Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Adventures Along the Lincoln Highway

In the days before Winter finally arrived in the Tahoe Sierra, I spent a half a day looking for my Lincoln Highway talisman, the original concrete Lincoln Highway Marker Posts that were among the roughly 3000 that were placed from coast to coast by the Boy Scouts on a single day during their 1928 National Safety Tour to promote the highway and their Marker Post Project!

I haven't found a definitive number of the surviving Marker Posts, but I finally found one intact LH Marker Post up at Big Bend just west of Donner Summit. Closer to home, I found the remains of two more near Donner Lake.

I made some photographs of the Big Bend Post that day, but at the time I was so sad to see the condition of the Donner Lake Posts that I didn't snap a one of them.

Replica LH Marker Post on the 1913 alignment, approximately 100ft from the 1928 road.
Judging from the condition of the Big Bend Post, I have to think it's a replica, not an original. 84 years out in the harsh climate of Donner Summit, with the constant freeze and thaw would be a very extreme test of the concrete's integrity. I would expect some severe spalling from the top down would have lead to the total demise of the post by now.

I should preview my photos before I start blogging about them!
The Lincoln Highway Association offers a Replica LH Marker Post for sale at their Lincoln Highway Trading Post for $725 +Shipping, which could break the bank depending on your location...

Now I know a thing or two about building concrete forms. If I had a blueprint of the original LH Marker Post Forms, I could turn out plenty of replicas! I'd donate two to the property owners who have the wrecked Marker Posts on their Donner Lake properties.

You know, Truckee doesn't have a single intact LH Marker Post within the Town Boundaries...and that's about 75 square miles, filthy with Lincoln Highway history!

I'm going to plea with the Lincoln Highway Association to make the blueprints available on their website. Maybe a combo with the LH Marker Post Lincoln Medallion!


  1. I'd love to lend a hand forming the Lincoln Hwy post replicas. Oh how fun! I know some spots I'll show you in the Summer.

    Or, is it freaking summer now? The Bald Eagles are a loving it!

  2. In my experience, the 1928 originals are a coarser concrete, weathered to an even color, except for maybe some discoloring under the medallion. The medallion itself on the originals has sharp distinct edges on the lettering. The "L" is not painted on--the color is embedded in the concrete. Each colored portion was cast separately and cemented into place. I don't know how "thick" the colored portion is.

    The medallion has 4 or so barbed-arrow holdfasts along the back edge to keep it in the concrete.

    I'm doing a bit of a Lincoln Highway motorcycle ride this weekend--I'll stop in Davis and measure everything I can about one of the originals and take some close-up pix. Was meaning to do that anyway. :-)

  3. Oh, I was going to add these two conflicting data points:

    1. The Lincoln Highway Special Resource Study lists the Big Bend post as 1928.

    2. Kevin Patrick's Lincoln Highway Resource Guide lists it as a 1928 replica, placed in 1999.

    My money's on the latter.

  4. The accompanying plaque states it to be a replica