Sunday, August 12, 2007

The Lincoln Highway

Michael Wallis is the author, and Michael S. Williamson, the photographer, of this fascinating book, subtitled "Coast to Coast from Times Square to the Golden Gate." It's a fascinating road trip for armchair travelers, covering 3,000 miles and thirteen states.

There's almost a poetic description of this road. "All along the Lincoln Highway...are death sites, crime scenes, battlegrounds, and the settings of natural and man made disasters that have been popular tourist attractions." In 1913, the Lincoln Highway opened. For a brief moment, it's in New York before moving to New Jersey. In Pennsylvania, it travels through country that includes lands farmed by the Amish. The road then moves on to West Virginia and Ohio.

Being from Ohio, I appreciated that chapter about the small towns located along the 240 miles of Lincoln Highway in the state. As a fan of Ohio high school football, I recognize the importance of Massillon. When the road leaves Ohio, it continues through the midwestern states of Indiana, Illinois, Iowas and Nebraska. There are lonely stretches through Nebraska and Wyoming, before reaching Utah and the stories about the Mormons. Nevada has a fascinating history, of army experiments, wedding chapels and prostitution. Upon entering California, stories include ones about the Donner Party.

Wallis and Williamson visit small towns, interesting people, and unique little restaurants. No review can do justice to their road stories. But, if you have itchy feet, this book will make you hunger to pack up and head out, preferably on The Lincoln Highway.

The Lincoln Highway by Michael Wallis and Michael S. Williamson. W.W. Norton & Company, ©2007, ISBN 978-0-393-05938-0 (hardcover), 293p.

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