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100th Anniversary of the Lincoln Highway
A man changes a flat tire in the mud west of DeKalb.  Image courtesy of the Regional History Center at Northern Illinois University.

Why they needed a paved highway

A man changes a flat tire in the mud west of DeKalb. Image courtesy of the Regional History Center ...
This image is of the road after paving.   Image courtesy of the Regional History Center at Northern Illinois University.

Section 14 of the paving of the Lincoln Highway

This image is of the road after paving. Image courtesy of the Regional History Center at Northern Illinois University.
Can you guess when this picture was taken of the Aurora Tire & Battery shop?  Image from the collection of Ruth Frantz.

Aurora Tire & Battery Shop

Can you guess when this picture was taken of the Aurora Tire & Battery shop? Image from Ruth Frantz.

Welcome to the Land of Lincoln Highway, a web site of the Illinois Chapter of the Lincoln Highway Association! This web site celebrates Lincoln Highway in Illinois through stories, photographs, maps and more. It also keeps its members in touch with news and the latest events. We hope you enjoy the ride!

Lincoln Highway, the first improved transcontinental highway in the U.S. forever changed the way Americans saw their country. The first Seedling Mile of this historic highway was laid right here in Illinois, near Malta.

Virtual Walking Tour of Geneva, Illinois

For anyone staying at home because of the virus, the Geneva History Museum produced a virtual walking tour of the historic homes and buildings. Homes and buildings on S. First St. are on the original route of the Lincoln Highway and those on S. Third St. are on the second generation routing of the Lincoln Highway. There is a brief mention of the Lincoln Highway after nine minutes. The Little Traveler store was a major stopping location for early travelers and the store is there today, with online shopping until the stay-at-home order is lifted, see: Enjoy!

2020 Annual Lincoln Highway Association Pre-Conference and Conference Cancelled Because of Virus

            Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to keep everyone safe from the spread of the virus, the LHA Board of Directors and the Illinois Conference Committee cancelled the Joliet 2020 Conference.  Also, organizers for the annual Drivin’ the Dixie event in Illinois, Carl Fisher’s other road, cancelled it, too.  We planned to have the Drivin’ the Dixie event as a pre-conference activity. 

            The next host of the LHA Conference, the California Chapter wisely predicted that the virus would cause the cancellation of the Joliet 2020 Conference.  Here is what will happen.  Both conference locations will be pushed back one year.  The 2021 LHA Annual Conference will be in the Joliet area and the 2022 LHA Conference will be held in California, in the Sacramento area. 

            For those of you who already registered for the 2020 Conference in Joliet, you will receive a full refund, if we processed your payments.  As the virus situation became worse, the LHA held some checks without cashing them. 

           We in Illinois hope that everyone will stay safe and we hope to see our LHA family in 2021 in Joliet for the Annual Conference as well as the Drivin’ the Dixie event.

Cass Street Bridge on the Lincoln Highway

Cass Street Bridge on the Lincoln Highway in Joliet

Concrete Marker Re-Dedication Postponed

The concrete marker re-dedication at the Lincoln Way Inn Bed & Breakfast in Franklin Grove originally scheduled for September 10th at 10:30 a.m. will need to be postponed to a later date. The bed & breakfast needs to attend to guests that weekend.

Once a new date can be selected, information will be posted.

Lincoln – Grant Memorial Highways Driving Tour

In mid October 2015, in time for the changing colors of the leaves, the Illinois Chapter took a two-day driving tour of the Lincoln and Grant Memorial Highways, connecting them with Route 31 to the east and the Great River Road, along the west side of northern Illinois, with a side trip through Lena on the Stagecoach Trail. Below you can find a PDF of general driving directions, so anyone who wants to plan out a similar two-day driving tour can do so. The driving directions make a big counter-clockwise loop around northern Illinois. The fall driving tour was one of the most scenic places to visit in northern Illinois. Connecting the history of Lincoln and Grant makes sense, both geographically and historically, too.

You are welcome to print the driving directions but they are under copyright so please treat them like you would a printed book for citing quotes.


Lincoln and Grant Driving Directions PDF

License Plates / Sticker House Bill

On June 23, House Bill 1081 which passed, will go to the Illinois Senate. This bill, if passed, would replace the specialized license plates with a new universal license plate but with a specialized sticker representing the organization. The bill passed overwhelmingly in the House and we expect it to pass in the Senate. Here is the bill’s current status:

HB 1081

Vote on if you are still interested in a specialized sticker or not here!

