The Covered Wagon
Constructed in 1932
Rev. & Mrs. Shaw
Purchased property after returning from China –
missionaries for Seventh Day Adventists
Had home-made gifts to sell
Buffalo burgers and buttermilk
Seven years – Mrs. Shaw developed a food of vegetables, tasted like
Went to Washington, D. C. to patent
Sold property to Boyd & Lenora McClara
Added wild animals – buffalo, bear, fox,
skunk, snakes in a jar, coyote, wolf
Charged admission – children helped
Built a house next door
Children grew up, ready for college – moved to Arizona
Sold property to Nick & Rose Ponticello
Had auction, sold animals
Established the Souvenir Shop
Tourist attractions on Lincoln Highway and
Highway 30 before interstate.
Midway Hotel & soldiers monument
Lincoln Highway by Dorothy Weyer
Nebraska – early 1900’s - all those new
automobiles - few places to drive them
A few blocks in town, maybe
Organized clubs -- Americans do, you
know - set up excursions
Hastings Automobile Club, 1910,
went all the way to Harvard and back,
fifty automobiles, in a single day
Members went from one town to another in caravan to boost each other out
of deep ruts, push each other up steep grades
The automobiles were ready. But the roads
Nebraska legislatures of 1869, 1871,
and 1873 - section lines were to be public roads
Mostly trails, adequate for horses and slow-moving wagons
Not good enough for automobiles - capable of speeds as high as 35 mph.
1909 - total road mileage in Nebraska - 80,338
77 counties reported no improved
roads at all.
Road repair was a township
Highway Associations followed auto associations - Got support from
towns on their routes.
• Good Roads Association
About 1911 – The O-L-D highway (for
Omaha, Lincoln, Denver)
1920 became the D-L-D, from Detroit to Denver; it is now known as US 6
Proposed a book telling about turns and grades, with pictures of
So travelers could "easily follow the
highway through the state
without asking questions of anybody."
• Lincoln Highway Association
Nebraska branch one of the most active in
New York City to San Francisco, in Nebraska following the Oregon Trail
Passed through 15 counties, 53 towns.
Was a marvel of the age, for it had occasional concrete markers
the highway far better than descriptions of turns at barns or
Seedling miles - cement manufacturers offered free to any community 3000
barrels Grand Island, Kearney, and Fremont took advantage of the offer.
Taxpayers weren't interested in spending
money on roads.
Federal Aid Road Act of 1916 -
o federal funds to match state money
o impetus for early development of roads within the state
those highways which
were part of an interstate road system.
US 20, Lincoln highway (30), US 26, US 77, US 81.
o Before numbers, the roads had names
S-Y-A , for the Seward-York-Aurora route;
The Harding, Columbus, Grainland, Potash
Touring facilities in city parks to
attract motorists. 1920’s [Tourist Information Center]
Bulletin Boards with up-to-date
information about road conditions, including detours.
Fine new graveled roads almost always
had road-graders somewhere along their lengths
hazardous to pass on the narrow roadway;
after the driver had completed the maneuver he often found himself with a
tire, the grader blade having kicked up glass or nails which caused
The gravel pile in the center of
the road was another peril, and loose gravel flipped
many a car which had to brake to negotiate 90-degree turns on the highway.
1926 Nebraska highways were numbered and marked with metal signs
Gas stations began to
distribute free roadmaps.
Advertising evolved, itinerant
painting crews wandering through the countryside offering to paint barns if
the farmers would allow such slogans as "Carter's Little Liver Pills" or
"Pink Pills for Pale People." A few years later, during the Depression
years, drivers and passengers alike chuckled at the Burma-Shave signs
[Tent City on west edge of Kearney[
[Cabin camps – Cannon Motel – other
motels – Hammer, etc]
Nebraska roads carried heavy traffic - far from adequate, far behind the
standards of other states.
Kearney Daily Hub, April 4, 1923 ad - An interesting mix of
services as the times changed
Don't Undertake to send your money
When you can buy cheaper and better
in Kearney at the
J.M. CRAIG AUTO TOP WORKS,
We are now repairing and oiling har-
ness. Bring it in early.
Kearney Daily Hub, April 2, 1923
Mr. Jordan, highway commissioner,
states that work is progressing favorably on the Lincoln Highway, east. Many
farmers have already set back their fences and grading will be started
shortly. The farmers have been asked to establish their new fence line not
less than eighteen inches inside of the road line, that it may be properly
anchored against being dislodged when grading gets under way.
