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Lincoln Highway Companion: A Guide to America's First Coast-to-Coast Road Paperback – May 13, 2009


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Lincoln Highway Companion: A Guide to America's First Coast-to-Coast Road + Greetings from the Lincoln Highway: A Road Trip Celebration of America's First Coast-to-Coast Highway + The Lincoln Highway: Coast to Coast from Times Square to the Golden Gate
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books; 1 edition (May 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811735478
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811735476
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #209,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

PBS motors along Lincoln Highway

Rick Sebak was producing a television documentary called The Pennsylvania Road Show for Pittsburgh's PBS, WQED-TV, when he first heard about the Lincoln Highway.

I had met this guy named Brian Butko, Sebak says by telephone from WQED-TV in Pittsburgh. I don't think he had written his first book yet, but as we were driving, he kept pointing to these offshoots saying, See that? That's the old Lincoln Highway. I said Well, what's the Lincoln Highway?

Butko, who has now published eight books, including three about the Lincoln Highway, is among the historians, motor court operators, restaurateurs and travelers featured in Sebak's latest television documentary, A Ride Along The Lincoln Highway, which airs Wednesday on PBS stations nationwide.

The one-hour special uncovers the history, nostalgia and renewed interest in the route first mapped out in 1913 as the fastest, smoothest and most direct path from New York City to San Francisco.

There's still a lot of people who have no idea that it exists. Sebak says.

The Lincoln Highway was created when Carl Fisher, founder of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Prest-O-Lite headlamp company, combined resources with fellow titans Henry Joy, president of the Packard Motor Car Co., and Frank Seiberling, president of Goodyear, to create a cement roadway that would make cross-country automobile travel a legitimate option.

By 1915, cars were able to make the 3,389-mile journey that cut through Indiana near Fort Wayne, traveling northwest into Elkhart, Osceola, Mishawaka and South Bend before reaching New Carlisle, LaPorte, Valparaiso and westward.

In 1928, the northern Indiana section was abandoned for a more direct route that connected Fort Wayne and Valparaiso through Columbia City, Warsaw and Plymouth. But like so many other two-lane hwys, the Lincoln fell out of fashion in the 1950s, giving way to sleeker, faster interstates.

Since 1992, however, with the formation of the new Lincoln Hwy Assn, roadway preservationists have shown a renewed interest in the routes.

The best part of the whole cross-country experience is that you get to see everything, Sebak says. You see everyday America in incredible detail. You see Main Streets and beauty shops, ball fields and cemeteries. Not just roadside relics like diners and motels although they can be cool but everything.

For A Ride Along The Lincoln Highway, Sebak and his crew traveled from Pittsburgh to San Francisco twice and once from Pittsburgh to New York City and back in 2007 and 2008.

They stopped to have coffee at the Brick Street Station in Woodbine, Iowa; discovered an unusual independent gas station in Grand Island, Neb.; and attended the 2008 Lincoln Hwy Convention in Evanston, Wyo.

Our first trip, in August 2007, we took off not knowing what we would see, Sebak says. The only thing I had set up was a meeting with David Hay in South Bend.

Hay, a LaPorte man who was the executive director of the Lincoln Hwy Assn at the time, is among the historians featured in the program.

It's a historical road, but it's also something we use everyday, Hay says. It's not like going to a museum where we must keep our distance. The road is something we can put our feet on, put our tires on and experience. It's history is all around us, and it's not something we should take for granted.

In fact, Sebak says it was Hay who directed his crew to what would become a favorite destination during their cross-country treks.

There's this place (in LaPorte) called B&J's American Cafe, Sebak says. We ate there three times. In the entire country, I don't think we ate at any other place twice.

I said it at the time, but I dare say it again: This was the best road trip we've ever taken. --Jeremy D. Bonfiglio; South Bend Tribune

About the Author

Brian Butko lives in the Pittsburgh metro area and is the nation's leading authority on the Lincoln Highway. He is a founding director of the new Lincoln Highway Association.

More About the Author

I'm a writer and editor -- and always dreaming of being on the road. I write books about traveling old highways and the cool places you'll find along them.

