100th Anniversary Tour

Association celebrates Old Lincoln Highway's 100th anniversary with cross-country tour

2013-06-27T20:30:00Z 2013-06-27T23:42:24Z Association celebrates Old Lincoln Highway's 100th anniversary with cross-country tourAnna Ortiz anna.ortiz@nwi.com nwitimes.com
June 27, 2013 8:30 pm  • 

Those from the region are all too familiar with the stop-and-go traffic of U.S. 30, but what they may not know is a stretch of history can be found right off the bustling lanes.

The Old Lincoln Highway is turning 100, and the Lincoln Highway Association is celebrating America's first transcontinental highway with a cross-country tour along the historical route.

On Thursday, the 2013 Lincoln Highway 100th Anniversary Tour stopped at the Woods Historic Grist Mill at Deep River County Park in Hobart.

The participants toured the mill, which was decorated with newspaper clippings and information about the highway.

"I'm really happy they stopped by, because we are a part of the Old Lincoln Highway," said Joanna Shearer, park historical programmer. "It means a lot for us."

John Wood, who built the mill in 1835, was involved with the building of Lincoln Highway, she said. Wood was on the commission that constructed Lincoln Highway, and he purposefully planned the route to go by his business. 

"You'll notice how the highway has several turns and curves," Shearer said. "It's because influential people said, 'It's going to go in front of my business,' when it was planned."

Shearer said covered wagons once lined the highway in convoys, traveling cross-country. While the approximately 72 cars on the tour may not be horse-drawn, many of them are older models without the conveniences of air conditioning.

Andrew Harvey, of Clarion, Pa., is driving the route in his 1940 Lincoln Zephyr.

"It's pre-World War II, but it's still new enough to keep up in traffic," Harvey said. "This is the longest trip this car has made. The brick roads are pretty rough on it, but if you slow to 20 mph, it's fine."

The tour is broken up into the eastern tour and western tour, the east beginning in New York City and the west starting in San Francisco. The two groups will meet in Kearney, Neb., where there will be a centennial celebration Monday. The groups are making scheduled stops throughout the 10-day tour.

In January, Barry McCue, of Joliet, Ill., was driving to the East Coast to visit his son when he saw an interstate sign for U.S. 30.

"I was like, 'What's that doing all the way out here?'" McCue said. "U.S. 30 is a block away from my home in Joliet."

McCue then researched and found out U.S. 30 was once Old Lincoln Highway, which was built in the early 1900s and stretches from New York to California. He said traveling the highway with his wife has been a great experience.

The Lincoln Highway Association makes the trip about every 10 years, said Jim Peters, tour director. Thursday was the group's sixth day of traveling after going through New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Ohio before reaching Indiana.

For Jim Cassler, of Canton Ohio, it's tradition. He takes a long Lincoln Highway trip every summer with his family.

"I just like seeing out-of-the-way places most people don't get to see, not like the beach or Disney World," Cassler said. "Instead , we get to see things like this. This is what the history of our country is, not Disney World."

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