In 1920, there was a big celebration all along the Lincoln Highway and some 15,000 people came out in Clinton to see the monument dedication at which Frank Ellis spoke. Planes flew overhead and the people were greatly excited.
At the event there were many slightly ill soldiers who had just received their typhoid inoculation. They knew the importance of vaccine, because just a year earlier thousands of them died at the end of WWI in an influenza pandemic at Camp Dodge in Des Moines.
The 1920 tour took 62 days to drive from New York to San Francisco. Each of these trips came to the same conclusions that Eisenhower did before and after WW , i.e. this highway was tremendously needed and that the route was the correct one, which overruled bureaucrats who wanted it to run through the capital of Des Moines.
All of the cities in Iowa voted in the affirmative to fund the Lincoln Highway and Clinton passed the referendum by 2,176 votes. This was an overwhelmingly important event in American history and practically no one mounted a counter movement. Our powerful country willed this good idea to go forward and it generated much commercial wealth, jobs, entertainment and the opening of the entire country.
Barb Mask of the Fulton Historical society is looking for the woman with the “Green Book” who was in the audience at the last program at the Martin House.
Gary Herrity is the Clinton Herald’s historical columnist. His columns appear on Fridays in the Clinton Herald.
Sources Barbara Mask of the Fulton Historical Society; the Clinton County Historical Society Museum archives; "The Merry War" newspaper of Friday, March 25, 1927; archives of the Clinton Herald; Tony Vorsten of the Highway 30 Association annual meeting 1974; Barbara Mask article, Clinton Herald, Oct. 4; John Clark; the Iowa State Historical Society magazine, The Palimpsest.