The above photo from our fall 2008 Forum shows the Terminus at the Palace of the Legion of Honor in San Francisco. We know this photo is from after 1928 as The Boy Scouts placed the concrete terminus post all across the county in 1928. In 1917 a flag pole was erected to the memory of Betsy Ross, creator of the flag of the United States. We can see the pole and base in the photo above. Attached are two bronze plaques on the side facing the Palace. On the side facing us, the bronze plaque read, “END OF THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY.” In the 1970s, someone removed the flagpole and concrete base and lost the components, until now!
Our attentive members, located in the eastern part of the country, noticed this item for sale and notified our California Chapter of the LHA of its existence. I had the great honor to retrieve the object and save it for the Lincoln Highway Association. Gaze upon the beauty below.
The object is bronze and has been bent slightly on the right side due to being torn off the concrete in the 1970s. There are some etched scratches on the top left from what we believe was a back-hoe pulling it off the base. The bronze has taken on an aged patina since being exposed to the damp San Francisco weather between 1917 and the 1970s. This history makes the object the longest lasting of all the various terminus signs or markers placed at this location.
The photo on the cover of The Forum is seen above with an arrow showing the location of the bronze “END OF THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY” plaque. The bushes behind the flagpole are hiding the fountain, which still stands today. The shrubs have long since been removed.
We took the bronze plaque over to the replica concrete Terminus post, installed in 2002 by the California Chapter of the Lincoln Highway. While all the markers and signs describe this spot as the “Terminus” of the Lincoln Highway, the plaque is the only one that says’s “END OF THE LINCOLN HIGHWAY.”
This fantastic find will now be available for viewing and saved for posterity by the Lincoln Highway Association. To read more about the Terminus and this plaque, check out the June 2014 issue of the California Chapter’s newsletter, “The Traveler,” here. The article starts on page 17.
Automobile tourists visited the Mountain Inn thirty-five miles east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on the Lincoln Highway c.1920s. Imagine hopping into your auto and heading out of town into the country, all on your schedule.
With the Lincoln Highway dedication on October 31, 1913, towns along the way had huge celebrations like this one in Ohio. Imagine the fun! “Onion eating contest,” “nail driving race, for ladies,” and “The biggest torchlight processions since the days of the Civil War.” At this date, some of the attendees might have very well been alive to see those Civil War processions.
In the early days of automobile travel, various auto associations signed sections of the highway so the new”autoists” could find their way. In the above photos, we see the California Auto Association putting up some of our signs, likely in the early c. 1920s.
Autos headed east on the Lincoln Highway at Donner Summit c. 1920s. Notice the railroad snow sheds and the subway at the left. The highway wasn’t plowed until the 1930s. Locals in Truckee would hand dig and apply soot (black stuff on snow ) to help early melting.
If Amor Towles’s new novel, “Lincoln Highway,” has fired up your wanderlust and you want to learn more about the old road, check out this link to the author’s web page. Full of fantastic photographs and history of the highway. Check out this map which is featured at the beginning of the book.
The photo above shows Monica Pitsenberger, California Chapter, touching up a replica marker at Big Bend in the High Sierra of California. The Lincoln Highway Association (LHA) comprises members who are passionate about road history and seeing it preserved. When you join the Association, you will work with your state chapter to encourage markers and signs to be placed along your section of the highway.
Here in California, as with the other Lincoln Highway states, members petition local authorities to help recognize the highway. Often monuments and signs need repair or repainting, and it’s the members of the various chapters that get the work done. If you like to see history saved and even brought back to life, then the LHA is just the organization for you. You can join online here.
Those planning a vacation trip along the nation’s first highway can now identify the locations of RV campgrounds using the homepage association’s website: www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org. Clicking on the blue tent symbol at any point along the national route displays the name and address of the campground in a pop-up box.
Established in 1913, the Lincoln Highway still exists in its many forms, clearly marked and offering a taste of motor travel as it existed before the Interstates.
Experience it a piece at a time in one or more of the 13 states through which it passes, between Times Square and San Francisco.
The online integrated map can help plan a trip and guide travelers along the way. Thousands travel over the route every year. Get off the four-lane whenever you wish and pick a more relaxed way to motor through the towns and villages that carry that unique taste of Americana.
There are hundreds of stop-over choices along the way including, historical attractions, sites of interest, and camping locations liberally situated. It’s the road that challenged the way Americans traveled, and it’s waiting for new explorers today: driveable, prosperous, and ready to host a most pleasant, informative, and memorable adventure.
For more information contact:
John Jackson, Marketing Section
Lincoln Highway Association
PO Box 1326
Delaware, Ohio 43105
Summer is almost upon us, and you know what that means Road Trip! This video is the work of a father and son who took three days to follow Highway 50 across Nevada. The route of Highway 50 follows in many places the older Lincoln Highway. In the video, we will see several Lincoln Highway posts and other attractions along the way. Enjoy!