Ohio will get a special Lincoln Highway license plate but in Illinois, the special plate program might be replaced by special stickers.

Specialized License Plate / Specialized Sticker

Quite some time ago, the Illinois Chapter Board voted to pursue establishing a Lincoln Highway-themed license plate. The idea is for a permanent license plate, not a temporary, special events license plate. Temporary, special events license plates are generally not too complicated to set up but this would be for a permanent license plate, just like the other license plates, like these: Illinois License Plates.

The Illinois General Assembly would need to approve the design. Since the Spring Newsletter went out, the House voted 108 to 1 to stop making specialized license plates and instead allow drivers to have a sticker representing their interest on a standardized plate. See this article: Specialized Illinois license places could be replaced with stickers

With an overwhelming majority vote in the House, it is quite possible that the idea to have specialized stickers on a standardized plate will replaced specialize plates. Prior to the recent vote in the Illinois House about specialized stickers instead of plates, Larry Williams of Williams Graphics designed some possible designs for the Lincoln Highway. Take a look:


Design #1


Design #2


Design #3


Design #4

Read the text of House Bill 1081 here.

Vote on if you are still interested in a specialized sticker or not here!

Fifth Friday at the H. I. Lincoln Building

October 2014 has five Fridays and that means music at the H. I. Lincoln Building in Franklin Grove!

Jim Wolber at the Lincoln Building

For more than a decade Franklin Grove’s historic H.I. Lincoln Building has hosted some of the music world’s best artists as a part of their third Friday “Blues & Bluegrass” and special Fifth Friday shows. Among the “best of the best” in this stellar lineup has been Franklin Grove’s own Jim “Mr. Friday Night” Wolber.

Jim’s musical talents, both vocal and guitar, are recognized by music fans from Nashville to Chicago. His Country meets Rock & Roll music style has an appeal that everyone can enjoy.

In 2014 a Fifth Friday and Halloween both occur on October 31st, a confluence of dates that won’t occur again until the year 2025. Certainly, in addition to great music, the situation calls for special prizes for: Most Original Costume; Scariest Costume; and Most Beautiful Costume

There will be two action packed shows at 7:00 and 9:00 pm. Seating is limited so don’t delay. Tickets are available for a $10 donation by calling the H.I. Lincoln building at 815-456-3030 daily from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm, noon to 4:00 pm on Sundays, or stop by the H.I. Lincoln building during the same hours.

Jim’s shows are always sell-outs. Be sure to get your tickets early.

For more information:
Ron Colson 815-973-0942

# # #


September 13, 2014 Mini Driving Tour / Jens Jensen Documentary

One of two signs that mark the beginning and end of the First Seedling Mile in Malta, Illinois.

One of two signs that mark the beginning and end of the First Seedling Mile in Malta, Illinois.

Tickets for the Jens Jensen Documentary at the Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb can be purchased at the door beginning at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 13. The documentary begins at 7:00 p.m. and coincides with Jens Jensen’s birthday. If you want to join the tour past the deadline, print the form, bring it on Saturday, and e-mail your meal choice ASAP to:

Join us at 10:00 a.m. at the Northwest Territory Historic Center in Dixon for a mini driving tour!

Northwest Territory Historic Center

Mini Driving Tour Sign Up Form

The tour will have stops at a historical marker, a gazebo, and a mural that all commemorate the Lincoln Highway’s First Seedling Mile which turns 100 this fall!

For the history of Seedling Miles, take a look at this excellent article by Timothy Collins: “Seedling Miles” Grow Lincoln Highway.

The Norwegians are Coming!

9882150-flag-of-norwayYes, the Norwegians are coming! Last year, over 100 Norwegians, Swedes, Danes, and Germans crossed the Lincoln Highway in vintage automobiles shipped across the Atlantic Ocean for the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln Highway. This year, a group of Norwegian motorcyclists will be traveling the Lincoln Highway from San Francisco to New York City, leaving San Francisco on Sunday, July 27th, coming through Illinois on Tuesday, August 5th, and arriving in New York City on Monday, August 11th, 2014.

If we receive any additional details about their travel plans, that information will be detailed here.