Past Event


A Road Scholar Program by Kay Shelton

The Lincoln Highway, the world’s longest memorial to President Abraham Lincoln, was the first improved coast-to-coast road in the United States.

Begun in 1913 by leaders in the early automobile industry as a way to promote paved roads to potential automobile owners, it soon became an important part of American history. Lincoln Highway passes some of America’s most important places: Times Square in New York City, Independence National Historical Park in Philadelphia, Gettysburg, the Flight 93 crash site, and the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco.

On its journey through Illinois, the Lincoln Highway becomes more local in its significance, yet it touches upon elements of the charitable and generous side of American culture.

In Mooseheart, the highway passes the famous child city, the orphanage that refuses to be called an "orphanage." In Malta, local people worked together to raise money for paving the road themselves in 1914.

In Franklin Grove, ten men in an organization called Farming Heritage restored a dilapidated building that a cousin of Abraham Lincoln built in 1860. That building now serves as the Lincoln Highway Association’s national headquarters.

This presentation explores the many facets of the Lincoln Highway’s significance in the histories of Illinois and the United States. Shelton will appear in 1913 vintage attire upon request.

This event is Free and Open to the public. For more information, please contact Tricia Runzel at