The Lincoln Highway
National Museum & Archives
102 Old Lincoln Way West
Galion, Ohio 44833

(202) 536-5329

"Official Comments"

National Park Service
Lincoln Highway
Special Resource Study

Part 4
Specifics-2

August 27, 2004

Moving along to...

NHL Criterion 5:
Exceptional as a Collective Whole

only the second
of six possible
NHL Criterion,
the report states:

The Lincoln Highway
includes sites that are composed
of integral parts of the environment
that are exceptional as a collective whole,
but not necessarily as individual components.

And while true in part,
the real kicker is this...

"The Lincoln Highway corridor
encompasses numerous buildings
and structures that could be cited individually
for their historic significance."

which again
only goes to shows
that NPS has
"Missed the Point"
in
ONLY
recognizing the
"Physical Assets"
or
"Bricks and Mortar"
in making their evaluation.

Which brings me to...

NHL Criterion 2 & 3.

According to the
NPS Study,
The Lincoln Highway
DOES NOT QUALIFY
"As Nationally Significant"
under Criterion 2 & 3.

2) association with lives of persons
nationally significant in the history
of the United States.

and

3) representation of some great idea
or ideal of the American People.

Can you believe it???

Not associated with lives of persons
nationally significant in the history
of the United States???

Well for starters,
how about...

Abraham Lincoln,
"The Greatest American"
and
16th President of the United States!!

But don't take my word for it,
all you have to do...

is read...

Lincoln Highway...

Literature,
and if that's not good enough...

how about 68 Historians
polled by C-Span in a nationwide survey
for their year long series
"American Presidents-Life Portraits."

But this 1927 editorial by
Joe Mitchell Chapple...

in
National Magazine
says it best.

"There is no character in all the annals of history
who occupies a place even remotely comparable to Lincoln.
The story of his life, to young and old alike,
is a continuous source of inspiration."

"To this day he lives and walks among us,
although too often we forget his words and teachings.
Children of today and all the tomorrows look upon Lincoln's
name and fame with vivid realization of what his life interprets."

"There is no need to tell them stories of Lincoln
to impress them with his greatness;
nor a youngster that does not hush with reverence at the mention
of the name Abraham Lincoln."

"In far-off Baghdad even,
I found on my recent trip the children
knew and loved the unpretending Honest Abe."

And that's just one,
how about...

Carl Fisher,
Founder of the Lincoln Highway,
Founder of the Dixie Highway,
Founder of the Indianapolis 500
Founder of Miami Beach
Founder of Mauntauk Island
and
President of Prestolite???

And then there's...

Henry B. Joy,
First President of the Lincoln Highway Association
and
President of Packard Motors
Chairman of the Chicago Federal Reserve
and driving force
behind the development of...

The Liberty Engine,
which almost single handily
won the War
and was pronounced
"One of the greatest achievements in aircraft engine and design."

But let's not forget...

Frank Seiberling,
one of the first major benefactors
and President of Goodyear Tire & Rubber.

He also was the last and longest serving
President of the Lincoln Highway Association
and a big admirer of Abraham Lincoln.

It was Frank who braved a personal visit
to the Utah Desert...

to check out the situation,
got stranded for hours without water...

and pledged an addition $25,000
of his own money
to complete the project.

His vision and support
were responsible for this...

The Greatest Link
in
The Lincoln Highway.

Frank's motto was:

"To think big things,
is to do big things."

And let's not forget...

A. R. Pardington...

who quite literally
worked himself to death
building
The Lincoln Highway.

These words of tribute by...

Henry B. Joy
say it best.

And then,
what about...

Henry Osterman,
the driving force of
The Lincoln Highway
from 1915 to 1920...

before he died in an auto accident
early one morning outside Tama, Iowa
on the road he loved so much,
The Lincoln Highway.

One of the last things he did
was send a friend who lived on
The Lincoln Highway
a framed copy of
this Sam Foss poem,
"The House by the Side of the Road"

"Let me live in a house by the side of a road,
Where the race of men go by-
The men who are good and men who are bad,
As good and as bad as I,
I would not sit in the scorners seat,
Or hurl the cynics ban-
Let me live in a house by the side of a road
And be a friend to man."

Not to mention...

Gael Hoag,
who carried the ball...

to the very end
and was responsible for the...

1928 Boy Scout Markers,
and...

Austin Bement,
who was responsible for
all the ad layouts...

The Lincoln Highway Forum...

and made perhap
the last official trips across
The Lincoln Highway
in 1939.

And then there's,
Newton Gunn,
President of the Lincoln Highway Association
and
President of United States Rubber
who spearheaded...

"The Ideal Section"???

Not to mention...

Paramount film star
Anita King
as the first person to travel
across the Continent alone...

Captain Eddie Rickenbaker
and his role in the Radio Tour of 1922...

L. B. Miller...

and his record breaking drives
in the 20's & 30's...

and Amelia Earhart's...

Autogyro trip across the Continent
in the mid 30's.

So as you can see,
The Lincoln Highway
CLEARLY
qualifies under
Criterion 2,
but you wouldn't know it
to read the report.

