Monica and I headed up to Weimar to continue the Lincoln Highway logo project. Weimar is located just above Auburn and below Colfax, along present day Highway 80.
Monday found Monica and I heading up to the Big Bend area, specifically Hampshire Rocks campground. Along the way in Weimar, we painted a Lincoln Highway "L" on the Union Pacific railroad subway. This particular subway, built in 1928, during the last year of The Lincoln Highway.
We had intended to head to Prosser Reservoir, just outside Truckee for a night of camping, but instead found ourselves staying at The Hampshire Rocks Campground, near Big Bend. This particular campground had only recently opened two week earlier, due to the massive amount of snow that was still on the ground. The snow was all gone in the camp, so we found ourselves a beautiful spot right next to The South Fork of The Yuba River. Everything about this place is great, except your only a hundred or so yards from Highway 80, so traffic noise is a constant unless you get down next to the flowing river. This place's location among the natural beauty and incredible history, is what makes it so desirable. The Lincoln Highway runs right through the camp if you know where to look.
Just a few hundred yards west of the camp entrance, on Hampshire Rocks Road, is a most unusual structure. What looks like a fireplace chimney, but has no flue, has kept locals mystified since it's origins, whenever that was. One local say's it's related to The Overland Emigrant Trail, which passes right in front of it. While looking at the mystery obelisk, we almost tripped over a "C" marker, as we call it. These concrete posts are what is called a "right of way" marker. The state would bury them, and I'm told they are 4 feet tall, to mark their area of influence along the road. Someone else had put some "marking tape" around it, but the three or four other times we had stopped here, it eluded us.
The next day found ourselves heading to Truckee and hunting down some Trails West “T” Markers for The Johnson Cut-Off Trail of the 1850’s and some Nevada sections of The Lincoln Highway. More on that in the next post.
It was on July 7th, 1919 that The Army's Motor Transport Corps convoy left Washington DC headed towards San Francisco. The trip was to see if the military could move men and machines across the country using the recently "completed" Lincoln Highway as the route. They almost didn't make it, arriving in Oakland seven day's behind schedule.
The convoy included, "24 expeditionary officers, 15 War Department staff observation officers, including a young, Bvt Lt Col Dwight D. Eisenhower of the Tank Corps, and 258 enlisted men." The experience Eisenhower had on the trip helped formulate his plan as President for an Interstate Highway System, still in place today.
The National Archives has a video of some of the trip. It's fascinating to watch, and at the 18:47 mark we start to see the mountains of Nevada and California, and the climb up Meyers Grade, across the summit, and down into Kyburz at the 21:45 mark.
The Lincoln Highway was the first transcontinental highway in The United States. In 1919 a young army officer by the name of Dwight D. Eisenhower joined with a group of fellow army soldiers who were going to attempt to cross the country, in a convoy of 80 trucks, motorcycles, and other vehicles, using the route of The Lincoln Highway. It was quite the slog with bridges that didn't hold the weight of the vehicles, or their size, and roads that were more mud than dirt. At that time in the early 20th Century, The Lincoln Highway was a series of roads stitched together by The Lincoln Highway Association and their map into a single route to follow from Times Square in New York to Lincoln Park in San Francisco. Here is a great link to more on that famous trip.
Eisenhower's experiences on that trip left a mark, when as President, on June 29th, 1956 he signed into law The Interstate Highway System. The bill created a 41,000-mile "National System of Interstate and Defense Highways" that would, according to Eisenhower, eliminate unsafe roads, inefficient routes, traffic jams and all of the other things that got in the way of "speedy, safe transcontinental travel."
The "Hint's to Tourists on The Lincoln Highway" guide mentions the various items to bring along for the Transcontinental trip. Most of the things are recognizable, like scissor (small), or a camera. Some items are less recognizable for their uses. A Rubber Sheet 6x7, yellow goggles, or "bachelor buttons?"
Bachelor Buttons, in this case, are buttons that use a stud pressed through the fabric and into a top button. They were sold extensively in the late 1800s and early 1900s as emergency buttons. There is a poem, "A Bachelor's Button," which is a lament by a man whose lover never sewed his button on his coat and had to use a bachelor's button to repair it. Haven't been able to find a copy of that poem.
Did you know that rearview mirrors were not on automobiles until 1914, or that Dorothy Levitt, a pioneer of female independence and female motoring, is credited with inventing it, in 1909!
In my last post, we discussed a small manual printed in 1914, by F.M. Trego, Chief Engineer of The Lincoln Highway Association. Titled, "Hints to Transcontinental Tourists Travelling on The Lincoln Highway," the small booklet described the items one might find necessary to bring with them while adventuring in the auto. One such thing to bring was a small mirror.
In 1909 Dorothy Levitt wrote a booklet titled, "The Woman and the Car: A Chatty Little Handbook for all Women Who Motor or Who Want to Motor. "The booklet was for "those [women] who would like to (motor), but either dare not because of nervousness, or who imagine it is too difficult to understand the many necessary technical details." Photographs illustrating the topics that Levitt describes, including recommended motoring dress, adjusting the footbrake and changing a spark plug.
One of the items she mentions is a mirror. "The mirror should be fairly large to be really useful, and it is better to have one with a handle. Just before starting take the glass out of the little drawer and put it into the little flap pocket of the car. You will find it useful to have handy, not only for personal use, but to occasionally hold up to see what behind you.” Yes, Dorthy Levitt had invented the rearview mirror, five years before it's adoption as a standard part of an auto. That is why Trego mentions bringing a mirror along on your Transcontinental journey.
You can read Levitt’s booklet here, at the National Archives.