I am doing to do something a little bit different this week. I am going to do a blog on the Lincoln Highway. This documentary is featured on the Wyoming PBS YouTube Channel. The documentary is called 100 Years of the Lincoln Highway.
The Lincoln Highway started in Times Square New York and crossed the country in San Francisco. IT was the first cross-country road in America. The country did not have many roads before the automobiles. Every road was a bike path or a dirt road farmers used to get in and out of town. These roads did not link together and go somewhere.
So what prompted the creation of the Lincoln Highway? Bikes were the driving force behind encouraging good roads. Oftentimes, the bicyclists encountered rough roads on their travels. So they felt that good roads were needed. Then when the automobile was invented, they took up the mantle of good roads. Carl G. Fisher lead the good roads movement, and his company worked on lights for automobiles. He also founded the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Fisher had the idea for a hard road highway that went from coast to coast. He went to the other automobile manufacturers for donations. He thought it could be done in time for the fair in San Francisco in 1915. Commerce was part of the puzzle however they wanted to encourage travel. He raised 4 Million dollars for the road. Henry Ford was the only hold out to donating because he believed that the government should build the road.
Cars were expensive, but then in 1908 the Ford Model T showed up and it was the first time a car was mass-produced. Finally, ordinary people could afford those cars. That car was rugged and could be repaired by its owner. The Model T was $200 and it was the car that put America on the road. People could journey across the country. The problem was that there were no good roads.
The Lincoln Highway Association was formed in 1913 and it was the first time someone would create, map, and sign a road in America. The highway got its name from President Lincoln because Lincoln linked the country together. The highway was dedicated in October 1913.
However there was a problem, the Lincoln Highway was just a variety of roads linked together. How difficult would the journey be? One hundred years later, Lincoln Highway enthusiasts came together to recreate that first journey. A road guide was created in 1916 for the Lincoln Highway. The guide suggested the best way to see the country was by camping and the guide recommended what equipment to bring. The road trip was born.
Cheyenne, Wyoming was one of five capitals linked by the Lincoln Highway. There was a grand hotel in the city and if a person could not afford a hotel then the city provided free camping at the lake. Tourists were surprised at the landscape they say but they enjoyed the experience. The Ames Monument was built to celebrate the men who created the Lincoln Highway. The Lincoln Highway was moved over the years to provide a better experience for the driver.
To continue to learn more about the Lincoln Highway watch this documentary.
This is an enjoyable documentary about America’s history and how the highway system developed. I would share with an American history class light and fun documentary. This would be a good documentary for a substitute teacher to share with the class. This documentary would be a good addition to a teacher’s documentary collection and one that you can show for years after because it was so enjoyable to watch.
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