The Lincoln Highway was the first road across the United States of America. Actively promoted by entrepreneur Carl G. Fisher, the Lincoln Highway originally spanned coast-to-coast from Times Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco through 13 states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. In 1915, the "Colorado Loop" was removed. Thus, there are a total of 13 states, 128 counties, and over 500 cities, towns and villages through which the highway passed at some time in its history.
Conceived in 1912 and formally dedicated October 31, 1913, the Lincoln Highway was America's first national memorial to President Abraham Lincoln, predating the 1922 dedication of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. by 9 years. As the first automobile road across America, the Lincoln Highway brought great prosperity to the hundreds of cities, towns and villages along the way. Affectionately, the Lincoln Highway became known as "The Main Street Across America".
The first officially recorded mileage for the entire Lincoln Highway was 3,389 miles (5,454 km) in 1913. Over the years, the road was improved and numerous realignments were made. By 1924, the Lincoln Highway had been shortened to 3,142 miles (5,056 km). Counting the original route and all of the subsequent realignments, there is a grand total of 5,869 miles (9,445 km).
The Lincoln Highway was inspired by the Good Roads Movement. In turn, the Lincoln Highway inspired the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act of 1956, which was championed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, influenced by his experiences as a young soldier crossing the country in the 1919 Army Convoy on the Lincoln Highway.
The Lincoln Highway Association (LHA), originally established in 1913 to plan, promote, and sign the highway, was re-formed in 1992 and is now dedicated to promoting and preserving the road. The LHA, with over 1,100 members throughout the United States and overseas, has active chapters in 12 Lincoln Highway states. The association maintains a national tourist center in Franklin Grove, Illinois, in an historic building built by Harry Isaac Lincoln, a cousin of Abraham Lincoln. The LHA holds yearly national conventions, and is governed by a board of directors with representatives from each Lincoln Highway state.
Ohio has a valuable resource in the Lincoln Highway, the most influential road in the history of world auto travel. For many years the significance of the road was forgotten, but recently there has been a resurgence in interest of it, and the impact that it had on world auto travel and the development of the United States.
In 1992, historians gathered to rebirth the Lincoln Highway Association, the original organization that created the road in 1913. By 2000 there were over 1,000 members, with 120 in Ohio alone. They re-traveled the road and found an incredible number of artifacts including brick roads, brick and stone markers and pillars, antique gas stations and motels; in short, it was an untapped museum of early road culture. But these artifacts were slowly disappearing in the name of progress.
In an effort to slow the destruction, the members of the Ohio Lincoln Highway League began publishing the history of the road in an attempt to raise interest.
For more information on the Lincoln Highway, read the full article on Wikipedia.