Sep 29 2009

Review of Lincoln Highway Companion by Brian Butko

I suppose my fascination with the Lincoln Highway began sometime while I was living in Iowa. I remember driving through Tama and Belle Plaine and seeing remnants of the roads and the businesses that formerly thrived on the Lincoln route.

Unknowingly, my apartment in Cedar Rapids was a mere block from the Lincoln Highway route, and the road I took to the grocery store, to church, downtown, and even the mall on the other side of town was the Lincoln Highway.

At that time, the restoration of Youngville Station was merely a dream.

This winter, our family traveled to Pennsylvania, and part of the thrill of that trip was driving on the Old National Road in Ohio and on the Lincoln Highway in Pennsylvania. I love old roads; even while driving closer to home, I try to veer off the main road onto the county roads that still go through the towns instead of around them.

Before our Pennsylvania trip, I had purchased Brian Butko‘s Greetings from the Lincoln Highway and obtained information from the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor in Pennsylvania so we could be as prepared as possible for our trip.

This summer, I’m hoping to drive the Lincoln Highway in Iowa from end to end, and so it was that I became interested in Brian Butko’s Lincoln Highway Companion: A Guide to America’s First Coast-to-Coast Road.

Whereas the Greetings book is coffee-table sized and details the history and past landmarks of the Lincoln Highway, the Companion book is small, the size of a vehicle owners’ manual, and will easily fit in a car’s glove box. The Companion’s contents include maps of the original routes and their present-day alternatives, as well as current places to stay and eat and things to do along the way.

The book includes brief information about the history of the road and photos of some landmarks that are now gone, but its primary purpose is to showcase the places that drivers of the old road should be sure to take in. Whether recommended by the author or by local Lincoln Highway enthusiasts, the Lincoln Highway Companion will tell you where to get a good piece of pie or find a unique place to rest for the night.

By reading the Lincoln Highway Companion, I learned of all the landmarks that I drove past in my former travels, and when we revisit the Lincoln Highway with this guidebook in hand, we’ll know where to stop.

People driving across part or all of the United States via the old Lincoln Highway will certainly want to have this book along for the trip.

Note: Thanks to Stackpole Books, publisher of the Lincoln Highway Companion, for providing a copy of this book for me to review.

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