If you’re driving the old Lincoln Highway today and tomorrow, you may see a parade of about 60 vehicles that’s making a coast-to-coast trek. Bob Lichty, president of the Lincoln Highway Association, is on the tour. Lichty says the cars are antiques, classics and modern cars — from model As to the latest models. And the drivers’ ages range just like the cars — from a 22-year-old woman to a 91-year-old man. The Lincoln Highway is the country’s first transcontinental road.The road was built, starting in 1913, with private money. There was no government funding. Lichty, who runs a car museum in Ohio, says the paved road changed everything in America — for tourism and transport. The president of the Packard Motor Company headed the road-building effort, and he picked the name Lincoln Highway because it was patriotic. Lichty says the nation — and Iowa — had mud roads before the Lincoln Highway. After a few years, the government took over maintenance of the Lincoln Highway. The Good Roads Act of 1926 marked the first time the federal government started paying for roads, according to Lichty. The feds numbered the highways, too, and designated the Lincoln Highway as Highway 30. The cross-country Lincoln Highway Tour began this morning in Clinton at the local Historical Society. They stop for lunch in Mt. Vernon; stop at the historic one-stop in Youngville; tour Preston’s Garage in Belle Plaine and then spend the night in Marshalltown after eating in Stone’s Cafe. On Saturday, the tour parades through Nevada, stops at the Iowa Lincoln Highway Association office in Ogden; eats lunch at Cronk’s Cafe in Denison; stops in Woodbine at a restored school house and then overnights in Omaha. The tour began August 17th in New York and ends in San Francisco’s Lincoln Park. The Lincoln Highway concept was born 90 years ago; the road was dedicated 75 years ago.
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