This Labor Day, 89.5 WNIJ presents a one-hour special commemorating America's first transnational highway. The Lincoln Highway was dedicated 100 years ago this October. Nearly 6000 miles long in its entirety, it stretches from New York City to San Fransisco. It might not be as famous as the so-called "Mother Road," Route 66; but 66 isn't as long, and its terminal cities - Chicago and Santa Monica - are no longer connected by a single highway like Lincoln Highway is.
While doing research for a documentary about the Lincoln Highway Centennial, I found a song called "Rollin' Down That Lincoln Highway" by Shadric Smith. I thought it would make a good theme for the program so I called Smith at his home in Fort Dodge, Iowa, and talked with him about it.
After the interview, I realized I also had a nice story for Morning Edition.
This summer, some people will celebrate the centenary of Lincoln Highway with a road trip. Nolan Stolz will also travel the highway, trying to get orchestras to perform his Lincoln Highway Suite.
Stolz wrote the five-movement symphonic suite inspired by America's first transnational highway. One orchestra, the Dubuque Symphony, will give the world premiere of the Suite's middle movement -- "Prairie View" -- this Sunday.
In Part 3, author Dan Libman concludes his journey on Lincoln Highway. In March, Libman bicycled across sections of the highway to mark its centenary. Today, he visits Creston and Malta. The latter community is where the first mile of cement was laid, formally establishing America's first cross country highway. Click the Audio Link above to hear the radio version. Here's the final part of Libman's essay:
In Part 2 of our series "Pedaling Lincoln Highway," author Dan Libman stops at the corner of Lincoln and Lincoln in downtown Rochelle. There, he visits a vintage Standard Oil station - the first on Lincoln Highway in Illinois. Click the above "Audio" link to hear Libman's interview with Ross Freier, director of Rochelle Tourism, inside the filling station. Libman's essay continues below: