An audiovisual exhibition telling the story of the national Lincoln Highway debuts at the Bell Tower Festival in Jefferson this year. Promise Road: How the Lincoln Highway Changed America opened June 9 at the Greene County Historical Society Museum and will remain through June 26.
“Many of us have driven the Lincoln Highway but haven’t realized its significance for the unfolding of our country’s modern history. This exhibition tells that story,” said Shellie Orngard, the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway coordinator.
The building of the Lincoln Highway was initiated in 1913, when most people traveled by foot or by horse and the roads were mud or gravel. America’s first coast-to-coast highway, the Lincoln Highway starts in Times Square, New York City, and travels through 14 states, ending at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. A dramatic story of ingenuity, personality, and commerce, Promise Road will engage visitors in a new understanding of and appreciation of our forgotten past and what it means for us today.
The exhibition culminates with a presentation on June 26 by Bob and Joyce Ausberger of rural Greene County, who helped found the new national Lincoln Highway Association in 1992, which now has hundreds of members across the country and around the world.
After this first stop in Greene County, the exhibition will travel to Marshall and Story counties, and on to the rest of the 13 Iowa counties traversed by the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway.
The traveling exhibit Promise Road: How the Lincoln Highway Changed America was funded in part by a grant from the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and with support from the Iowa Department of Transportation.
In 2021, the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway in Iowa was recognized as a National Scenic Byway. The National Scenic Byways Program is a voluntary, community-based program administered through the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to recognize, protect, and promote America’s most outstanding roads.
For more information about the national Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway in Iowa, visit Prairie Rivers of Iowa’s website at prrcd.org. Prairie Rivers of Iowa is a nonprofit focused on conserving natural and cultural resources, using its expertise to address Iowa’s most challenging needs. It manages the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway in Iowa on behalf of the Iowa Department of Transportation.