February 19, 2021 (Ames, Iowa) — On February 16, the U.S. Secretary of Transportation announced that the Iowa Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway was chosen as one of 34 newly designated National Scenic Byways joining 150 already designated in the national program. Prairie Rivers of Iowa submitted an 830-page application to the Federal Highway Administration.
Moving forward, the byway will be known as the Lincoln Highway National Heritage Byway. “With this honor, the Iowa section of the Lincoln Highway will continue to gain visibility worldwide and build and expand on the opportunities to market traveling along Iowa’s section to the globe,” says Prairie Rivers of Iowa Executive Director Penny Brown Huber.
Prairie Rivers of Iowa Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway Coordinator Jan Gammon states, “We are very excited for the 460 miles of the byway in Iowa to be named a new National Scenic Byway. The Nebraska section was also given this honor and as we join the Illinois route, this will make over 1,000 miles of continuous byway in three states.” The road passes through 13 counties and 43 communities in Iowa with so much history to be shared with travelers.
In 1991, a group of Iowans formed the Greene County Lincoln Highway Association to help preserve the Eureka Bridge just west of Jefferson. One year later, the national Lincoln Highway Association (LHA) was reborn. The Iowa chapter of the LHA applied to have the Iowa section of the Lincoln Highway included in the Iowa Department of Transportation’s Scenic Byway program. The application was approved in 2006. Two of Greene county residents, and long-time byway supporters, are Bob and Joyce Ausberger.
According to the Ausbergers, “This is great news for the Iowa Lincoln Highway. Prairie Rivers of Iowa and other organizations helped with planning, hard work and perseverance to make this dream come true. The Lincoln Highway in Iowa has now been raised to the national level it deserves!”
“The Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway achieving National Scenic Byway status is very much warranted based on the outstanding interpretive sites that exist such as Reed Niland’s Corner in Colo, Youngville Station west of Cedar Rapids, brick streets in Woodbine, and many others,” relates Iowa Department of Transportation Systems Planning Office Director Craig Markley. In addition to experiencing these interpretive sites, byway travelers enjoy city and rural landscapes while tasting food and libation, viewing art, touring museums, appreciating the outdoors and more.
The Youngville Café in rural Benton County on the National Register of Historic Places is one of the many attractions along the Lincoln Highway Heritage Byway that was a factor in the U.S. Department of Transportation’s recent decision to designate the byway in Iowa as a National Scenic Byway.