As for
Criterion 3,
suffice to say,
The Lincoln Highway
IS
the epitome of
"Some Great Idea"
or
"Ideal of the American People"
and represents the
TRUE
"Spirit of America"

But don't take my word for it...

because
Frank Seiberling
said it best in this note to
Carl Fisher...

"All human progress is based on ideas-
ideas conceived in the minds of single individuals-
transmitted to others - developed and
executed into concrete, living realities."

"In so much as you conceived the idea
and are the father of
The Lincoln Highway Movement
and because you have given
unsparingly of your time,
energy and money
to this historic project
it is with great pleasure
that we present to you
this volume of
The Lincoln Highway."

But what was
Carl's "IDEA" for
The Lincoln Highway???

"The Lincoln Highway will never be finished.
You and I will be able to drive over it from
New York to San Francisco in 1915.
Perhaps ten years from now every mile will be of concrete,
but there will always be something more to do,
some improvement to make.

Not only is the Lincoln Highway a perpetual memorial,
but a road to be perpetuated by the energies of future generations.
We are only laying the foundations now."

The best minds in the country are
"laying the foundation now"
for the beautification of the Lincoln Highway ..."

"They are working today
that the tourist of fifty
and one hundred years from now
may cross the country over the most beautiful
and inspiring roadway in the world."

"The Lincoln Highway is to be something more than a road-

It will be a road with personality, a distinctive work
of which the Americans of future generations can point with pride
an economic but also artistic triumph."

Carl D. Fisher, Founder
The Lincoln Highway
Chicago, Illinois
1914

But it was Reverend Brainard
who called to the heroic...

"It is a name to conjure by.
It calls to the heroic.
It enrolls a mighty panorama of fields and woodlands;
of humble cabins and triumphant farm homes
and cattle on a thousand hills;
burrowing mines and smoking factories;
winding brooks, commerce laden rivers and horizon lost oceans.

And because it binds together all these wonders
and sweeps forward till it touches the end of the earth
and the beginning of the sea it is to be named the "Lincoln Highway".

It brings back to us the lank figure of the growing boy
walking the country roadway with borrowed books;
the dreaming out, surveying and building of his highway of the soul,

that should stretch from that mysterious ocean of the past, whence he came,
to the mysterious ocean of the eternal, to which he would go;
a highway along whose everyday travel he had a gentle word for the sorrowing,
a hand for the one in trouble, a sharp prod for the indifferent,
a word of council for the perplexed, an inspiration for the doubtful, and love for all;
the highway of the soul of the "Great American".

Rev. Frank G. Brainard
First Congregational Church
Ogden, Utah
September 21, 1913

And
H. Van Buren Magonigle...

who called it a
"Road of Character"
in this prophetic speech by
at the
American Institute of Architecture Banquet
on December 4, 1914.

"with the possibilities so vast,
they stagger the imagination..."

"I can but prepare the canvas;
others will complete the picture."

"Whatever they may be,
I conceive this road as a scroll upon which,
from coast to coast,
the history of our land shall be recorded,
a river of life,
a symbol of the march of humanity
toward perfection."

And now for the good part,
as the VISION began to manifest
and
The Lincoln Highway...

became...

"A Living Memorial Across America"
and a...

"Road of Remembrance"
as
The Lincoln Highway
began to record
the history of this land...

for those lost in
World War I...

and...

Lincoln's eternal...

fight...

for the greatest
American Ideal...

"...That Freedom Shall not perish from this earth."

And speaking of Lincoln's Ideal's,
this editorial by
Joe Mitchell Chapple...

says it best...

"There is something in the very name of Lincoln
that serves to connect it inseparably with
ideals for which he stood.

Ideals that God willing,
shall lead all peoples to a
new appreciation of new values
of brotherhood among men.

The world will never allow the memory
of Lincoln to pale.
There have been more poem and prose
tributes written about our
Civil War President
than any other man who has lived
since the time of Christ.

The story of his life
and his immortal speeches
have been translated
into every foreign tongue
and are rapidly becoming the medium
by which is accomplished the gradual
but marked change in the Orient,
which it is hoped may serve
eventually to bridge the gap
between the
East and West
and bring the world closer
together in fellowship that
shall cast off the shackles of
hate and malice
and glorify the grace for which
Abraham Lincoln's
Name is glorified."

"Charity for All"

But none of this
would be possible,
without the
PIONEERS
who understand the
TRUE
"Spirit of America".

Which is best articulated
in this 1947 interview
by Bessie Beaty and June Rhodes
with Jane Fisher about her husband
"The Fabulous Hoosier".

Bessie asks June a friend of Jane's
who recently read the book...

"What is the Keynote,
the most American thing about it??"

The Answer...

"Enterprise...
There is nothing American's
could not do if they wanted to,
the tradition of
AMERICA
is in that book."

"Now men would hesitate
to do that sort of fabulous thing,
but then all those big men
were doing that sort of thing..."

"And there dreams
are the things we are
realizing today."

"It took a Pioneer to do that!!"

"And that is the
"Spirit of America"
that seems to be just a little bit down now."

"I wish we'd stop worrying and go to work!!"

Then Bessie says,

"Stop worrying and go to work..."

To which Jane replies...

"I think that 's perfect."

"I think work is the greatest thing in the world."

"I love to work!!"

And so,
there you have it...
Criterion 2 & 3.

Warmest Regards,

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