of multiple engines. In Lisbon, they seemed to be having a community garage sale, and there is no question in my mind that this line of Iowa towns will someday be a vibrant part of a longer Lincoln Highway BuyWay Yard Sale event. At Wheatland, the town was getting ready for a morning parade on their two main streets, so we quickly scurried between opposing lines of lawn chairs and briefly returned to U.S. 30. In Clarence, we spotted a mural that we missed on the inbound trip (it faced west), and at Lowden the Union Pacific track gangs were getting ready to place a section of track with concrete railroad ties—something I had read about but never seen before. Several towns and many miles later, we reached the contemporary Lincolnway District at the west edge of Clinton, where a recently improved section of U.S. 30 sparkles with a good number of large stylized Lincoln Highway signs set in concrete landscaping walls.

We left Iowa by crossing the Mississippi River on the northern bridge at Clinton. The southern bridge, which carries the route of U.S. 30, was ominously closed to traffic. Not realizing that the city had two river bridges, my heart nearly sank to my stomach when I thought that I would have to detour many miles up river or down river to find my way into Illinois. I was not in the mood for a diversion like that. A quick check of a modern map calmed my fears when I found the red line of a newer northern bridge in the vicinity of the famous old Lyons-Fulton Bridge that was demolished in 1974.

INDIANA (Sunday June 18)
On Sunday morning, we headed for home on the route of the 1928 Lincoln Highway. This was the first time in ten long years that this writer was able to drive that historic route, and it brought back pleasant memories of a 1996 road trip which led to a cover story in The Lincoln Highway Forum. Because I had unthinkingly left all my Indiana maps at home, there was a renewed sense of adventure in trying to retrace the route using both instincts and memory. Thankfully, I recognized many (but not all) of the turns that took me through small towns like Hanna and Hamlet. Entering Marshall County, I was happy to see recently posted signs with the Lincoln Highway logo, so the path through Plymouth, Inwood, and Bourbon was plainly marked. An older set of logo signs similarly marked the route through Kosciusko County, and in Warsaw we stopped to update our family picture at the small park where an original concrete post memorializes the highway. In Whitley County, there were no red, white, and blue signs, but the white-on-green road name signs at most intersections confirmed our path with the Lincoln Highway. However, I did forget my way through Columbia City, where the route is unmarked and often changes direction—including one right angle turn at the county courthouse. This would certainly be a good place for a set of Lincoln Highway logo signs with turning arrows. After realizing that I had missed the courthouse turn, I improvised a bit and rediscovered the location of the 1928 route east of Columbia City at an intersection with present-day U.S. 30. From there, I was easily able to follow the old road to the outskirts of Fort Wayne. The historic route between Warsaw and Fort Wayne features several curve improvements which have rendered a series of old road remnants that remain a favorite photo subject for this writer and highway archaeologist. Upon reaching Fort Wayne, we returned to the freeway with the sad realization that our seven days of fun and adventure were about to come to an end.

Photos courtesy of Jim Cassler - Click to enlarge.

Jim Cassler and son Brian congratulate Mid-Ohio Chapter Members Michael Lester, Tom Lockard, and Mike Hocker after their victory in the first-ever Lincoln Highway Jeopardy game. The game was part of a fun-filled day of activities at the 12th Annual Meeting of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League. The meeting was held at the wonderfully restored Canton Club, high atop the old First National Bank Building in downtown Canton, and was hosted this year by the Eastern Ohio Chapter. 
Niland’s Corner, near the town of Colo in Story County, Iowa, is at the intersection of the Lincoln Highway (U.S. 30) and Jefferson Highway (U.S. 65). In its heyday, the tourist complex at that corner included a gas station and adjacent café. The restored canopy gas station features period signs and pumps reminiscent of its glory days, and the café retains its period neon sign. To read more about Niland’s Corner, see the Fall 2003 of The Lincoln Highway Forum (Volume 11, Number 1).
Youngville Station, in Benton County, Iowa, is at the intersection where U.S. 218 turns north from U.S. 30. When Gregory Franzwa published his Iowa book on the Lincoln Highway in 1995, this “enormous old hulk of a building [was] all that was left of the Youngville Station…boarded up but still open to vandalism." The Benton County Sesquicentennial Commission led the fundraising to restore the remarkable structure, which once again serves travelers on the Lincoln Highway. To read more about Youngville Station, see the Fall 2002 issue of The Lincoln Highway Forum (Volume 10, Number 1).
The old Lincoln Hotel in Lowden, Iowa, restored in 1995, is now the Lincolnway Hotel Apartments. Except for a lack of turning arrows (not necessary at this location), the red, white, and blue stripes on the light pole are typical of pole markings in this part of Iowa, making it possible for tourists to trace the earliest version of the Lincoln Highway from town to town as it repeatedly zigged and zagged across the tracks of what is now the Union Pacific Railroad. The multiple turns and railroad grade crossings in this part of Iowa are very much like the early Lincoln Highway route in Ohio that tediously zigged and zagged across the old Pennsylvania Railroad between Galion and Lima. In both states, the early zigzag routes would be replaced by monotonously straight versions of U.S. Route 30.
Lincoln Highway Trading Post Assistant Brian Cassler and Ohio State Director Marie Malernee pose for a picture on the old iron “Skew Bridge” over Calamus Creek near Calamus, Iowa. Like a similarly preserved railroad bridge in Mount Vernon, Iowa, this bridge is now closed to auto traffic. At the suggestion of Mike Hocker, this author and his family briefly stopped at the Mount Vernon bridge to admire the fast freight trains and yellow engines of the Union Pacific Railroad, which passed just below.

Shortly after the first four sheets of this issue were printed, Buckeye Ramblings received these details regarding the Eastern Ohio Chapter’s July 16 Road Rally: Participants will be meeting at 3:00 p.m. at the Christ Memorial Church Park in Robertsville. There will be a pot luck picnic following the road rally. Cost is one dollar per person, and guests are welcome.

During a research trip to the Allen County Engineer’s Office, the editor at long last discovered a set of plans which documents the fate of the brick monument in Cairo. The monument is pictured in Brian Butko’s Greetings from the Lincoln Highway book, published last year. In 1960, the state highway department prepared drawings for the widening of Main Street through the entire village of Cairo. At that time, Main Street would have carried the route of U.S. 30-North. The widening project featured a 40-foot concrete roadway with parking on both sides, including curb and gutter. To accommodate the new broad way, the project required the removal of the attractive monument that had graced the once-narrow street since 1929. Based on the drawings, the large monument would rival the Hopley Monument (Bucyrus) in size, and was located on the south side of Main Street, between the old Baltimore and Ohio Railroad (now CSX) and Railroad Street.

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, which in 2006 has begun its fifth 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.

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 re-elected along with the president through April 2007 are Mike McNaull (Ashland), Vice-President; Tammy Buettner (Lima), Secretary; and Michael Lester (Bucyrus), Treasurer. State Director for the Lincoln Highway Association is Marie Malernee (Canton). President of the Lincoln Highway Association is Bob Lichty (Canton)—the second Ohioan to hold that office. Esther Queneau (formerly of Ashland) was the first Ohioan to serve as national president. For texts of back issues, plus photography and other Ohio information, visit the web site created by Jim Ross (North Canton) at www.lincolnhighwayoh.com.

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.