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the lincoln highway

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The Lincoln HighwayThe horseless carriage rolled onto the American landscape in the 1890s. By 1910 there were more than 450,000 registered automobiles, yet the country still lacked a public road system.

Organized movements for better roads brought issues to the attention of the federal government, which had not participated in major road construction since it funded the National Road project in 1806.

But one particular initiative captured the public's support with a unique idea. In 1913 Carl Fisher—the man who built the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in 1909—and automobile industry leaders chartered the Lincoln Highway Association for the purpose of defining a direct coast-to-coast automobile route.

The LHA's first official act was to delineate a 3,389-mile, 12-state continuous route from New York to California—one that would be passable before the opening of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco. Although not perfect, the thruway was ready as promised, and a motion picture of America's transcontinental highway was shown at the exposition. Over time, the association improved surfaces by using better materials, shortened the driving distance with realignments and published guidebooks about the Lincoln Highway. Automobile touring had never been so good.

Through example, the LHA educated the public as well as state and federal governments about the value of good roads for almost 15 years. The 1919 moving of a military convoy over the “Lincolnway” foretold the utility of an integrated highway system for national defense and interstate commerce.

With the 1921 Federal Highway Act came the funds for states to construct and maintain connecting arteries. Four years later the United States adopted a highway numbering system, and most of the Lincoln route became US 30, 40 and 50. The association disbanded in 1928, but not before it engaged Boy Scout troops across the country to place some 3,000 concrete Lincoln Highway markers along the route in all 12 states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada and California. Many of these markers still exist.

San Francisco's Lincoln Park marked the western terminus of the Lincoln Highway. To get there from the Nevada border, motorists entered California through Truckee and negotiated the Sierra Nevada via historic Donner Pass; an optional route from Carson City took motorists along the southern shore of Lake Tahoe, followed the American River toward Placerville, then went through Folsom. The roads converged at Sacramento and the highway continued south through Lodi to Stockton, west through Livermore to Hayward, then north into Oakland, where a ferry served as the only connector to San Francisco until a bridge was completed in 1936. Another route from Sacramento approached Oakland from the north through Davis and Vacaville.

For more information about the old Lincoln Highway contact the Lincoln Highway Association, P.O. Box 308, Franklin Grove, IL 61031; phone (815) 456-3030.

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San Francisco, CA

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Travel Information

City Population

805,235

Elevation

63 ft.

Sales Tax

State and county sales taxes total 8.5 percent in San Francisco. A hotel room tax of 15 to 15.5 percent also is levied.

Emergency

911

Police (non-emergency)

(415) 553-0123

Hospitals

California Pacific Medical Center, (415) 600-6000; Saint Francis Memorial Hospital, (415) 353-6000; St. Mary's Medical Center, (415) 668-1000; Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, (415) 206-8000; University of California San Francisco Medical Center, (415) 476-1000.

Visitor Information

749 Howard St San Francisco, CA 94103. Phone:(415)391-2000

Air Travel

San Francisco International Airport (SFO) is about 13 miles south near San Bruno off US 101 (Bayshore Freeway); it receives flights from some 50 airlines as well as private charters. Norman Y. Mineta San Jose International Airport (SJC) is about 3 miles northwest of downtown San Jose. Oakland International Airport (OAK) is off I-880 about 10 miles south of downtown Oakland.

Rental Cars

Hertz, with locations at the San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose airports, offers discounts to AAA members. Phone (650) 624-6600 for the San Francisco airport location, (415) 771-2200 for the outlet at 325 Mason St., (510) 633-4300 for the Oakland airport location, (408) 938-6000 for the San Jose airport location, or (800) 654-3080.

Rail Service

For schedule and fare information phone Amtrak at (800) 872-7245.

Buses

Greyhound Lines Inc., (800) 231-2222, departs from Bus Deck Level Three of the Salesforce Transit Center, 425 Mission St.

Taxis

Taxis in San Francisco are metered, with fares averaging about $3.50 for the first one-fifth mile and 55c for each additional one-fifth mile or minute of waiting time. Either phone for a cab or wait at a hotel taxi stand (hailing one on the street often takes time and persistence). Limousine service ranges from $60-$80 per hour.

Public Transportation

San Francisco Municipal Railway (Muni) provides public transportation consisting of buses, streetcars, light rail, trolley buses and cable cars. BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) connects San Francisco with East Bay cities, and passenger ferries link the city with the northern Bay Area.

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