Lincoln Highway news in Iowa

Yahoo’s Roaddog reports:

The June 3rd Marshalltown Times Republican reports that the Twin Town Motel sign, which has been on US-30 since the 1950s, will be torn down shortly. The eight unit motel was torn down last year to make room for a new convenience store. Tama and Toledo are often called Iowa’s Twin Cities.

The owners of the sign are considering offering it on ebay and are open to offers from locals about the sign. Vintage neon signs are now considered to be highly collectible and a Neon Museum has even opened in Las Vegas recently. I think there is another one in Ohio.

The Twin Town Motel was built in 1954 by Fred Mohrfield on the relocated US-30 in Toledo. Next to it he had a Standard Oil Station and later the Standard Cafe was built.

He had first built a Standard station in 1932 on old 30. In 1937, he added tourist cabins and a few years later, built a motel which was later converted to apartments. A couple years ago, it was seriously damaged by fire and since leveled.

The article goes on to name some local vintage neon signs:

  • Indian headdress by King Tower Cafe in Tama- a classic!!!
  • Maid-Rite sign at Big T at the junction of 63 and 30
  • Dick’s restaurant and Champaign glass denoting the Granada Lounge was sold at auction when they closed in the 80s, but now located at the present Hardee’s site at 63 and 30

Others now gone:

  • L. Ranko Motel (now there is a great name for a motel if I’ve ever heard one)- presently it is the Budget Inn in Toledo
  • Toledo Convalescent Home
  • Henderson Funeral Home (what – a funeral home with neon?)

Article title: “Historic US 30 motel sign is ‘checking out'” by John Speer

Brian Butko reports that he took some photos of this sign three years ago. You can view them on his Flickr site:

Howard Stovall forwarded the Iowa Dept. of Transportation (IDOT) web link for their Historic Auto Trails Page I couldn’t find in the last newsletter:

The Iowa Bed and Breakfast Association website has a page featuring the Lincoln Hotel in Lowden, IA:

The Marshalltown Times Republican ran a story on September 3rd – King Tower dedication to be held on September 23. “The work is a continuation of Tama volunteers who maintain the nearby Lincoln Highway bridge historic site and promote the highway‘s history and importance. …”

[I missed this story and they only have a 7 day archive online. Anyone have a copy?]

I found this from Roaddog’s blog:

This weekend, a five year restoration project of one of the original King Tower cabins in Tama, Iowa, comes to a conclusion with its formal dedication. The King Tower continues to be a major attraction along the Lincoln Highway.

When built in 1937, it was heralded as one of the most modern truck stops in the nation. It consisted of a two story restaurant, and an adjacent filling station/garage. The filling station/garage was torn down awhile back, but the restaurant, which was air-conditioned when it was opened, still serves some great food and has that remarkable neon Indian head sign outside.

This effort has been headed up by Ron Cory, a Tama businessman with work done by a group of volunteers who also maintain the very famous and unique nearby 1915 Lincoln Highway bridge, the one with the words Lincoln Highway carved into its sides.

Originally, there were 18 cabins behind the King Tower One Stop for overnight stays by tourists. The formal dedication will take place September 23rd.

Kyle D. Gassiott, Host/Producer, Iowa Public Radio, WSUI/KSUI writes,

Hello Russell,

Thank you so much for listing my IBNA award in the Lincoln Highway Newsletter. Someone mentioned you were looking for links to my story. It aired on Weekend America on July 29, 2006.

Here’s the link to the main show page: (Third story down)

The RealPlayer link to the story:

And the link to the photos we took:

Thanks again,
Kyle has the following 1922 document online: Preliminary impact studies–Skunk River bridge on the Lincoln highway near Ames, Iowa:

Newsletter · Volume 21: Iowa

From Van & Bev Becker:

With sadness, we note the end of an era. The Lincoln Highway Orchard on the west side of Cedar Rapids where the original route joins Hwy 30, is cluttered with closed signs. Where once there were hundreds of producing apple trees, now there is only a short row on each side of the house. Only 22 trees remain.

This once-thriving business has been sacrificed to make way for a Hwy 100 bypass around the northwest side of Cedar Rapids.

The Iowa DOT apparently does not understand the difference between a one-year cycle on a field of corn and a 10+ year cycle for an orchard. We have spoken often with the owners and after years of fighting the DOT, they were flustered, fatigued and resigned to the end of their orchard and chosen way of life.

As regular customers, I guess we’re going to have to find a new source for quality apple cider. Some members will recall their cider served at our Iowa LHA meetings served at the History Center and the Cedar Rapids Library.

The Sioux City Journal reports on a new website covering Iowa auto trails:
[The link in the story doesn’t work!! If someone knows what it is please let me know.]
I was able to find IDOT’s historical on-line photo data base though at:

Iowa Public Radio News took home a number of awards in the 2006 Iowa Broadcast News Association (IBNA) and Iowa Associated Press (AP) contests, including Kyle Gassiott – 1st Place – Best Student Radio Feature – On the Road on the Lincoln Highway in Iowa. [Anyone know if this show is archived on web?]

New Gazebo adorns old gas station site in Lisbon, IA from the