Lincoln Highway

From Academic Kids

There is also a Lincoln Highway in Australia.
Missing image
Lincoln Highway scene in New Jersey photo U.S. Library of Congress

Begun in 1913, the Lincoln Highway was the United States first transcontinental automobile highway. It was initially an idea of Carl G. Fisher an automotive industry pioneer. He called his idea the "Coast-to-Coast Rock Highway", but on a suggestion of Henry Joy, it was later named Lincoln Highway in honor of Abraham Lincoln. It ran from San Francisco, California in the west to New York City, New York in the east. When the numbered highway system replaced the old National Auto Trail system in the late 1920s, most of the old Lincoln Highway became U.S. Highway 30.

The first section of the Lincoln Highway to be dedicated was the Essex and Hudson Lincoln Highway, running along the former Newark Plank Road from Newark, New Jersey to Jersey City, New Jersey. It was dedicated in late 1913 at the request of the Associated Automobile Clubs of New Jersey and the Newark Motor Club, and was named after the two counties it passed through.

Long after most other named highways have vanished by the wayside, markers still exist that delineate the route of the Lincoln Highway, including a few concrete posts.

A number of quaint "Official Road Guides" to the Lincoln Highway were published by the Lincoln Highway Association.



Over the years that it operated, the route of the Lincoln Highway changed in many places as improvements were made. Modern roads rarely follow it exactly, but it can be roughly approximated by the following modern routes:

New York

The very short Lincoln Highway section in New York went west from Times Square on 42nd Street to the Weehawken Ferry.

New Jersey

The Lincoln Highway came off the New York Central Railroad's Weehawken Ferry and climbed the Palisades on Pershing Road. At the top it went west on 5th Street (now 49th Street) to the Hudson County Boulevard. It then went south on the Boulevard to Communipaw Avenue and west towards Newark; the road through Kearny is still known as Lincoln Highway. Some sources indicate the Highway bypassing the corner of Hudson County Boulevard and Communipaw Avenue by passing through Lincoln Park.

The Highway entered Newark along Ferry Street and Market Street, now the eastbound side of a one-way pair. At downtown Newark, it turned south on Broad Street, at what was claimed to be the "third busiest traffic center in the United States"[1] ( By 1924 this had been bypassed using Jackson and Lafayette Streets. From Broad Street, the Highway cut over to Frelinghuysen Avenue somewhere on or between Clinton Avenue and Poinier Street.

A reroute in 1928 took the Lincoln Highway onto the new Route 1 Extension (now US 1/US 9) from east of downtown Newark to North Avenue in Elizabeth, and west on North Avenue back to the old road. The Highway was also moved to the new Holland Tunnel and approach east of the Hudson County Boulevard (now Route 139). By then the U.S. Highway System was marked, and the Lincoln Highway was fading in importance.

From the corner of Frelinghuysen Avenue and Poinier Street in Newark to Brunswick Circle in Trenton, the Lincoln Highway followed today's Route 27 and US 206. Many parts are still known as Lincoln Highway. The only changes have been the following:

  • The original road may have followed Clinton Avenue to Elizabeth Avenue in Newark and North Broad Street in Newark.
  • Route 27 now has a one-way pair in Elizabeth. The northbound side, on Cherry Street, is the old Lincoln Highway.
  • In 1919, the New Jersey State Highway Commission built a new road on the west side of the Pennsylvania Railroad (now the Northeast Corridor from near the northeast of Dow Avenue between Colonia and Iselin to Cedar Street in Menlo Park, to avoid two railroad crossings. The old road is now Middlesex-Essex Turnpike and Thornall Street, on the east side of the tracks. A 1905 map shows the main road using Thornall Street all the way to its end at Evergreen Road and crossing the tracks there, with the road on the west side existing north to Cedar Street as a stub; this may have changed between then and 1919. However, until 1919, the main road used Leesville Avenue, Colonia Boulevard, New Dover Road and Middlesex Avenue to get from Rahway to Green Street.[2] (
  • Until 1919, the main road was what is now named Old Road, lying east of the current road north of Kingston.
  • The old bridge over the Millstone River at Kingston still exists, south of the current bridge (built in 1969).

The Lincoln Highway entered Trenton along Brunswick Avenue, now northbound US 206 and BUS US 1. Until 1920 the Highway used the Calhoun Street Bridge over the Delaware River into Pennsylvania; a 1920 map ( indicates that it probably used Warren Street (now southbound US 206 and BUS US 1) and West State Street to reach the bridge. In 1920 the Highway was moved from the tolled Calhoun Street Bridge to the free Bridge Street Bridge. To get there it probably continued south on Warren Street, turning west on Bridge Street to the bridge. This path is now followed by southbound BUS US 1, with a realignment from Assunpink Creek to the bridge due to redevelopment.

In 1916, the Lincoln Highway was designated the following State Highway numbers:

The Highway in Trenton, and in and north of Elizabeth, did not receive a number.

In 1927, the whole Lincoln Highway in New Jersey was assigned the number US 1, though that number was soon moved to newer bypasses.

The Route 1 Extension, built in the late 1920s, was considered a bypass of the Lincoln Highway, but the old road has continued to be known as the Lincoln Highway, except possibly between Communipaw Avenue and Tonnelle Circle in Jersey City, where the name may have moved to the new road (now TRUCK US 1/TRUCK US 9).

See also

External links


  • English Auto Club An Example Here, New York Times December 31, 1913 page 12

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