Before the Interstate Highway System, before famed Route 66, before highways were even numbered, there was one road that started it all, one road that changed America forever: The Lincoln Highway. Premiered March 9, 2015 on Wyoming PBS. You can watch the entire show here.
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Watch the full version of 100 Years on the Lincoln Highway here.
Tom Manning has been writing and producing documentaries for over 25 years. Focusing on his love of the west, his productions have covered a wide range of subjects—from historic events such as the Transcontinental Railroad to current affairs like Wyoming wind power.
His work has received widespread recognition and won numerous awards including Western Heritage, Telly, Golden Cine, International Wildlife Film Festival, and National Educational Media prizes. Tom's productions have appeared on Public Television in Montana, Oregon and Wyoming, and on The Discovery and Learning Channels. A former producer for Wyoming PBS, he continues his association with the station and currently resides in Bozeman, Montana.
"100 Years on the Lincoln Highway" is the story of the first coast to coast automobile road in the United States. Beginning in Times Square, New York City and ending at Lincoln Park in San Francisco. It was the first real attempt to develop, map, sign and promote a road across the nation. Established in 1913, it traversed more than 3300 miles, cutting across twelve states and four time zones.
Backed by auto manufacturers and auto parts makers, the Lincoln Highway was at first just a collection of existing roads—decaying turnpikes and farm to market roads in the east and wagon and ranch trails in the west. But that soon changed as automobiles became more affordable and numerous people demanded more than rough and often muddy byways. Now the idea of an auto trip further than the confines of their city or town became a real possibility. The Great American Road Trip was born.
In Wyoming, the Lincoln Highway traveled roughly the route of the Transcontinental Railroad 50 years earlier. In fact, in some portions of the state, the Lincoln reclaimed and reused the abandoned bed of the railroad. It crossed into Wyoming at Pine Bluffs near the Nebraska border and traveled westward through Cheyenne and Laramie, Medicine Bow and Rawlins, Rock Springs and Green River, then on to Granger, Lyman, Fort Bridger and Evanston.
This hour long documentary follows the route of the Lincoln Highway in Wyoming and explores many of the towns and landmarks along the way. Shot during its centennial year in 2013, the program features historians, authors, archeologists and Lincoln Highway enthusiasts explaining the history of the road and their fascination with its many permutations over the years. It also follows members of the official Lincoln Highway Association's summer 2013 tour. Driving a collection of antique automobiles, they trace portions of the original route of the highway across Wyoming.
In the end, the Lincoln Highway fell victim to the Interstate Highway system. Today, I-80 covers much of the original road in Wyoming. But there are still sections that can be traveled if one is ready to slow down and visit off the beaten path locations across the state. It's just a matter of slowing down and enjoying the journey...like they did many years ago on the Lincoln Highway.