Monday, February 15, 2010

"Hey there, neighbor, goin' my way? East or west on the Lincoln Highway?


"Hey there, neighbor, goin' my way? East or west on the Lincoln Highway? Hey there Yankee, give out with a great big thank-ee; You're in God's Country! When You Travel the Great Lincoln Highway!"

In the 1940s, the Lincoln Highway became a backdrop for an NBC Saturday morning radio show broadcast before nearly 8 million listeners know it  Lincoln Highway. The show featured life along the Lincoln Highway and  hosted many of the eras' stars such as Joan Bennett, Ethel Barrymore, Joe E. Brown...Joooooeeeey!, Claude Rains and Burgess Meredith.   

Veering unexpectedly into this occasional 1940s snippet and that ocassional trivia or from this valued resource and that resource, all with regards to the Lincoln Highway....Jolene Bungalow Gal was, indeed  heading full on into intrigue! I could 'near feel it!   Also, the mere co-incidence that the Lincoln Highway zooms right through Gettysburg, PA and not too far at all from Quite The Stir Bungalow (wink!) held a particular allure too!  Ahhh, the Lincoln Highway was now made all the more intriguing for further probing into the gently curving bends and stretches, Gentle Readers.

Before I continue onward regaling tales about the Lincoln Highway, I simply must pause a moment to inquire of you (all, of course, in the interest of practicing fine road etiquette and fair driving rules)....
Do you care to hear more, gentle readers? 

I DO believe I can near inhale the cheering crowds' agreement! So, then,  I'll give heed to my biological impulses and steer onward (in a soprano steady and clear...)  Do you have your Trip Ticket?  Are you safely buckled up?  Checked your rear view mirror for Mounties?

Fragile and,  at places defying and tottering on the edges of decomposition, marred with fissures, bits of crumbles and great gaps of once white-hot sincerity remains to Americans... The Lincoln Highway!  America’s first transcontinental interstate highway, with 3,389 miles of winding roadway spanning from Times Square, New York to Lincoln Park in San Francisco, California.  The Lincoln Highway was, once in a lullaby, one of the most famous roads in the country.  Ahhh, thanks to this grand Highway, the East Coast and West Coast enjoyed sharing the palpable attraction, spark and conflagration of lights and life, hitherto and before scattered and fragmented.  The Lincoln Highway had enjoined Americans in the pursuit of peace liberty and justice to all and to one another!

As I traveled further onward in my search of  facts about the Lincoln Highway, I was most certainly beginning to think....

Shouldn't the Lincoln Highway be considered among the Seven Wonders of the World if not The Seven Wonders of the Industrial World, says I? Perhaps that attitude seems gratuitous and patronizing of me? I'm partial now, remember location, location, location... (wink)!

You, on the other hand, may query What is the Lincoln Highway? Why The Seven Wonders of the World? So what if it stretches endlessly throughout the United States? So what if it ribbons through Gettysburg, PA near Quite The Stir Bungalow (wink again!)? It's not the Great Wall Of China!  Why,what radical complacent bourgeois 'ne neanderthal species would undertake such a folly in the first place? The idea seemed a solution to everything?  And Why?

Well,  the complacent bourgeois 'ne neanderthal species who set out to undertake this adventure was  a Mr. Carl G. Fisher.

Carl Fisher, (that innovative gentleman)  recognized a change in America's infrastructure was called for!   And, that change was a transcontinental highway!  He thoughtfully contemplated road conditions of the early 1900s. He took note of increased numbers in automobiles and the transport of people and goods. He saw that roads didn't connect while others were dirt or asphalt, that ended sometimes bewildered and nowhere or could at times disappear completely at a loss wandering in the deserts, peaks and valleys east and west! And, what's worse (Oh no!) noted Mr. Carl G. Fisher...there were no systematic road maps, and no lovely road signs! Yes, 2.5 million miles of roadway existed, in some form, but traveling could be a bit of a bug, under these conditions, to say the least!  Mon Dieu! Enough information proof positive for Mr. Fisher! His idea of a transcontinental highway was in the proverbial bag, pitch piped to fellow business entrepreneurs and onward ho to the citizens of dale and valley!

Now, I'm formulating and modulating my thoughts upon gathering fact finding information and I say...What more brilliant person to bring about this past due American transcontinental route than Fisher!?

He was an automobile entrepreneur, a maker of headlights and a creator for goodness sakes!  It was said Carl G. Fisher relished the challenge of converting ideas into realities.  Don't be chagrined Gentle Readers, I'm a bit bit late in finding it out too. This is the man, who in 1911, paved and bricked the Indianapolis Motor Speedway which eventually roared into success as the Indianapolis 500!  Ladies and Gentlemen, START YOUR ENGINES was exactly what Carl did!  With, undiminished urgency hand in hand, with vigor and a stoke full of adrenaline, ideas and money to burn before a well-heeled audience, Carl got a move on!

But not too fast now!  The probable success of this transcontinental highway proposition would depend on others for funding and support!  That being said, Henry Ford was one of the supporters Carl Fisher looked to. Unfortunately, well, ...Ford wasn't buying (literally and figuratively) the idea of a transcontinental highway supported by private funds!  It is said that Ford reasoned the public would never learn to fund good roads if private industry did it for them!  If you listen to history closely, can you hear the music and ominous words "funding in jeopardy"?  Carl was not deterred by Henry Ford (well, maybe a bit ) just yet and continued gunning his engines for a transcontinental highway.

With the help and funding of other auto industry executives who themselves had made history through Packard cars, Good Year tires to Prest-O-Lite batteries, the project roared onward!  These automobile industry executives were mega mogul giants such as Frank Seiberling, president of Goodyear, and Henry Joy, president of the Packard Motor Car Company.  They not only pledged money to Fisher's idea and support, Henry Joy, himself suggested the naming of the Lincoln Highway in honor of U. S. President Abraham Lincoln!  How very patriotic of them! (And clever, too!)