Kearney Daily Hub, April 3, 1923
Five Patrolmen Are Being Used on County Roads
Their duties were listed in this article:
drag road after every rain
keep ditches clean ad culverts open
keep grass and weeds off shoulders and
mow inside the fences.
maintain guard rails and road markers
remove snow when ordered to
report accidents, cars without licenses
or improper license
keep equipment in working order
help the traveling public free of charge
Patrol operators – Run the road
One township maintains its own roads
– Shelton Township
All others contract with the county
Types of roads
Federal highways –
30 – original Lincoln Highway
State highways –
44 from across the river to 30 in
10 from across river at Minden
interchange, on 30 to Kearney, then north
40 from 44 northwest through
Riverdale, Amherst and Miller
183 through Elm Creek and Miller
County roads – Not all roads in a township are their responsibility
Township roads – Consider bus routes and mail routes
(Material not used on program because
Lincoln Highway by Dorothy Weyer Creigh
Organized clubs - [Kearney to Hastings for air show in 1911 – Rains
had made the roads bad.
Several autos left early. A dozen left
but separated after leaving the city
The only two to arrive in Hastings
together were a car which had broken down and was pulled into town by
another Kearney car.
One man reported seven blowouts on one tire
on that trip from Kearney to Hastings.]
Lincoln Highway Association - "No other state in the Union has so
many miles of level road as the Lincoln Highway -- across our state," said a
brochure from the Nebraska branch which
solicited funds in 1914 for planting trees along the roadside.
By 1930's – in Nebraska -
5,000 miles were graveled
3,300 more were graded
Only 309 miles were paved.
Increased federal highway funding
during the 1930's for work relief projects
Kearney Daily Hub, April 2, 1923
Hire Highway Patrolmen
Beginning today the county highway
commissioner is starting five highway patrolmen on the job. These men will
patrol the federal and state highways, giving them such emergency attention
as may become necessary at all times. Last year the county operated with
three highway patrols, not considered sufficient to handle the big mileage
of roads which much be looked after
Shelton Clipper, April 1925
The Nebraska Lincoln Highway meeting
of good road boosters will be held in Kearney next Wednesday, Apr. 29.
Highway authorities of the state will be present to address the gathering
and a large attendance is anticipated. Men living in the towns along the
route of the Lincoln Highway should be doubly interested and ready to boost
for any improvement that can be made. Now that the gasoline tax will
provide money with which to improve the roads of the state, the Kearney
meeting ought to be an interesting one. Every city, town and village
along this great transcontinental highway should be represented. It is
expected that a number of Shelton people will go to Kearney for the meeting.
Kearney Daily Hub, Thursday, April 30, 1925
Gravel or Paving on Lincoln Highway for Length if the State
Believe this can be Brought About in a Year
(more than 100 delegates attended this meeting. Discussion included
advantages of paving)
"One point was brought out that will
be of particular interest to Kearneyites. It was learned that within ten
days or two weeks, when the Lincoln Highway through this county is surfaced
with gravel for its entire length and the road to Pleasanton is also
surfaced, Buffalo County will be further advanced on gravel surfacing of
state aid roads than another county in Nebraska."
Shelton Clipper, May 1925
The Yant Construction Company is
expected to complete gravel surfacing the Lincoln Highway between here and
Gibbon in a few more days. The highway has been graveled from Kearney east
to a point between Optic and Gibbon. Nine trucks are being used to haul the
material onto the road. Much of the gravel has been spread over the highway
and travel is continuing over the route as usual. Road men say that when
completed this will be one of the best stretches of graveled highway in the
The Seedling Mile
The Lincoln Highway was the first planned transcontinental road system
Railroads connected cities and towns.
Miles of unrelated roads leading to railroad centers or market towns.
No system of connecting these roads existed.
Carl G. Fisher - dreamed of a hard-surfaced, all-weather, accurately-signed
road extending from coast to coast.
The first idea for financing this road - estimated at $10,000,000 - by
asking for donations from the auto manufacturers did not raise enough funds.
The Lincoln Highway Association was formed -memberships offered to the
public to raise additional money.
The Lehigh Portland Cement Company also offered to donate a million and a
half barrels of cement to be used to create "Seedling Miles" along the
A Seedling Mile was a mile of concrete paving along the Lincoln Highway
route constructed to show the advantages of paved roads.
Some distance outside a town so a car would have left the smoother hard
surface of city blocks and driven on rutted dirt roads before coming onto
the smooth paving of the Seedling Mile. At the end of the mile the car was
once again on the rough rutted dirt road.
The first Seedling Mile, a 10 foot wide strip of paving one mile long, was
completed in October,
1914, west of DeKalb, Illinois.
Nebraska was next to show interest.
Grand Island made the first
application and completed its Seedling Mile on Nov. 3, 1915.
Kearney's Seedling Mile was completed on Nov. 6, 1915.
Kearney's Seedling Mile was located on West 24th Street from the tailrace to
Instead of 10 feet wide, Kearney made theirs 15 feet wide.
The Kearney Commercial Club voted to raise the funds needed.
Dan Quinton was awarded the contract for construction.
W. L. Stickel, local lumber dealer, personally guaranteed $3,000 to get the
16 carloads of cement from St. Louis Portland Cement Works
Grading by the City of Kearney
Hauling of sand and gravel by the State of Nebraska
Half freight charges on hauling the cement by Union Pacific
Steel culverts from Nebraska Steel Culvert Company