The Lincoln Highway
America’s First Coast-to-Coast Automobile Highway
The Lincoln Highway was established in 1913 when a group of businessmen involved in the automobile industry decided to sponsor and promote a transcontinental highway for automobile traffic.
They organized the Lincoln Highway Association and dedicated their proposed highway to the memory of President Abraham Lincoln. On September 10, 1913, the route of the highway was announced, and the general public was invited to become members of the association. Contributions to help finance the improvement of the highway were solicited from businesses and private citizens.
The route that was chosen for the Lincoln Highway went from New York City to San Francisco, following the straightest line that was possible. In the beginning, the route was laid out along already existing roads, but an important part of the plan was that these roads would be improved and the route shortened wherever possible.
A major goal of the Lincoln Highway Association was to persuade local, state, and the federal government to get involved in the improvement and construction of automobile roads and highways. The Association wanted the Lincoln Highway to be a model for the building of roads throughout the United States. By 1928 they felt that for the most part they had achieved their goals, and it was decided to dissolve the association. But the Lincoln Highway lives on. Although most of the original highway has been replaced by modern roads such as US Highway 30, US 40, and Interstate 80, many sections of the Lincoln Highway are still being used today.
In western Utah, the original 1913 route of the Lincoln Highway came through the city of Grantsville, then continued west through Skull Valley, Fish Springs, Callao, and Ibapah. In 1919, construction projects at Johnson Pass in the Stansbury Mountains and on the mud flats west of Granite Peak were completed, and the route was changed to go through Tooele and Gold Hill, which shortened the route by about 50 miles. Grantsville was dropped from the route. But another change came in 1927. For several years, the state of Utah had been working on a road across the Great Salt Lake Desert to Wendover, a small town on the Nevada border. This project was completed in 1925, and two years later, the Lincoln Highway Association made the decision to incorporate this new road into its official route. Grantsville was on the Lincoln Highway again.
This is Sons of Utah Pioneers historic marker #178, located at Lincoln Park, 550 West Clark Street in Grantsville, Utah