Today, the PiRates are on dry land. We have an interesting route for you to discover.
When you think of a famous old highway of major importance, you might think of the Mother Road, Route 66. Made famous by books, songs, movies, maps, a TV series, and even a cartoon, Route 66 runs from Lake Michigan in Chicago to the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles.
Before federal highways were numbered, they were given names. There was the Dixie Highway, the National Old Trails Highway, the Bankhead Highway and many others.
The most important of these highways was the Lincoln Highway, our nation’s first coast-to-coast highway constructed in America. It covered more than 3,000 miles in its journey from Times Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco.
The Lincoln Highway will turn 100 years old this year, on Halloween. The project came about by the leadership of Carl Fisher, of Indianapolis. Fisher was one of then country’s early automobile dealership owners, and he played a huge role in the development of the Indiana Motor Raceway, where the Indianapolis 500 is held.
Fisher saw the important future of the automobile, and he knew the nation needed roads so that people would buy cars and drive rather than ride the rails. Through diligent work and bending of arms of very important people, he formed a highway through New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Nevada, and California. Later realignments included a jog through West Virginia. For a brief time, an official spur headed southwest from Big Springs, Nebraska, to Denver, and then north to rejoin the main route in Laramie, Wyoming.
Some of the first paved roads occurred as “seedling miles” in many cities along the route. These one mile improvements provided the impetus for cities to pave additional roads. Additionally, in some areas in the Midwest portion of the route, the highway was bricked. Some of these brick sections still exist and can be driven today.
Since I am writing this from my head without research materials, I cannot go into great details. It is better that this should just pique an interest in you.
Unlike Route 66, where I know basically every mile of what remains and can be driven, as well as the dirt sections, I know very little about the Lincoln. I have only travelled a couple dozen miles of the road in Indiana, Illinois, and Wyoming. I plan to learn more and travel more on this prestigious important cross-country route during its centennial year.
The Lincoln Highway Association provides all the information you need to get started in your journey. Visit their website at: http://www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org
The PiRates are enjoying some R&R on dry land for Spring and the first half of summer. We may post some additional stories on the Lincoln Highway and our more familiar Route 66 if we get the chance. We will return with football coverage in August. Due to prior commitments, there will be no Kentucky Derby coverage this year.