Postcard Scenes of the Lincoln Highway
The Closest You'll Get to the Way It Was
By George Clark
Postcards from George Clark
In 1931, a tunnel was blasted through Cave Rock, thus eliminating the treacherous stretch of roadway which carried the Lincoln Highway around the rock. This photo was taken in the mid-thirties (see what appears to be a 1936 Ford traveling east on what was then US 50). In 1957, a second tunnel was constructed allowing each tunnel to carry one-way traffic. A section of the old Lincoln Highway can be glimpsed -- note the stonework supporting the roadway approach to the bridge and the roadside guardrail. Leon Schegg, a Lincoln Highway Association member from Truckee, California, tells us that the bridge section is too far gone and that it would be foolhardy to attempt to walk it (note to Jack Duncan: do not attempt to talk a tour bus operator into following this original route).
The caption on the reverse of this card reads, "The Lincoln Highway rises at times to an elevation of 500 feet above the Lake, affording wonderful effects of distance and color." According to Edward Scott, author of The Saga Of Lake Tahoe, the Lincoln Highway section around Cave Rock was a sheer four-hundred feet above the surface of the lake.
This photo was probably taken in the early to mid-1920s. The Ferry Building was completed in 1898 and was not built to accommodate automobiles, thus docks being used during the construction phase were later modified to accommodate the new automobile ferries. Note the reddish building in the foreground to which is affixed a sign, "Southern Pacific Auto Ferries". In the lower right-hand corner of the card you can see a wooden canopy under which autos would be guided to the appropriate destination lane -- to Richmond, to Oakland-Piedmont, to Alameda, and to Oakland-Broadway, route of the Lincoln Highway.
An earlier postcard has come to light relative to the western terminus of the Lincoin Highway. Taken by Gabriel Moulin, San Francisco's renown historian-photographer, the caption on the reverse reads, "End of the Lincoln Highway from the California Palace of the Legion of Honor". It would appear it was taken sometime between 1924, the year the Palace opened, and early 1928, before the Boy Scouts positioned the western terminus marker at the foot of the statue in the background. Vehicles shown seem to be of that vintage. Michael Lester, of the Ohio Chapter, has the best postcard of that marker (see Lincoln Highway Forum, Winter/Spring 2001, p. 33). His card depicts a reflecting pool behind the shrubbery, and none is shown here. Indeed, the flagpole bears a bronze plaque announcing the end of the Lincoln Highway; however, that plaque is not discernible in this scene.