Newsletter · Volume 21: Illinois markers

Longtime LHA member and author Lowell Nissley writes:

“Thanks for all your hard work in keeping us informed on what’s happening along the LH. In the last issue of the FORUM I noticed an article on Illinois markers (page 43). The article says that the markers were “Designed by the Jensen Corporation, a landscape architect firm in Ravinia, Illinois.” Does this give a legitimate clue as to who made and where the posts were made?

Here’s my thoughts:

The Jensen Corporation is undoubtedly Jen Jensen, the noted Prairie – Arts & Crafts style landscape architect, who was previously associated with the Lincoln Highway Assoc. at least back to 1917. Jensen’s papers were destroyed in a fire, but his drawings and blueprints were saved and donated to the Bentley Historical Library which is located on the North Campus of the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. See: and

Among his drawing are two large (approx. 2 ft × 6 ft) suggested plantings for the Lincoln Highway along a meadow, and along a prairie, from 1917. There is also a complete set of blueprints of the Ideal Section (from the Fed Hwy Admin), plus many Ideal Section drawings including those for the Ostermann Memorial bench, and plans and drawings for the unrealized Ideal Section Campground. The U of M Special Collections Library also has a nice matted and framed colored drawing of the Ideal Section Campground that was part of the LHA holdings. Alas, the Jensen holdings have no mention of the concrete markers. Also at the Bentley are the archives of Henry Joy, including his photo albums of his 1915 LH trip.

In the LHA holdings at U of M’s Special Collections’ LHA Holding is a “marker” file. In it was only a small blueprint of a rough drawing of a top part of a marker.

The secret to finding out where the markers were made may be in the papers of the Whitehead & Hoag Company who made the bronze Lincoln medallion inserts. They were located in Newark, may have went out of business in 1959, and the location of their papers, if they still exist, is unknown.

Lowell’s book Lincoln Highway, The Road My Father Traveled won an award from the Independent Publishers Book Review in the travel category.

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