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Ocean-to-ocean highway needed (1913)

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Lincoln highway is national need

So says secretary of Argonaut Trail committee in urging project

Benefits from great road second to those of the Panama Canal

Detroit, July 12 [1913] – “Think of the persons in the United States who will be benefited by the Panama Canal, on which we are spending $420,000,000, and then consider the great benefits to be derived by the hundreds of thousands of people clear across the country, from the Lincoln highway, stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific,” said E P Brinegar, secretary of the Argonaut Trail committee of San Francisco, in Detroit today.

Mr Brinegar came here to confer with the secretary of the Lincoln Highway association, the national offices of which are located in the Dime Savings Bank building in Detroit. The Argonaut Trail committee is the dynamic California force in the western movement that is aiding the ocean to ocean project as a memorial to Abraham Lincoln and fostered by the Lincoln Highway association.

Need is imperative

“The Panama Canal, for which every citizen must pay his share of the cost, will bring benefits to the United States, of course. Yet the Lincoln highway, of which our own Argonaut trail we hope will be a part, will pass the front door of uncounted multitudes of people and will be perpetually at their service.

“An ocean to ocean road built for endurance is a national need. There are men in Nevada and in other states today who must haul water 50 miles over rough and burning trails. And in states far more opened to civilization the need is equally great.

“Not only will the Lincoln highway be a living monument to a great American, but it must be the avenue of momentous changes in the life of the nation. Just as you may expect a great surging change for good to come in the relations of the north and south after the Gettysburg reunion, so you can expect to sense a new spirit sweeping across the country when east and west have been joined by a new bond, this time not of glistening steel, but of improved roads, roads that lead somewhere.”

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Heads the campaign

Champion of good roads and active member of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Mr Brinegar was selected by that organization to head the campaign for building the Argonaut trail, a boulevard of which San Francisco will be the main western terminal and which will reach to Sacramento, to Lake Tahoe, then across the Sierra Nevadas to Reno. Mr Brinegar was authorized to choose his own committee of nine, and its personnel is typified by Charles Stetson Wheeler, regent of the University of California. Their campaign is now under way.

“It is the name of Lincoln that has roused the people,” said Mr Brinegar. “There was romance about the word ‘argonaut,’ with its memories of hardships on the trail to gold in ’49, but there was a greater romance about the name of Lincoln, and the thought of building a monument to him which would be an institution of service to the nation’s people forever, is the magic lever.

“We are spending $18,000,000 today for good roads in California, and the big, glowing project of all is our part in the Lincoln highway. Our committee is working with the Midland trail committee, which is urging a connection between Denver and Salt Lake City and which will probably soon be known as the Lincoln highway. Nevada is also well organized. We expect 25,000 to 30,000 automobile tourists to drive from the east to San Francisco in 1915.”

Photo: About “Looking into ‘The Hollow of God’s Hand,’ San Diego, Imperial Valley, Yuma, Coast to Coast Highway” by S U Bunnell (March 25, 1913). Courtesy Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division.

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