Would you like to help us improve this Web site or do you want to get involved in the Association? There are many ways you can join in:
- Join the Illinois Lincoln Highway Association and the national organization with more than one thousand members! Go here for a form to print off and toss in the mail! Memberships start at $45 a year and include four issues of the Lincoln Highway Forum journal.
- Find the Facebook group for the Lincoln Highway.
- Contribute any information, artifacts, old postcards, photos, or just good stories that are related to the Lincoln Highway in Illinois.
Send your pictures and/or stories about Lincoln Highway to:
Kay Shelton Kozak
Please indicate if you would like those considered for this website, the Illinois newsletter, or both. Please send good quality copies (a photocopy of a photocopy of a photocopy probably would not work).
Call for Volunteers
Would Illinois Name a Road for You, Too?
The man in the picture is William G. Edens. He served as the President of the Illinois Highway Improvement Association and the Chicago Consul for the Illinois Lincoln Highway Association. He worked as a banker in Chicago at the Central Trust Company. Before that, he worked for the railroads and President McKinley appointed him as the Assistant General Superintendent of the Post Office. The knowledge that Mr. Edens had about the Lincoln Highway, the importance of roads, banking procedures, and how to talk to local citizens effectively came together and he led the effort to get voters in Illinois to approve a $60,000,000 bond for road building throughout the state in 1916. Anyone in the Chicago area is probably familiar with the Edens Expressway, which bears his name. Mr. Edens never owned or even drove a car!
It’s Time to Bring Back the Consuls for Illinois!
The Board recently approved of bringing back the Consuls for Illinois, based on the original Lincoln Highway Association. Only the present-day Lincoln Highway Association can trace its heritage back to the original group of entrepreneurs, car manufacturers, car enthusiasts, generous supporters, generous local supporters, and public officials who all gave their time, efforts, dedication, and sense of pride in the United States to make Carl Fisher’s dream of the creation of the first coast-to-coast highway a reality. As part of that original group of leaders, local consuls came from all across the areas the Lincoln Highway passed through, with each county having more than one, plus one from Chicago, like Edens. Today, the volunteer job will be a lot easier than trying to convince Illinois taxpayers to spend $60,000,000 for road improvements!!! Those willing to volunteer as a Consul could attend local events such as parades and car shows, be local contacts for events like the BuyWay Yard Sale so people with questions do not have to make long-distance phone calls, and participate in any other way based upon their own skills, backgrounds, and interests. We especially need volunteers on the eastern side.
Are you willing to follow in the paths of those early road leaders
who made our state the first to pave the Lincoln Highway all the way across!?
If you are willing to serve as a Consul, send e-mail to: kayshelton[at]hotmail.com.
Links to Resources
The picture of Edens from above is in the 1919 book, Illinois Highway Improvement Bluebook by Laura K. Kennedy, published by the Illinois Highway Improvement Association. Thanks to the University of Illinois, there is also an electronic copy available at:
The same digital archive to which the University of Illinois contributed a copy of the book also has a film of the 1915 dedication of the western terminus of the Lincoln Highway in San Francisco. This clip comes through the work of the Prelinger Archives in New York:
The Prelinger Archives also provided a digital copy of the 1935 book The Lincoln Highway: The Story of a Crusade That Made Transportation History.
The University of California scanned a study of the Skunk River Bridge in Iowa:
Lastly, there is a radio news program with an interview with the late Gregory M. Franzwa, one of the Lincoln Highway’s best researchers (following a long segment on Nevada casinos) at: http://www.archive.org/details/Insight_061129