Association seeks to preserve Lincoln Highway

December 18, 1997


Staff Writer, Waynesboro

McCONNELLSBURG, Pa. - Robert Garlock said he was raised as a "Lincoln Highway brat."

"I was born on the Lincoln Highway. I pumped gas at my father's station on it when I was 6 years old," he said.

Garlock, 68, was Fulton County's only member of the Lincoln Highway Association until his dues lapsed. He was a Fulton County commissioner from 1988 to 1996.

Preserving the highway's history is the goal of the 800-member nationwide Lincoln Highway Association, said Treasurer James Powell of St. Louis. Missouri is not on the highway.


The route for the road that was once called Main Street Across America was set in 1913 as the nation's first coast-to-coast highway. It ran 3,300 miles across 12 states from Times Square in New York City to Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, Powell said.

Named after the 16th president, it's the Lincoln Highway in rural stretches and Lincoln Way in cities it passes through, Powell said.

In 1926, the federal government started to designate major highways by number. Much of the Lincoln Highway became U.S. 30, an even number since it was an east-west route.

The road is known by both names through Franklin County but there's a blip in Fulton County where a modern U.S. 30 bypass avoids McConnellsburg. There the Lincoln Highway leaves U.S. 30 east of town and picks it up again on the other side.

Maps show U.S. 30 and modern U.S. 80 following pretty much the same path across the country until they reach Salt Lake City. There U.S. 30 goes northwest and U.S. 80 goes on to San Francisco.

"Construction and rerouting has been changing the road throughout its history," Powell said.

Shatzer's Fruit Stand has been beside the LincoIn Highway two miles west of Chambersburg, Pa., since 1936. Wilma Shatzer Mickey, 61, who runs it today, remembers her grandfather telling stories of the old route.

"He talked about the pigs, chickens and turkeys that were hauled over the road to the railroad station in Chambersburg," Mickey said.

She points with pride to the old white wooden pump in her side yard that was once a Lincoln Highway landmark. Her family cut the pump from a single oak tree and hollowed it out by hand, she said.

In 1928, Boy Scouts installed concrete highway markers along the entire route, Powell said. In 1991 Garlock and Carl Jarrett dug up the marker on Tuscarora Mountain overlooking McConnellsburg and moved it to the historic Fulton House downtown to save it.

"It was there all my life, but a lot of them have disappeared," Garlock said of the markers.

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