This photograph shows the newly completed road near Twin Bridges that bypassed “Slippery-Ford” and the wooden bridges that crossed the American River there. The older road use to pass between Lovers Leap and the large rock at the right, taking what was called at the time, the Swan-Henry toll road. This new road, built-in 1931 bypassed the Swan-Henry toll road, then called the Lincoln Highway in favor of passing to the right of the large rock at right. This is the road we use today.
Whitehall, located just 2 miles east of Riverton near the American River. In the 1910s was owned by Bert Randall who boasted "the best-kegged beer on the great turnpike." That turnpike became the Lincoln Highway in 1913 and remained that until 1928 when it became Highway 50. The building had a "club room" and lobby on the first floor and sleeping quarters on the second. Randall became the postmaster, and for awhile the stop was known as Randall's.
The "Whitehall" building we see today is the result of a remodel in 1935 by Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Jones. The fully renovated and modernized Whitehall had a new lunch and cocktail room, large dining room overlooking the river and a dance floor that would hold 30 couples.
Great news! The City of Placerville has requested information on how to begin signing their city with our Lincoln Highway signs. I had spoken to the city council a few months ago about the Lincoln Highway, and the importance of recognizing the old road. Now they are on board, and we need to decide where to place the signs. Generally, they are put about every 3-4 minutes driving time at the speed limit, so drivers can know they are still on the highway. Often they are placed where there is a confusing intersection or doubt on which way to proceed.
The Lincoln Highway Association has, since its founding in 1913, been all about promoting the highway. Besides conceiving the road, their main goal was publicity, and to sign the route for transcontinental autoists. You would find metal signs or a stenciled "L" on bridges or telephone poles all along the way across the country.
The present-day Lincoln Highway Association also wishes to sign the old route. Our chapter here in California has the goal of signing both Lincoln Highway routes from San Francisco to the border with Nevada. There are two border crossings into Nevada for the Lincoln in California. One is at Stateline, and the other is at Verdi, Nevada on the old Dog Valley Road.
There has been lot's of progress over the years, apparent by the signs we see in various locals. Our most recent project has been the stenciling of the Logo on the railroad underpasses through Placer County. The towns of Galt, Rancho Cordova, Auburn and the county of San Joaquin are well signed. That leaves a lot of cities and counties that still need to recognize the old road.
What's needed is people that are willing to join us and help get their local Lincoln Highway town or county on-board the signage program. The signage program has moved forward when there is a "champion" of the project in their particular home region. Membership in the Association is inexpensive, but the value of new members is priceless. Association and membership information here.
Here is the second installment of the 1919 Army convoy film showing the run from just outside Placerville, to Stockton, Oakland, and finally two ferries to San Francisco.
That cry was heard over 100 years ago as The Military Convoy of 1919 rolled into towns across the country. The Army wanted to see if it could send men and machines across the country on the new transcontinental road known as the Lincoln Highway. Starting in Washington DC, the caravan drove over 3000 miles to Oakland where it then boarded ferries to San Francisco and the Palace of the Legion of Honor, the terminus of the Lincoln Highway. Onboard, was a young major by the name of Dwight D. Eisenhower, future President of the United States.
The El Dorado County Arts Council has an exhibit titled, "Convoy 1919: Centennial of the 1919 Transcontinental Motor Convoy" running from August 29, through October 6, 2019, at the Confidence Gallery on Main Street. According to their website, "The convoy - consisting of 81 vehicles, including 31 heavy cargo trucks, 4 kitchen trailers, a wrecker, 4 motorcycles and 5 ambulances – made its way westward over long stretches of roads that were often little more than dirt tracks. On the evening of September 2, 1919, the convoy, motoring on the Lincoln Highway through El Dorado County, reached Placerville, California to cheers from the welcoming crowd. That evening more than 200 troops were treated to 'a huge barbecue, a revival of the 'Days of Forty-nine' and a street dance."
Vintage film of the convoy!
Want to cheer the convoy yourself? The MVPA (Miltary Vehicle Preservation Association) has been crossing the country in their vintage military vehicles, following the route the Army took back in 1919. They will leave Carson City, Nevada on September 12, destination Placerville! The convoy will pass down Main Street later that day, with a stop at the County fairgrounds where they will spend the night.
MVPA convoy in Iowa.
Pictured is the famous auto subway under the Central Pacific Railroad tracks at Donner Summit. The actual summit is another couple hundred yards past the tunnel. The truck is headed north and then west. The photo is likely taken around 1914, as as the snowshed has been removed directly above the 1913 built subway. The snow shed was soon re-built after construction.
Here we see a close up of the photo showing the supporting timbers holding back the dirt as construction commenced on the subway. Notice the two Lincoln Highway logos on the back of the truck. A lantern partially obscures the logo at left. Notice how clean the walls of the subway are. Looking at photos of the underpass after 1914 shows graffiti started showing up very soon after construction.
This view is looking south towards Donner Lake, where we see an automobile using the Lincoln Highway, approximately mid-1920’s.. Yesterday's post concerned the Donner Lake camp located on the west end of Donner Lake. A reader thought the car pictured yesterday was the photographer's car. It was a common practice back in the day to make sure your vehicle was in the photo. It appears that today's photo has the same car, so it must be the photographer's.
The above photo shows the Donner Lake Camp, which was located on the west end of the lake. We can see the photographers car just off The Lincoln Highway, lower left.
We are looking east from the west side of Donner Lake, approx 1920’s. The building seen is the office for the Donner Lake Camp, an early “autoist” campground. In the close up below we can see a “Red Crown” gasoline sign, as well as a car headed down the road. The road curves around the lower part of the photo and ends up at the right side where it would soon start the climb up towards the summit.
Driving the old roads like the Lincoln Highway, or Highway 40 you come upon the early rest stops and motor lodges that once lined the highways. Back in the day, people had to stop more frequently on their travels. Your auto might need to have it's radiator filled, gasoline topped off, or oil added. Most stops would have food available as well, and some even had rooms to rent for the night. Early motor lodges and motels were seen frequently at all the small towns along the way as people didn't travel as far each day.
Just outside of Colfax, along old Highway 40 and Lincoln Highway (today’s Highway 174) , one could cozy up to their very own Quonset hut, complete with stone fireplace, at the Quonset Village Motel. Quonset huts were quite popular just after World War II when the Army sold their excess war supplies including these huts. Quonset is capitalized as it's the name of the place where the shelters were conceived, Quonset Point, Rhode Island.
The view today. One Quonset hut still standing, and all the stone fireplaces are lined up in front of their long gone huts. Click the above photo to control the view.
In 1919 the U.S. Army decided to send a convoy of trucks, motorcycles, tractors, and men on a transcontinental trip from Washington DC to San Francisco. The road they would follow was the recently completed Lincoln Highway. Some of the convoy's journey was filmed, and we look at the section from western Nevada to San Francisco, California. The text comes from a diary and film record made during the trip.