The Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway managed by Prairie Rivers of Iowa has won the 2020 Byway Organization Interpretation Award bestowed by the National Scenic Byway Foundation. Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway Coordinator Janice Gammon and others have been invited to represent the byway for the award presentation at the Heartland Byway Conference for October 27-29 in Leavenworth Kansas.

“We’re honored to receive the award. This project started five years ago with two panels and now to date, we’ve created twenty. Our immediate goal is to install at least one interpretive panel in each of the forty-three communities the Lincoln Highway connects in Iowa,” says Gammon.

The Lincoln Highway of Times Square to San Francisco fame in part runs 460 miles across the heart of Iowa. While scenic byway attributes may entice travelers with or without signage, interpretive panels enhance the visitor experience considerably, especially when installed in a unified manner along the route. The interpretive panel project had its beginnings in 2016 when the Iowa Resource Conservation & Development Association wrote a grant for each Iowa Byway to create two interpretive panels related to conservation practices. These two by three-foot panels on a steel base served as the “seed” and helped sell the idea of interpretive panels to other organizations and communities. The sample template was later included in the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway’s Interpretive Plan. The Iowa Lincoln Highway’s six panels highlighted in the award educate the public about the Lincoln Highway, the first improved transcontinental road in America. The route in Iowa travels from Clinton along the Mississippi River, to Council Bluffs along the Missouri River. Each panel covers a different topic of historical value to the visitor and adds to their experience while on this historic road.

Prairie Rivers of Iowa is pleased to have won this award and give credit to our interns over the past 5 years who have added their touches to the twenty panels we’ve created. For this award, six panels for our work during the past two years were submitted. They included panels in Iowa located at the Eugene Koch Memorial Park in Westside featuring the community and veteran, a panel about the Iowa Department of Transportation reclaimed overpass girder in the Lions Club Tree Park east of Grand Junction, a panel created for an Eagle Scout project in Tama’s Lincoln Highway Bridge Park about the Boys Scouts and their 1928 Lincoln Highway concrete markers, a panel about the Lincoln Highway Association’s first Field Secretary Henry Ostermann in the Maple Hill Cemetery east of Montour,  and a panel outside Nevada’s City Hall where the Lincoln and Jefferson Highways share the same roadway.

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