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Honoring America’s First Transcontinental Highway

 

Honoring the Road

 

The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor
 

Pennsylvania’s Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor (LHHC) honors the 92-year-old cross-country road with the 200-Mile Roadside Museum on the western side of the state. The LHHC is a nonprofit organization and one of 12 heritage areas in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the 200-Mile Roadside Museum is to remain in place for a 10-year period.

 
Just as the Lincoln Highway sparked the public’s imagination and fostered the rapid growth of automobile tourism in the early 20th century, the 200-mile LHHC beckons the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of its first travelers to ride the same ribbon of highway. A trip on the Lincoln Highway becomes a passage through time and place, allowing tourists to discover its historical, cultural and recreational attractions.
 

The museum uses the highway to tell its region’s stories, which travelers will find in the form of site markers, wall plaques, interpretive waysides and murals. In addition, this year LHHC hosts 23 vintage gas pumps (circa 1940s) as part of a creative public art project, linking professional artists with life-size fiberglass copies of the original pumps. Each pump is painted by a Pennsylvania artist and will be located next to one of the roadside museum interpretive exhibits.

 
Exhibit sites include some with audio components, a “Picture Yourself on the Lincoln Highway” photo opportunity and a painted gas pump – all to make the experience interactive. The route takes sightseers through a variety of quaint Pennsylvania towns, such as Ligonier, Schellsburg, Bedford, McConnellsburg, Chambersburg, Gettysburg and New Oxford, which give an added dimension to antiquing and shopping.
 

Attracted by the romance of the Lincoln Highway era, many travelers are returning to noninterstate highways, appreciating what roads like the Lincoln Highway have to offer.

 

The highway crosses the state of Pennsylvania, which took specific measures to accommodate these travelers about a decade ago. That’s when a Feasibility Study and Management Action Plan was completed, and former Governor Tom Ridge designated several Pennsylvania counties from just east of Pittsburgh to beyond Gettysburg as the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor (LHHC). LHHC’s 200-Mile Roadside Museum makes a uniquely historical presentation of the route with funky roadside attractions.

 

Pennsylvania’s LHHC helps to make the history of U.S. highways interesting through its museum. Traveling that part of the Lincoln Highway provides experiences in nostalgic Americana and confirms that getting there can be more than half the fun.

 

Karen Fetter is the Marketing Manager for the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor.

 

For more information on the LHHC, visit www.lhhc.org. Also, read an interesting biography of Carl G. Fisher through a keyword search at www.indianahistory.org.

 

 

 


 

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