Dog walkers on Old Meyers Grade are doing more than stretching their legs, they’re walking a piece of U.S. history.
The grade, along with Johnson Pass Road over Echo Summit, Pioneer Trail and much of U.S. Highway 50 through the South Shore are all parts of the America’s first transcontinental highway — The Lincoln Highway.
The 100th anniversary of the creation of the cross-country route is Monday.
Two-hundred and seventy people travelling in 140 vehicles on the historic route from each coast are scheduled to meet up in Kearney, Neb., Sunday to celebrate the centennial of the almost 3,400-mile road. The idea of the road came from industrialist Carl Fisher, with the help of Frank Sierberling and Henry Joy, according to the Lincoln Highway Association.
“Henry Joy came up with the idea of naming the highway to honor Abraham Lincoln. As far as Joy was concerned, directness was the most important factor. Using existing roads, the route deliberately avoided the larger cities when practicable in order to maintain as straight a course as possible,” according to the association. “The highway started in Times Square in New York City and passed through New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California, ending in Lincoln Park in San Francisco. Other alignments included Colorado in 1915 and West Virginia in 1927. Today, parts of U.S. Routes 30, 40, 50 and I-80 follow portions of the Lincoln Highway route across the country.”
Remnants of the original route can be found near the shore at Zephyr Cove Resort. Prior to the creation of Cave Rock’s tunnels, the route traveled around the geologic formation on the lake side.
Near the start of 2013, following years of research, the Lincoln Highway Association released a detailed map of the highway’s various routes. The map is available for free at www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org.
“We now have a place to send people to grasp the scope of this road,” said Paul Gilger, who coordinated creation of the map, in a statement announcing its release. “Now you can really see where the road goes and how significant the effort was.”