By Jim Cheney, UncoveringPA
There’s nothing more American than a road trip. In 1913, the Lincoln Highway created the great American road trip when it became the first cross-country roadway in the country, passing through 13 states on its way from New York City to San Francisco. While other roadways have become better known over the years, the Lincoln Highway still offers travelers the chance to see the best of America and journey down one of the country’s most historic routes.
When it was created, the Lincoln Highway entered the state north of Philadelphia, and exited the state north of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. Today, a 200-mile stretch of the roadway between North Huntingdon in the west and Abbottstown in the east is being preserved as part of the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor.
The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor follows much of present-day Route 30 through six Pennsylvania counties: Westmoreland, Somerset, Bedford, Fulton, Franklin, and Adams. Along this roadway, the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor is working to preserve the region’s history, promote tourist infrastructure, and create awareness of this classic American roadway.
Since its 1995 designation, the nonprofit heritage area created more than 65 historical exhibits, as well as murals, roadside oddities, and much more. These additions help add flavor to the roadway and offer the chance for travelers to learn more about the Lincoln Highway.
Of course, those wanting a fully immersive experience along the Lincoln Highway will want to save time to stop at the Lincoln Highway Experience in Latrobe. Near the western end of the corridor, the Lincoln Highway Experience tells the story of this over century-old highway, and the effect that it had on both Pennsylvania and the entire country.
Visits to the museum start with a 13-minute film titled, “Through the Windshield.” This award-winning film chronicles the history of the Lincoln Highway and its significance, both locally and nationally. After viewing the film, visitors can browse displays related to the highway’s history, send a postcard home to family and friends, and shop for souvenirs.
Coming in early 2018, the Lincoln Highway Experience will be doubling its exhibit space. These changes will provide an unparalleled visitor experience, and will greatly enhance a traveler’s ability to appreciate and learn about this important corridor. Additions to the museum will include the fully-restored Serro’s Diner from 1938, complete with pie and coffee for every visitor, an authentic 1938 filling station and tourist cabin, a 1937 Packard car, and much more.
Of course, no trip is complete without actually traveling the Lincoln Highway. Every visitor to the Lincoln Highway Experience receives a 60-page Lincoln Highway Driving Guide to the corridor’s 200 miles. This guide offers visitors information about what there is to see and do.
The Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor is truly the encapsulation of early 20th century Americana. The corridor passes two national parks, five state parks, and more history, culture, and beauty than you could enjoy in a lifetime.
So hop in the car and set off for a classic American road trip along the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor in Pennsylvania.
For more information, visit the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor’s website.
About the writer: Jim Cheney is the writer behind UncoveringPA, Pennsylvania’s most read travel blog. He has traveled to every county in Pennsylvania and to many countries in North America, Europe, and Asia. He lives in Harrisburg, Pa.