Over the Thanksgiving weekend, Monica and I decided to take a Lincoln Highway road trip from Placerville to Altamont Pass. We tried to follow the "first generation" Lincoln as much as possible. Traveling through the town of Galt we stopped to see a rock monument to The Lincoln Highway. It features an actual piece of the concrete stamped with the contractor's name.
Fast forward to the small town of Lathrop, situated along Interstate 5, California’s modern day north south expressway. We stopped to take in a monument to the Lincoln Highway, and The Wiggins Trading Post, which served travelers on The Lincoln and roads from 1924 to 1967. Nice looking monument! Only thing missing would be a piece of Lincoln Highway Concrete like the one in Galt features.
Just after we started driving west from the monument, we watched the Lincoln Highway Map which we keep handy in the car. It shows the old routes, along with the recent driving routes. We watched the map as it showed the old Lincoln Highway weaving in and out of the present day road. You would never know the old highway traveled this way without the map, and the occasional Lincoln Highway signs mounted on street poles. Monica and I have become pretty good at spotting pieces and paths of the old route. It was less than a quarter mile from the monument to The Wiggins Trading Post that we saw something interesting by the side of the road.
We parked on the other side of the road, as I approached it was not only looking more and more like a section of Lincoln Highway concrete poking out of the dirt. Once I got close enough, I called Monica to come and check it out. It was stamped with the contractor's name and the date June (?) 1928! It was a piece of the old highway! It wasn't on the official Lincoln Highway map, which generally lists all the historic highway features by the side of the road. No mention of this original section of road. We took photos, a video, and made a note of its location on our map. As soon as we got back home, we started to do some research.
We contacted the good people of The Lincoln Highway Association and asked if they had knowledge of this artifact. No, they had not! We figure that when it comes to anything Lincoln Highway, they would know. So now it's getting exciting, as it may be a previously unknown section of the highway we discovered. This week I'll contact the San Joaquin County historical society to see if they have any knowledge of this piece of history. The Lincoln Highway Association wants to preserve this, and it's quite exciting to think that this lovely piece of history, laying by the side of the busy interstate may one day have its very own monument!
We are quite excited about our find. It goes to show that there is still plenty to be discovered and rediscovered concerning California history. They key? Get out there, keep your eyes open, and don't be afraid to take the road less traveled.