Summertime on the Byway

Summer has been a busy time along the Byway! I did make it to the Mahanay Bell Tower Festival in Jefferson and rode the elevator 120 feet up to the observation deck of the 14-story Tower. What a view!! It gave me a whole new perspective of the countryside and it was great to see the Lincoln Highway as a ribbon running through it. I also enjoyed the beautiful Thomas Jefferson Gardens and RVP~1875, where they make furniture with only hand tools. Its like stepping back in time and they'll even show you what they are working on! Another great tour is the Sawmill Museum in Clinton in the Lyons District on the north side of the city. Lyons was the name of the town where the first bridge linked Illinois to Iowa on the Lincoln Highway. Lyons is now part of Clinton. The Sawmill Museum has great displays of the history of the lumber industry in Clinton. It was a...
Read More

Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway Corridor Management Planning

This spring, the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway’s Corridor Management Planning process moves forward into the Lincoln Highway’s many communities.  We are holding a series of public meetings to introduce the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway, and the concept of a Corridor Management Plan, to residents around the state. You may recall that a Corridor Management Plan (CMP) is a written document setting out a long-term plan for a byway and its important resources. The Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway’s original CMP was created before the Lincoln Highway was designated as an Iowa Byway, so it no longer reflects needs of Lincoln Highway communities and residents. The new revision of the CMP will reflect the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway as an active and thriving part of Iowa’s past and present heritage. Upcoming public meetings are April 22 in Ames, April 23 in Toledo, April 25 in Marion, April 27 in Missouri Valley and Denison, April 28 in Carroll, and May 5 in Nevada.  Please visit...
Read More

Conservation Innovation Grant

The Iowa League of RC&DS received a Conservation Innovation Grant (CIG) and a REAP Conservation Education Grant to create two interpretive panels for each Iowa Byway describing an employed conservation method. “The CIG program is a voluntary program intended to stimulate the development and adoption of innovative conservation approaches and technologies while leveraging Federal investment in environmental enhancement and protection, in conjunction with agricultural production”, according to the program’s website. “CIG enables the Natural Resources Conservation Service to work with other public and private entities to accelerate technology transfer and adoption of promising technologies and approaches to address some of the Nation’s most pressing natural resource concerns.” Some of the sites that were considered for these interpretive panels along the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway were bogs, wetlands, prairies, and high tunnel towers. The location needed to be where travelers could pull safely off the road and visibly see the sign. It needed to be on or near a conservation practice site. The...
Read More

Traveling the Lincoln Highway Byway

I live just off the Lincoln Highway Byway and travel on it daily. But how well do I know this important piece of history? There was this new invention- the automobile- being produced and auto makers really wanted to sell their inventions. They needed roads for traveling and thought it would be pretty neat for cars to travel east and west across the entire nation. The Lincoln Highway began in 1913 as an assortment of existing wagon roads, turnpikes, and trails. The road started in Times Square in New York and ended in San Francisco, California. The Iowa portion was dictated in part by how to cross two rivers- the Missouri on the west and the Mighty Mississippi on the east. Good bridges were identified in Clinton and Council Bluffs and "good roads" were sought to connect these two points. This often proved to be a challenge, because much of Iowa was boggy, spongy soil and roads often turned to mud. Iowa...
Read More

Driving toward the future with our eye on the past

A century ago, a powerful idea made its way from New York City through Iowa and finally to San Francisco: the first coast-to-coast improved highway in the country, the Lincoln Highway! Prairie Rivers of Iowa, which manages the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway is celebrating the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway’s centennial year. A proclamation by the state of Iowa was issued by Governor Terry Branstad last fall, declaring October 31, 2013 to be Lincoln Highway Day in the state of Iowa.   Iowans were instrumental in the establishment of the Lincoln Highway and the formation of the modern Lincoln Highway Association on October 31, 1913, through speeches, music, and special events throughout the state. The Lincoln Highway was one of the most significant roads for early automobile travelers and demonstrated the effectiveness of high-quality, well-maintained roads for moving people, products, and commerce nationwide.   The Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway is Iowa’s longest byway, or state-designated scenic or heritage roadway. Spanning 460 miles, the byway...
Read More

License Plates: a brief overlook

License plates are something we all see every day.  It can define who we are by showing support for our favorite universities or used to pass the time on long road trips, counting as many different states we can find.  But how did these metal plates get started? The first required license plates in the United States were in New York in 1901.  However, these plates were not state issued, meaning they were created by the owner of the vehicle.  These first license plates often consisted of the owner’s initials, which could cause confusion amongst cars.  In 1904, Iowa entered the playing field and began requiring license plates of their own. These license plates were often fabricated on pieces of leather and consisted of a state issued number with and abbreviation of the state itself.  At first this system was effective, but as the number of cars grew these plates grew larger and larger to accommodate for the assigned number.  Standardization came...
Read More
Lobby for Byways

Lobby for Byways

In January we were busy getting ready to speak to our state legislators. After the Travel Federation of Iowa's Legislative Showcase, we attended Transportation Day at the Capitol. As a byway manager, we felt it was important to explain the importance of byways and the need for additional funding. We set up an Iowa Byways display with some of the other byway managers inside of the capitol rotunda and we were able to educate people about the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway and the unique features byways have to offer. We attended the Transportation Day briefing at the Wallace Building which was a great event to hear a number of people speak and lobby for an increase in funding for Iowa's roads. We were able to hear from the director of the Iowa Department of Transportation, Paul Trombino. There are many roads and bridges in disrepair throughout the state and the increased funding would help with some of the most critical issues...
Read More
Byway Promotion

Byway Promotion

We are looking forward to an active and exciting 2014 on the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway! On Tuesday, January 28th, the Travel Federation of Iowa hosted a Legislative Showcase for our state representatives. All of Iowa's 11 byways were represented with byway managers from as far away as Postville, IA, attending the showcase. Representatives and byway coordinators across the state came to Des Moines to put together a display booth to speak with our state representatives and encourage support for travel and byways. Given the other 4 legislative events that night, there was a great turnout of legislators. A total of 83 of the 150 legislators were present at the showcase.   Please see below for more information on 2014 travel priorities and statistics. 2014 TFI Priorities: http://www.travelfederationofiowa.org/files/2014_TFI_Priorities.pdf 2014 TFI Fast Facts: http://www.travelfederationofiowa.org/files/2014_TFI_Fast_Facts.pdf  ...
Read More
12