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April 15, 2013 — The official Lincoln Highway Association (LHA) Centennial Celebration this summer is turning out to be an international affair.
The Lincoln Highway, begun in 1913, was the first transcontinental highway in the United States. It was the idea of Indianapolis Motor Speedway founder Carl Fisher, who, with help from industrialists Frank Seiberling (president of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.) and Henry B. Joy (president of Packard Motor Co.), envisioned an improved road stretching 3380 miles from New York City to San Francisco. Fisher established the Lincoln Highway Association on July 1, 1913 to both promote the road and fund the project.
As part of the official celebration, two automobile tours will depart from New York City on June 22 and Lincoln Park in San Francisco on June 23. They will follow the original Lincoln Highway route to Kearney, Nebraska, arriving on June 30. The tour groups include participants from Canada, England, Germany, Norway and Russia. In addition those from Lincoln Highway states (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California), participants include cars from Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Michigan, North Carolina, Texas, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
To date there are 85 cars registered for the tour. Registration is open until May 1. From Kearney, participants may continue to the other coast or return the way they came. Tour information may be found on the Internet at www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org.
Several national automobile clubs are participating in the tour. The Packards International Motor Car Club will participate in both tours. California Packards will caravan from club headquarters in Santa Ana, California to Burlingame, California for the West tour. Five other Packards will be on the East tour.
Two Packard cars owned by the Joy family will also participate. The official 1914 Lincoln Highway Packard used by Henry B. Joy, now owned by a private collector in Santa Clara, California, will participate on the first day of the West Tour from Lincoln Park in San Francisco. A 1915 Packard from the National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio does not run, but will be brought to Kearney for the Official Centennial Celebration by Passport Transport, an official tour sponsor.
More than 10 cars from the Model A Touring Club, affiliated with both the Model A Ford Club of America and the Model A Restorers Club, will participate in both tours. Those on the Western Tour will continue to New York City after a one-day stop in Kearney. On the trip east, the group will meet with other Model A clubs and stop at the newly dedicated Model A Museum at the Gilmore Car Museum in Hickory Corner, Michigan. The group will also stop at several other museums enroute to New York, concluding the trip with an end-of-tour celebration in Times Square.
Regional directors of the Lincoln and Continental Owners Club (LCOC) will host events as the East tour group passes through their territory on the way to Kearney. The LCOC and its members will carry a symbolic torch across the country to California. The torch will ultimately go to the Lincoln Motor Car Museum that is being built in Hickory Corners, Michigan.
Two other significant antique vehicles, a 1913 Stoddard Dayton and a 1916 Oldsmobile Model 44 V8 Roadster, will be trailered on the East Tour to Kearney.
The City of Kearney will host a two-day Centennial Celebration beginning June 30 with the arrival of the Centennial Auto Tours, along with hundreds of antique, classic and modified cars from local and national car clubs displayed on the brick streets of downtown Kearney. Historical re-enactors, period music and food, and national and local history will be celebrated throughout the downtown area.
The LHA official Centennial Celebration will take place July 1 at the Great Platte River Road Archway. Over I-80, the Archway attraction features the Lincoln Highway and other national transportation routes that followed the Platte Valley. The Archway campus will host the Centennial Auto Tour vehicles and others, an early 1900s tourist camp and education camp, food and craft vendors and a gala that evening.
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