PARALLEL UNIVERSE: Lincoln Highway Centennial Celebrated With Tours by Europeans, Americans

  • By David M. Kinchen 
PARALLEL UNIVERSE: Lincoln Highway Centennial Celebrated With Tours by Europeans, Americans
National Public Radio’s web site currently has a very nice illustrated story about Europeans driving across the U.S. on the celebrated Lincoln Highway, the nation’s first east-west highway,  dedicated 100 years ago  in 1913. They’re driving a variety of cars, including a German microcar and a treasured BMW coupe, all shipped across the Atlantic especially for the New York City to San Francisco journey.   Link:  http://www.npr.org/2013/07/17/202702080/europeans-traverse-u-s-on-famous-lincoln-highway
Lincoln Highway, conceived by the flamboyant Indianapolis-based entrepreneur Carl Graham Fisher (he built the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and was a major developer of Miami Beach;  for a good brief discussion of his role in the development of  Miami Beach: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miami_Beach,_Florida) and named after his hero Abraham Lincoln, has an important place in my life.

   From about age 11 on  I grew up in Rochelle, Illinois, a major city on the highway. The main street of Rochelle is still called Lincoln Highway. Rochelle is called the Hub City because two railroads crossed in the town, forming what railroaders call a diamond crossing. In addition to the Lincoln Highway, Rochelle was on U.S. 51, the nation’s first north-south highway.

After graduating from Rochelle Township High School, I attended Northern Illinois University in De Kalb, another Lincoln Highway town about 18 miles east of Rochelle. I commuted to NIU for three years on the Lincoln Highway, living off campus for my senior year.       A few years ago I reviewed a book about the development of the nation’s highways, “The Big Roads,” which has a good discussion of the Lincoln Highway: Link: http://www.huntingtonnews.net/11812. My review includes a mention of a book by Michael Wallis about the Lincoln Highway. Wallis wrote a biography of David Crockett a few years ago, and is one of the voices in the hit movie “Cars.”

Editor’s note: The photo of a plaque commemorating Emily Post’s stay in Rochelle in 1915 is from: http://www.lincolnhighwaynews.wordpress.com/tag/murals/

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