FRANKLIN GROVE – The Lincoln Highway is celebrating its 100th birthday.
The Illinois Lincoln Highway Association, headquartered at 136 N. Elm St. in Franklin Grove, is marking the centennial with several events May 18-19.
The highlight of the celebration is a 1913-style road tour.
“You will see a lot of different terrain, everything from big cities to little villages to farmland and woodland,” said the association’s Lynn Asp. “You can stop and get out and look around, or stop in a town and talk to people. You’re just right out there in the world.”
The tour starts at 10:30 a.m. May 18 at De Immigrant windmill in Fulton. Cost is $15 and includes tour guides.
Along the trip eastward, there will be several events for tourgoers and the general public, including:
n A stop at 1 p.m. at the recently restored Lincoln-Manahan Home, 607 E. Third St. in Sterling, believed to be the only place along the highway where Abraham Lincoln spent a night. Admission is free.
n A stop at the second annual Lincoln Highway car show in downtown Franklin Grove, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 18 in downtown Franklin Grove. It will feature all kinds of vehicles, vendors, homemade food, a 50/50 drawing and music by 3-D Sound Company.
Vendor spots are available for $25. Cost to exhibit a vehicle is $12. Admission is free to spectators. Contact Marilyn Spangler at email@example.com or 815-456-2695.
The national headquarters for the highway, in the historic H.I. Lincoln Building, will be open, too.
n A talk at 6 p.m. by Lincoln Highway Association member Lyle Headon at the Opera House, 204 S. Main St. in Creston. Headon, owner of Headon’s, a popular meat market and deli in Creston for nearly 60 years, will talk about the highway and its effect on businesses in Creston and along the route.
n A birthday bash at 7:30 p.m. at the Egyptian Theatre in DeKalb, featuring another car show, dancing by students of Colleen’s School of Clogging and Celtic Dance, of Sterling, and a presentation by Ross Freier of Rochelle, who will narrate the history of the highway to the live music of the Irish-American duo Switchback. Actor Jeff Kuehl also will re-enact the 1912 speech by Carl Fisher, in which he first outlined his idea for the Coast-to-Coast Rock Highway, which became the Lincoln Highway.
Tickets are $19 or $23 at the theater, 135 N. Second St.
The tour resumes at 9 a.m. May 19 from DeKalb to Frankfort.
The celebration also features decorated windows throughout the downtowns of cities and villages along the highway, from Fulton to Franklin Grove. One window in every downtown will be decorated exclusively in honor of the Lincoln Highway.
The windows will be decorated using upcycled or recycled materials and feature work by local artists and even students, said Catherine Rogers and Penny Schopp, organizers of Bridge of Art, a community art initiative.
Brochures about the project, including a map, are available from local chambers of commerce or Main Street offices.
The association expects the centennial to draw people from all over.
“Centennials are always interesting for people,” Asp said. “They like to say, ‘I was there during the centennial,’ and collect memorabilia from their travels.”
To join in
To sign up for the May 18-19 Lincoln Highway road tour, email Kay Shelton at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 16. Cost to participate is $15.
The car show, which runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 18 in downtown Franklin Grove, will feature all kinds of vehicles, vendors, homemade food, a 50/50 drawing and music by 3-D Sound Company.
Vendor spots are $25. Cost to exhibit a vehicle is $12. Admission is free to spectators.
Contact Marilyn Spangler at email@example.com or 815-456-2695 for more information about the car show.
Go to illinoislincolnhighwayassociation.org for more information about the state’s centennial celebration.