In 2009, the Department of Transportation posted a Lincoln Highway sign in the maroon color generally used to denote NYC Landmarked districts at West 42nd Street and Broadway in Times Square. Like Route 66, the old Lincoln Highway has mostly been decommissioned or goes by different names now, but it was once the sole vehicular roadway in the United States connecting the East and West Coasts.

Times Square was originally the eastern terminus of the intertranscontinental highway, which was privately constructed by an association formed by Indiana businessman Carl Fischer beginning in 1913. The 3,389-mile road originally traveled through 13 states, matching the United States’ original complement: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, and California; a 1928 realignment took it through a 14th state, West Virginia. The route can be retraced along existing roads today, mostly along US 30; the government-sponsored state numbered system of roads was instituted in the 1920s, and the US Interstate system in the 1950s. Today the main cross-country Interstate is I-80. The Lincoln was developed in the era before many of today’s bridges and tunnels were constructed, and was carried by ferry across the Hudson River from Manhattan to Weehawken, NJ. The road ended at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor in Lincoln Park, San Francisco, where there is a substantial memorial to it. 

Along the route, statues of Lincoln were installed as well as hundreds of markers, some of which are still in place today. NYC unveiled its sign in 2009, the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth. This is the second sign — originally in capitals, it was changed out for a sign in upper and lower case a few years ago.

Lincoln Highway Association

The Lincoln Highway: Coast to Coast from Times Square to the Golden Gate 

Check out the ForgottenBook, take a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”


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11 Responses to LINCOLN HIGHWAY, Times Square

  1. Peter says:

    There is a section of road north of Lake Superior that is the only road connecting eastern and western Canada.

  2. Andy says:

    Just a minor correction – 2009 was the bicentennial of Lincoln’s birth.

  3. Pete Falina says:

    Lincoln deserved a bicentennial — he was born in 1809.

  4. Larry says:

    Part of the Lincoln Highway runs along the Main Line of Amtrak/NJ Transit towards Philly on the North side of the embankment…..Metuchen, Edison, etc.

  5. Danny S. says:

    The Lincoln Highway was an impressive achievement, but intercontinental it wasn’t – it was entirely within North America. You probably meant transcontinental.

  6. Tal Barzilai says:

    In all honesty, this is the first time I have ever heard of this highway. After clicking the link, I take it that much of it was absorbed into other highways. However, it is nice that where it starts and ends have places to do with Abraham Lincoln, though I’m surprised it doesn’t start by the Lincoln Center. Then again, the Lincoln Tunnel isn’t near it anyway.

  7. Richard says:

    Carl Fischer is also responsible for the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (and the Indy 500) and Miami Beach.

  8. Tal Barzilai says:

    Until now and the link I clicked, I didn’t even know this even existed, though now it has been absorbed into other highway routes either being state or federal.

  9. staten islander says:

    Other ‘forgotten’ routes:

    NY27A – parts of the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn and Queens. Up until about 2000 a lone ‘NY27A’ sign was bolted to the last of the wooden median lightpoles on the Belt near Ocean Parkway.

    NY440 – parts of Drumgoole Blvd and Richmond Avenue on SI. NY440 was re-aligned onto the West Shore Expressway sometime after 1976.

    NY439/NY439A – parts of Victory Blvd and Forest Avenue on SI, as well as a tiny portion of the Belt Parkway near Exit-1. A few ‘NY439’ signs on wooden poles at Exit-1 existed into the 1980s.

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