Lincoln Highway Association

Indiana Chapter
vol. 3, #4    Fall, 2000
We are going to try something a bit different for our third and last chapter activity for the year. It will not include a meeting. It will not involve a planned out tour. We shall do a bit of exploring before the weather changes even more dramatically. This was inspired by the comments of a Michigan member while over in Illinois.

The Goshen meeting and the Deep River tour were meant to appeal to everyone. Our November non-meeting may well not. Wear your bluejeans. Wear your mud boots. Bring your maps. Don't forget your snake stick. We shall do some hands-on looking around old roadway segments.

Anyone is welcome to join us but we will be walking stretches of pavement, scampering over abutments, peering into old culverts, and otherwise annoying small animals. Those sticking to your cars may become rather bored waiting for us as we giggle and poke around at each stop.

A good, easy point to meet at and start from is U.S. 30 at (Allen-Whitley) County Line Road. I cannot picture that intersection so can only say that we will group at the most assembly-friendly of the four corners.

We will immediately leave the current U.S. 30 however, heading north to the earlier route. Not the earliest route through South Bend -- the one through Columbia City. We'll be staying off the current bypass route of 30. We won't be bypassing nuttin'.

How long will we keep on? How far will we cover? That is up to those who show up. This is a non-structured free-play day. That is Veterans' Day weekend. That is a Sunday. If you already have other plans, ok. Have fun. We will.

The Indiana Chapter co-sponsored a regional historical / environmental conference this month five miles over in Illinois. It didn't cost us anything. It just involved a couple of us leading a discussion of heritage tourism over lunch. The discussion was during lunch, not the tourism. It was a lively and popular session. (People more interested in other topics ate elsewhere.)

That (heritage tourism) is what we ought to start thinking about here for the Indiana Lincoln Highways. Our chapter consists mostly of history buffs or auto buffs. We are going to have to start drawing in and working with the business community, as chapters have done in other states. That is how the Illinois Lincoln Highway was made a National Scenic Byway this year, an enjoyable ceremony for which was held in Aurora recently.

We LHA members share some interests with the tourism and commerical people along Indiana's Lincolns, as well as with the museums and local historical groups across our state. It behooves us to further those ties. The state director (me) is available for giving talks or slide shows about the LH to local groups. A couple are arranged for next month.

One booking has already born fruit, as the historical society's newsletter editor dug up an old newspaper article concerning the affect the Lincoln Highway had on that city, as the route chosen in 1913 bypassed them. There are lots of little pieces of the Lincoln Highway story floating around out there. More bits will float in the more contacts we make.

Sometimes it takes repeated contacts. I participated in an Indiana Historical Society conference in Merrillville recently. The audience heard that I was a Lincoln Hwy. Assoc. director, although we did not get into LH history itself. Will somebody sometime later casually come to me and pass along some little nugget of info about the Lincoln Highway? 'Could be. It has happened before. Even just my wearing a Lincoln Hwy. pin has sometimes gotten someone else talking.

We have to keep putting the LH name out there, reminding people of its place in our national history. Sure the Lincoln Highway is the most historical and important road of all time on the whole planet but we must continue to point that out to everyone. It has not yet soaked in on some of them.

The unused stretch of old macadam east of U.S. 41 in Schererville has been taking a beating from construction crews recently. The houses between the old and new alignments of the Lincoln Highway were removed and commercial development has begun. Chapter vice-president Art Schweitzer is keeping an eye on the situation.


Court House, Goshen, Ind.
Court House, Goshen, Ind.

Fort of Gen. (Mad Anthony) Wayne in 1794, Fort Wayne, Ind.
Fort of Gen. (Mad Anthony) Wayne in 1794, Fort Wayne, Ind.

Illustrated above are assorted postcards from three different Hoosier Lincoln Highway burgs. I assume Plymouth's high school was named for the President, not the road, but I must admit I'm not sure.

Most of us took a look at the Elkhart County Courthouse when we were in Goshen for our April meeting. Fort Wayne's namesake dated from rather an earlier era than the LH but there is now a reconstruction of it north of downtown. The fort was looking for new owners, the last I heard.

The Army drove a convoy across the U.S. along the Lincoln Highway eighty-one years ago. The transportation experiment made the papers in most towns along the way. Here's just one of the stories.

Columbia City Post, 19 July, 1919
The motor truck train which is crossing the country headed for San Francisco, spent Thursday in Fort Wayne, being located at Lawton Park. They left Fort Wayne at 6:30 Friday morning and arrived in Churubusco an hour later at 7:30. They remained there for a little over half an hour. Auditor Walter K. Burwell saw the train and when he left Churubusco at eight o'clock for this city they had not started on their way. There were trucks of every kind and description in the bunch; the heavy trucks, the smaller trucks, an ambulance and every style of truck used in the transportation of material. There are sixty-five of them all told, and they make an interesting sight as they move along the road. While in Churubusco the Churubusco ladies served cold drinks to them including pop and lemonade. The trucks are making good time on the road traveling between ten and fifteen miles an hour. They are following the Lincoln highway to the Pacific coast. A number of other trains are expected to follow them as the government is testing out motor transportation.

The make-up of the truck train which is under the command of Captain Bernard McMahon is as follows:

Company A.
Passenger Cars: 1 light, open, Dodge; 1 Staff Observation, White.
Ambulances: 1 heavy, GMC.
Motorcycles: 1 Solo, Harley-Davidson; 2 side cars, Harley-Davidson.
Trucks: 3 Mack; 3 Riker; 3 FWD.; 3 Packard; 1 White, new drive, 3 ton; 3 Standardized, B.; 2 light delivery, Dodge.
Miscellaneous: 1 machine shop truck; 1 kitchen trailer; 1 tank truck.
Company B.
Passenger Cars: 1 light, open, Dodge; 1 heavy, open, Cadillac; 1 reconnaissance, White.
Ambulance: 1 heavy, GMC.
Motorcycles: 1 Solo, Indian; 2 side cars, Indian.
Trucks: 6 1-1/2-ton, White; 2 1-1/2-ton, GMC.; 7 3-ton, Standard, B.; 2 light delivery, Dodge.
Miscellaneous: 1 tank truck; 1 kitchen trailer; one water tank truck.
Engineer Unit.
1 engine shop truck; 1 officer work truck; 1 searchlight truck.
Peter Youngman, 10 Cedar Court, 1115 Ogden Dunes, Ind. 46368-8709
Indiana state director, Lincoln Highway Association

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Web-published 31st October, 2000, and altered 2nd October, 2003