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HOW "LINCOLN WAY" PROJECT NOW STANDS

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  Lincoln Highway, A.R. Pardington

HOW "LINCOLN WAY" PROJECT NOW STANDS

The New York Times
April 5, 1914


A. R. Pardington Tells Pittsburghers of Present Accomplishment on a Road.

FROM COAST TO COAST

States and Their Component Communities Have Done Much Work on the Memorial.

Just what has and is being accomplished by the Lincoln Highway Association in the development of its transcontinental road from New York to San Francisco was told recently to members of the Chamber of Commerce of Pittsburgh, Penn., by A. R. Pardington, Vice President of the association.  Mr. Pardington described the growth of the Lincoln Highway Association, the plan to make permanent this road, gave a brief résumé of the amounts subscribed and the immense amount of work now going forward in every State on this memorial to Abraham Lincoln.

"It is my purpose," he said, "to tell you the story of the Lincoln Highway in the most direct and simple manner possible, leaving to the short-story writers and orators those word pictures which they are best able to paint.  The Lincoln Highway to-day is the longest road in the world; it is the most traveled road in the world; it is the one road on which more has already been spent, on which more is now being spent, and on which, during the years to come, more money and effort will be expended, than on any other single road known.  In passing from New York on the east to San Francisco on the west but four large cities are interconnected, these in turn being Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Omaha, and Salt Lake City.

"Despite the fact that this great touring road does not reach many of the large commercial, industrial or residential cities of the country, it still serves over 60 per cent. of our entire population.  It serves about 67 per cent. of all the registered automobile owners of the United States.

"The association was organized in the late Spring of 1913.  The directors chosen represented many lines of activity, particularly those interested in the manufacture and sale of automobiles and allied industries.  The offices for the association were opened in Detroit in June.  The route of the Lincoln Highway was announced simultaneously all over the country on the 14th of September.  The selection of the route seemed to appeal to everybody.

"The State of New Jersey is now considering a concurrent resolution for taking over the Lincoln Highway from Jersey City to Camden, with the idea of establishing it as a State highway, and with the further idea of having every foot of the highway and the streets between the two points in New Jersey renamed Lincoln Way.  The Jersey City Plank Road, for over 100 years known by that popular name, on Dec. 13 was re-dedicated Lincoln Way.  After having been reconstructed at a cost of $1,250,000, it is now a magnificent boulevard 100 feet wide, about eighteen feet above high-water line, is bordered by boulevard lights and broad walks and traffic surfaces are of brick and concrete.  The automobile clubs of Newark and Jersey City are now planning to beautify that boulevard by the planting of suitable trees.  All of the public service corporations of the State of New Jersey have consented to the placing of red, white and blue Lincoln Highway markers on poles which they own.

"Between New Jersey and Pennsylvania the Penn Memorial Bridge, a project which for years has lain dormant, has been revived with the idea of having that bridge established as a connecting highway between New Jersey and the Keystone State.  Through and crossing the city of Philadelphia, the Department of Public Streets is now marking, at city expense, the route of the Lincoln Highway, beginning at the ferry and extending well out the Lancaster Pike.  In numerous towns and villages across this State agitation is already under way.  These towns include York, Bedford, Chambersburg, Gettysburg, Wilkinsburg, etc.  The route has already been marked across some of the counties to the east of Pittsburgh.

"The Highway leaves Pennsylvania on the Ohio River at East Liverpool, and across the State of Ohio traverses what is known as Market Route No. 3, selected by the Lincoln Highway Association, because it had already been designated by the State Highway Department and the State Legislature for construction am for maintenance by the State.  In every one of the twelve counties across the State active co-operation has been undertaken, organizations have been formed and as a result of this activity during the season of 1914 many hundreds of thousands of dollars will be spent jointly by the State, the counties, and the towns, in having a permanent road.

