The Lincoln Highway Association will hold their National Conference June 20-24th in Denison, Iowa. The group was originally formed in 1913 to promote the road using private and corporate donations. The idea was embraced by an enthusiastic public, and many other named roads across the country followed.
Early leaders were Carl Fisher, a headlight manufacturer and idea man; Henry B. Joy, president of the Packard Company, and Frank Seiberling, the co-founder of Goodyear Rubber and Tire Company and founder of Seiberling Rubber Company. They wanted to sell their products and get America traveling. The LHA named the route in honor of Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States. The group felt a patriotic name would help sell the project to potential backers.
The Lincoln Highway was established as the first improved transcontinental road, from Times Square to San Francisco using established roads, wagon trails, and dirt roads.
Americans’ enthusiasm for good roads led to the involvement of the federal government in building roads and the creation of numbered U.S. routes in the 1920s. The Federal Highway Administration and the Interstate Highway System are the culmination of these efforts.
The red, white, and blue Lincoln Highway logo was created with a large blue “L” and the words “Lincoln Highway ” framing it in the white portion. The logo was painted on rocks, fence post , and anything they could find along the route. Many businesses used the name “Lincoln” in their title- such as the Lincoln Hotel, Lincoln Cafe, or Lincoln Garage.
In September, 1928, the Boy Scouts of America installed 2, 436 concrete markers with the red, white, and blue logo and a bronze medallion of a bust of Abraham Lincoln and the words “This Highway Dedicated to Abraham Lincoln.”
The LHA felt that their duties were complete as the entire highway had been paved, it was marked with the logo and concrete markers, and given a highway number. (In Iowa, the route became known as Highway 30.) The group disbanded and gave their documents and information to the library in Ann Arbor, Michigan (near Detroit and the home of many auto manufacturers.)
Then in 1991, a group of Greene County, Iowa citizens met to save the Eureka Bridge and in their process, they formed the Greene County Lincoln Highway Association. A year later, in 1992, the group from Greene County and many others from across the nation met in Ogden, Iowa, and formed the national Lincoln Highway Association once again.
This June 20-24th, the group will celebrate their 25th Anniversary of the re-formed Lincoln Highway Association in Denison, Iowa. Activities will include an eastward tour from Denison to Ogden (including the Eureka Bridge that started it all.) The next day will be a tour from Denison to Council Bluffs and on into Elk Horn, Nebraska. The third day will be speakers sharing a variety of transportation-related information and presentations. At the evening banquet, awards will be given to people who have traveled the entire route, been a “Friend of the Highway”, and to others the group wishes to honor. The last morning will be a membership meeting and a pledge to see everyone next year -in New Jersey.
To register for the conference, please use this link.