The original item was published from August 8, 2018 3:03 PM to August 31, 2019 12:00 AM
Geneva's spot along the Lincoln Highway received national recognition in a PBS episode "10 Streets that Changed America" which aired in July. "10 that Changed America" is a WTTW series which recently released three new episodes focused on building in America. Summer is the season of the road trip. If your travels take you through Geneva on State Street, you are traveling in the tire tracks of the great American road trip pioneers. Route 38 is part of the historic Lincoln Highway System, the first coast to coast roadway in America.
The idea for the Lincoln Highway was conceived by Carl G Fisher, a principal investor in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, home of the Indianapolis 500. The Lincoln Highway Association was formally dedicated on Oct. 31, 1913 to privately fund the upgrade of rural dirt roads to “improved surfaces” such as gravel or stone. Road surface upgrades were necessary for alleviating the biggest road hazard of the day, mud holes. With the completion of the Lincoln Highway System, Americans could go where they wanted, when they wanted, without being tied to railway stations and train schedules.
To appreciate Geneva's significance on this 105-year-old route, check out the official map of the Lincoln Highway. The success of the Lincoln Highway resulted in some uniquely American experiences, such as roadside attractions, road trip vacations, and motels. It actually inspired the interstate system we know today.
An interpretive mural commemorating the Lincoln Highway is located at the Geneva Masonic Lodge, 10 S. Second St. The mural is one of 35 installed along the Illinois Lincoln Highway National Scenic Byway and its corridor in over two dozen communities. The mural depicts Reuben Anderson, Geneva Police Chief from 1925-51, atop a Henderson Motorcycle. Geneva is also home to an interpretive gazebo which highlights the significance of the Lincoln Highway in front of City Hall, 22. S First St. Visit the Illinois Lincoln Highway Coalition's website
to see all of the participating communities.
To learn more about the Lincoln Highway, you can check out the full episode "10 Streets that Changed America" hosted by Geoffrey Baer, while it is still available. Keen eyed Geneva residents may recognize the view.