Historic Motor Convoy Treks the Lincoln Highway

I’ve always had an interest in history and historical reenactments. Well, I took a long lunch from work the other day and went to one the likes of which I’ve never attended.

Evanston Wyoming, where I live, lies along the route of he old Lincoln highway, the first transcontinental road system in the country.

Lincoln_highway_nebraska

In 1919, the Transcontinental Motor Convoy , a military expedition, used the Lincoln High to cross the country from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco, California.  They averaged fifty-eight miles per day to test the U.S. Military’s ability to move material and personnel across the country overland using moterized vehicles, in the event of war with an “Asiatic Enemy”.  Another convoy took place the following year to San Diago.  Along the way they improved roads, built bridges, etc., and treated it as a military exercise—as if they were passing through potential enemy territory.  They experienced the trials inheriant with the movement of equipment through unimproved areas, including mud, quicksand and breakdowns.  Several vehicles were lost, and the convoy arrived at their destination late, but still set a world record by breaching the 3,000 mile distance in just 60 days. 

LH-Map-75

One of the participants in the endeavour was Lieutenant Colonel Dwight Eisenhower who later, as President of the United States, began the Interstate Highway System when he signed the Federal Highway Act of 1956.  He described the conditions through Southwest Wyoming at the time as “very poor dirt roads” and said that much of the path through Utah and Nevada were little more than wagon ruts through the desert.  Much of the original Lincoln Highway through Uinta County here is still dirt road.

Photograph_of_the_1919_Transcontinental_Motor_Convoy

On Wednesday, July 1st of this year, a 90th anniversary re-enactmentof this convoy, using vintage antique military vehicles, stopped here in Evanston for lunch and the vehicles sat on display for the public.  It was a hot day, but I went and looked around, asked some questions and took pictures.  Most of the vehicles in the re-enactment are WWII vintage, or around there, but I did see one period vehicle on a trailer.  I was told that it runs great and that they only take it out and drive it around at overnight stopovers.

The event is sponsored by the Military Vehicle Preservation Association.  They left Washington D.C. on June 13th and are scheduled to arrive in San Francisco on July 8th.  If you live along the Lincoln Highway, check with your local community for the details and get out and witness this historic occasion.  If the convoy is scheduled for a stopover near you, check it out.  Otherwise, just be somewhere they will pass by so you can take some pictures and give them a wave.  Maybe you cn make it part of your July 4th celebration.

If you write a blog or post your photos online, leave a comment here with the URL and I’ll include it, and I’ll even even link it in if I post a followup article.

I gleaned the historic pics, the map, and some of the factoids above from various articles on Wikipedia, the pics below came from my Samsung i760 smartphone.

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~ by Bill Housley on July 3, 2009.

2 Responses to “Historic Motor Convoy Treks the Lincoln Highway”

  1. […] Read more: Historic Motor Convoy Treks the Lincoln Highway « Bill Housley … […]

  2. I to live by the Lincoln Highway as it passes through Nebraska. It is about two miles from my house. Still has sections with the original “brick” surface. Very rough road and historic. I wish I would have caught these guys going through our town. It would have been nice to watch.

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