"Across the State of Indiana a remarkable condition of affairs results, in view of the fact that the State has no organized Highway Department.  In that State the work of the Lincoln Highway Association has for the past four months been concentrated on a co-ordination of effort between the counties traversed by this highway.  The results are that before the touring season of 1915, practically every foot of mileage across the Hoosier State will be paved with a permanent highway, using either concrete or brick and concretes.  A notable example of patriotic co-operation is that of the citizens of Elkhart County.  John C. Boss, a brick manufacturer of Elkhart, has headed a subscription list which will be signed by a sufficiently large number of citizens to insure the construction of twenty-five miles of brick surfaced concrete road, each mile of which will be dedicated as a memorial by the contributor to some deceased member of his family, these miles as an individual unit becoming memorials to Abraham Lincoln.

"Across Illinois the State Highway Commission organized last year has selected the Lincoln Highway as State Aid Road 1, and has already authorized the construction of some miles of concrete road on that highway during the present season.  In this State convict labor will be made use of in large measure in the work of construction.  Carl Parker, a resident of Los Angeles, has contributed one drinking fountain for each village along the route of the highway across the State.  This means the establishment of twenty-one of these fountains.

"Iowa State highway engineers have concentrated effort on the highway with the result that there remains but one bridge or culvert to be replaced by concrete, each one of which is not less than 20 feet in width.  The highway is also being resurveyed, straightened, and broadened, and reports are being received almost daily of appropriations being made by the counties.

"In Nebraska the population is more or less sparse and much aid will have to be afforded the citizens through the association.  The Union Pacific Railroad parallels the Lincoln Highway from Omaha through to the Wyoming line, both following the Platte Valley.  In the establishment of the road, hundreds of crossings of the railroad were necessary.  The result has been agitation on the part of the railroad company to the segregation of these crossings.  This work is now going on.  In this State many of the towns and villages have redesignated the streets and highways, so that much of the mileage across Nebraska is known as Lincoln Way.

"Across the State of Wyoming the same conditions prevail.  The population is sparse, realty values are low, and in the years to come the work of the association will in large measure be directed toward co-operating with the citizens in the way of financial aid.  What has been said of Nebraska and Wyoming is in a larger measure true of Utah and Nevada.  Nevada, for instance, has but 81,000 population.  Already the highway has been marked through many long arid stretches by the local inhabitants.

"In California about 85 per cent. of the road between San Francisco and beautiful Lake Tahoe, on the State line between Nevada and California is now improved.  The State Highway Department of California is putting down experimental stretches of road surface of varying lengths.  Over 60 per cent. of the entire road is now marked with the Lincoln Highway marker.  In innumerable instances the Commercial Clubs or Chambers of Commerce are erecting at the east and west boundaries of the towns large roadside signs, giving the name of the community, together with the distances to New York and San Francisco, and calling particular attention to some feature of the town as, for instance, in Canton, Ohio, mention is made of the fact that Canton is the final resting place of William McKinley.

"Tree-planting organizations have been formed in the public schools and by Women's Auxiliaries.  The Federated Women's Clubs of America are now starting a prolonged campaign for the raising of funds to be expended in beautifying this great artery of transcontinental travel.  Agitation has already been started toward the construction of laterals leading into the highway from industrial centres like Detroit, Indianapolis, St. Louis, Kansas City, St. Paul, Minneapolis, and toward points of scenic and historic interest like the Lincoln farm at Lexington, Ky., Yellowstone Park, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon of Arizona.

"Every commercial organization of Baltimore has united petitioning the Direcotrs of this association to re-route the Lincoln Highway in order that it may pass through Baltimore.  The commissioners of the District of Columbia have already petitioned that the highway be re-routed to, after passing through Baltimore, include Washington, and we are advised that a resolution is soon to be introduced in the House of Representatives at Washington, urging the demands and claims of Baltimore and Washington.  The Mayors of numerous cities in New England have united in a petition to permit placing of the Lincoln Highway markers from New York through to Boston.  Not a Director of the association lives in a city on the route which has been named.  None of those from whom we have received large contributions, in certain instances as high as $300,000, is on the route as it has been named.

"Two thousand miles of the Lincoln Highway must be improved at an estimated cost per mile for permanent surfacing, supplementing the local communities, of $5,000.  The individual mile sections will be suitably marked as memorials by those who have contributed toward their improvement."

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