In addition to the books I've written, I was also project manager or editor of:

* The Civil War in Pennsylvania: A Photographic History
* Maz, You're Up!
* Soul Soldiers: African Americans and the Vietnam Era
* Clash of Empires: The British French & Indian War, 1754-1763
* Pittsburgh's Strip District: Around the World in a Neighborhood
* Industry and Infantry: The Civil War in Western Pennsylvania (with Nicholas Ciotola)

Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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A good history book, nice pictures.
Petter Haraldstad
This book and the Lincoln Highway Association website were all we needed to travel the LH from Utah to Pennsylvania.
David Caswell
The good news is that it gives me everything I need to choose the route I find most interesting.
Steve Jones

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Robert A. Dieterich on May 29, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is fantastic! The color maps are clear and easy to read. The photos are excellent. And the contents are superb. The places described in this book are unique and fascinating. This book makes me want to fill up my gas tank and strike out again. It is a "must-have" for anyone wanting to drive our first coast to coast road, the Lincoln Highway.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Rowland on September 26, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is a convenient size, easy to bring along on a trip. The maps are not necessarily turn-by-turn, but detailed enough to keep you on the highway. The book is full of good information, but I get the feeling that the author left a lot of additional good material out due to space constraints. The pictures are wonderful. The book's only shortcoming is that it could easily be twice or three times as many pages, the Lincoln Highway has so many interesting sights to see!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Steve Jones on April 26, 2010
Format: Paperback
Though its 192 pages are filled with great full-color photos on quality paper, this is no coffee table decoration designed to give you something to flip through during commercials.

It's the ultimate detailed authority on the current and historical alignments of the Lincoln Highway, conveniently sized to fit in a glove box (just over 8×5').

Every mile of the Lincoln Highway is covered with detailed color-coded maps showing the following:
* Original 1913 alignments
* Intermediate alignments or sanctioned detours
* Final Alignments still in use by 1930
* Modern detours
* Gone or hard to reach
The map scale varies as needed to show meaningful detail, all the way down to 1 inch per mile.

It bursts with snippets of interesting things to see, lodging and great food along the route - but the maps are the star of the show. It is obvious that a great deal of research went into this.

The author has put together a short video highlighting the features of the book: [...]

I originally bought it with the intention of putting together the "definitive" route for a Lincoln Highway Coast-to-Coast ride, but now I see there are too many variables and the decisions are just too subjective. The good news is that it gives me everything I need to choose the route I find most interesting.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Don M on January 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
I purchased The Lincoln Highway Companion with the intent of using it to find old diners, mom and pop motels, and other sites of interest during my journey along the highway from New York to San Francisco. What I didn't realize until the trip was underway was how much I would rely on this guide's wonderful maps covering each alignment of the road. I traveled alone, and the book truly became my companion. It was in my lap for the entire coast-to-coast trip and was in fact my primary guide to each turn along the way. Of course, the book still tells you about all those interesting places to see, eat, and stay, all of which are conveniently listed in the order you encounter them as you make your way along the highway.

While some Lincoln Highway travelers have the luxury of taking months or even years to see everything there is to see along the old road, my trip was a fairly quick one. I had read Butko's excellent coffee table book and history of the road, Greetings from the Lincoln Highway, but there was no way my schedule would allow me to see everything included there. The Lincoln Highway Companion's more limited scope allowed me to easily find the most popular sites that shouldn't be missed, yet it didn't overwhelm me with more than I would ever have time to see.

If you're planning a trip along the Lincoln Highway, do your homework. Read the many excellent books on the subject, make lists of the things that are most important to you, and plan to spend as much time on the road as you possibly can. And as you head out on your journey, be sure to have the Lincoln Highway Companion on your lap.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Carol A. Osgerby on March 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
We have thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is well-written and the notes for the various sights along the way are excellent. We especially like the places to eat, as we are making the trip on the Lincoln from Chicago to Salt Lake City in September, 2010. In addition, living in NW Indiana we have already seen much of the road locally and will follow the original route from the IN/Ill state line to Fort Wayne and the Ohio line in May of this year. We highly recommend this book. The authors books on Route 66 helped tremendously on our trip to California. Keep up the great writing!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By LMS Adventurers on February 3, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
After looking at several reference books we chose this book and this past weekend we began our adventure on the Lincoln Highway.We started in New York City and are heading west so we are simply looking at the book and using it in reverse since it starts in San Francisco. We are glad we purchased this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G Husk on August 10, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Useful for off the beaten path traveling. Good starting point to get you off of the interstate and explore some of the "real" America out there. The author's love of the road less traveled is evident.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By David Caswell on July 7, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Book is well laid out and easy to follow. We especially liked the must see list for each state. This book and the Lincoln Highway Association website were all we needed to travel the LH from Utah to Pennsylvania. Great fun.
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