Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Al Hartmann | The Salt Lake Tribune) Members of the Lincoln Highway Association walk one of the last wooden bridges on the highway which still stands on Dugway Proving Grounds. A group of about 100 visited the site Wednesday June 18.
Lincoln Highway seen as it was before the Army drove up

First continental roadway is viewed by modern-day admirers as it was before the Army drove up.

First Published Jun 18 2014 11:12 am • Last Updated Jun 18 2014 10:36 pm

Dugway Proving Ground • Jack Schultz has been up and down the Lincoln Highway telling people why the road was significant.

"I tell them it’s the first continental road across the United States," Schultz, a 65-year-old from Clothier, West Virginia, said. "I even go to schools and tell them."

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

But Schultz had never seen any stretch of the Lincoln Highway like the one he saw here Wednesday. About 100 people belonging to the Lincoln Highway Association traveled the Good Year Cutoff, the stretch of the highway that crosses what is now part of the Army’s Dugway Proving Ground.

The Army typically does not allow the public to see the old road, but made an exception for the Lincoln Highway Association, whose annual convention is in Utah this week. The first stop on the tour was a wooden bridge — wide enough for one car — crossing a creek bed. As the highway enthusiasts snapped photographs, an Army Gray Eagle drone conducting test flights flew overhead.

The Lincoln Highway was installed at the start of the 20th century and stretched from New York to San Francisco. Interstate 80 roughly follows the route of the Lincoln Highway, except where the old highway crosses the Proving Ground.

Map courtesy of www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org

Duane Carling, president of the Utah Chapter of the Lincoln Highway Association, said the highway represented an attempt to enhance commerce and encourage people to buy cars. Car manufactures and other people with a financial interest in automobiles helped construct the highway.

"People wanted to buy cars, but there were no freaking roads," Carling said.

The Good Year Cutoff, constructed by the famous tire company, probably provided the road infrastructure and a reason the Army chose to construct Dugway Proving Ground there in 1942, said the proving ground’s archeologist, Rachel Quist.

story continues below
story continues below

The wooden bridge is one of the last on the Lincoln Highway. The rest of the cutoff is thought to provide some of the most well-preserved stretches of the original highway.

Command Sgt. Maj. Alma Zeladaparedes greeted the visitors at the bridge. She said the civilians who constructed the bridge and the highway were "warriors" embodying American values.

"We look at every nail, every piece of wood and we see it was placed there by a warrior," Zeladaparedes said.

Carling said Dwight Eisenhower drove over the bridge in 1919 as part of a military convoy. The convoy was testing whether the highway could support the moving military vehicles and supplies across the country. In some places, the convoy collapsed bridges, though it’s not known if the wooden bridge on the Good Year Cutoff held.

Themla Riehle, 66, of Edgerton, Ohio, was among the Lincoln Highway Association visitors Wednesday. She tried to imagine driving the flat, desolate desert highway a century ago.

"Even now, if you don’t have a gas station you’d be pretty stuck," Riehle said.


Twitter: @natecarlisle

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.