Sunday, April 26, 2009

Lincoln Highway in Linn County

Bisecting much of 42N country is the nation's first continental highway - the Lincoln Highway. The road is remembered in Linn County, Iowa with a series of roadside displays plus many tri-colored red-white-blue painted telephone poles with the characteristic "L" in the white field. This exhibit is located near the Mt. Vernon Road SE and Wilder Drive SE intersection in the eastern part of Cedar Rapids. Its here where the original Lincoln Highway veers to the northwest from the more straightened path of today's Mt. Vernon Road. Why? because the grade up the hill was deemed too steep for early autos to easily ascend. So a winding path on this hill (near the Lincoln Heights neighborhood) was constructed.

The 2004 dedicated display offers sections of original 1919 concrete bridge walls and mentions a four-tenths mile portion of the original Seedling Mile road in the state of Iowa. The Seedling Mile consisted of a concrete section of the Lincoln Highway as a demonstration to local governments and auto travellers that it was possible to pave rural sections of Iowa for economic gain. And even better yet, no one had to drive through axle deep clay mud anymore. The Seedling Mile section in Linn County is located just west of Mt.Vernon on the old Lincoln Highway.

In the above photos a portion of the original 16-foot wide pavement is still visible along with high curb walls designed to keep the Model Ts on the road and out of the ditches. I took a closeup shot of the pavement (above) to provide a glimpse of the 90-year old historic roadway. Double click on the photos to open a larger version. Know that.


  1. Good copy---
    pictures need white balanced =)
    your face

  2. I lived in Cedar Rapids from 1995-1997, at the Pheasant Run apartments. It wasn't until several years after I moved away that I realized I had lived (and traveled each day on the way to Van Horne) along the Lincoln Highway.

    Seeing the map you include in this post, I now realize that Johnson Avenue, which I took to Drugtown, the grocery store, and church, was part of the Lincoln Highway as well.

    Thanks for this perspective. I've written about parts of the Lincoln Highway we've traveled (in PA and IA) and soon hope to so a complete tour of the Iowa portion of the Lincoln Highway. I wish I'd known more about it when I lived right there.