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September 12, 1912 – The introduction to the first transcontinental highway

Lincoln Highway running through Philadelphia in 1920

On this day in 1912 Carl Fisher and James Allison announced their vision to open a transcontinental rock (gravel) highway. They planned to acquire the necessary funding of $10 million from private sources, but failed to gain support from Henry Ford, which left them short. An acquaintance stated that they could name the highway after President Abraham Lincoln and apply for a government grant. They dubbed it the Lincoln Highway and in doing so received $1.7 million from the federal aid for construction of the road.

The fully paved highway was designated a little over a year later on October 31, 1913. The original highway spanned from Time Square in New York City to San Francisco. It stretched through 13 states, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California. The 3,389 mile long road opened the country to travelers, migrants and movers in a way previously unheard of. The highway was gradually replaced by the Numbered Highway System used in the United States, which was implemented in 1926. Some section of the original Lincoln Highway remain in tact, though now paved.

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