The Lincoln Highway: Following The Main Street Across America

Route 66 is often called “The Mother Road,” and a drive along it brings up all sorts of nostalgia for those simpler days when there was no app for that and nobody could call you while you were driving.

It wasn’t the first cross-country road, however. The Lincoln Highway, which we should perhaps call “the Grandmother Road,” was finished in 1913 as part of an ambitious project when automobiles were still in their infancy. As you can see from the map, it stretched 3,389 miles from New York to California and included 13 states in all.

Much of Lincoln Highway is now U.S. Route 30, and you can still drive along it. While it doesn’t have the aura and popularity of Route 66, a dedicated band of fans are trying to change that. The Lincoln Highway Association is gearing up for the road’s centennial next year with celebrations all along the old road. The association already has a great state-by-state guide to the Lincoln Highway online listing points of interest. The highway passes by dozens of national and state parks, sights of historic importance, as well as some important cities.

The Europeans are getting into it to, with a Centennial Tour by a hundred vintage vehicles that will be flown to the United States and driven along the entire route. The best way to see the United States is by car, after all!

Since it’s been largely bypassed by the Interstate, you’ll find lots of unspoiled nature as well as little old towns that seem lost in time. Old settler’s cabins sit lonely in the Nevada desert, and in Utah you pass ghost towns, while occasionally you can spot bypassed sections of Lincoln Highway meandering off into the wilderness, its surface cracked yet clearly visible after a century. Like on Route 66, some old businesses along the way have been lovingly restored to their early condition. Check out the old gas station in the photo gallery!

Map courtesy Wikimedia Commons.