SWEETWATER COUNTY — Get ready for a week’s worth of eating, breathing and talking about the Lincoln Highway at the June 18-21 convention of the Lincoln Highway Association.
The Lincoln Highway was a major transcontinental route that went from New York City to San Francisco, and it was one of many predecessors to U.S. Highway 30 and Interstate 80 in Wyoming. Like Route 66 and other highways, it has an association with several aims that range from identifying, preserving, interpreting and improving access to its alignments to educating the public of its goals to promote the Lincoln Highway.
One way the Lincoln Highway Association promotes the road is through an annual national conference. The event has taken place in Wyoming in Evanston in 2008 and Cheyenne in 1995, and after over a decade it is coming back to the Cowboy State.
The 2019 conference will be in Sweetwater County in less than two weeks, June 18-21, and will consist of the following:
June 18: Conference registration and meet-and-greet.
5:15–10 p.m. — The evening will consist of a meet-and-greet with speakers lined up to welcome guests to Sweetwater County. Then it will be followed by a dinner catered by Old Chicago.
June 19 and 21: Two conference tours and a car show.
For both tours, buses are loading at 7:30 a.m. outside the Holiday Inn in Rock Springs and will depart at 8 a.m. sharp.
The east tour on June 19 will consist of stops at the Fort Fred Steele State Historic Site, Sinclair and Point of Rocks. The west tour on June 21 will go to Evanston, Fort Bridger and Lyman with an optional evening tour in downtown Green River.
On June 19, from 5-8 p.m., there will be a car show in downtown Rock Springs. The Rock Springs Historical Museum will also stay open a little longer than normal for conference attendees and residents.
The tours and dinner can be purchased at the conference’s website, wyominglincolnhighway.wordpress.com.
June 20: Presentations day.
Presentations will take place at Western Wyoming Community College’s Rock Springs campus at 2500 College Drive. It is free to the public and will consist of the following speakers and topics:
9:30 a.m. — Lee Whiteley, Bitter Creek: Wyoming’s Transportation Corridor.
Whiteley will talk about the different forms of transportation that ran through the area, including the Lincoln Highway, which was just one of several “auto trails” to follow Bitter Creek from Point of Rocks through Rock Springs to Green River; the Cherokee Trail, where California-bound gold-seekers took the first wagons along Bitter Creek in 1849; and Ben Holladay’s Overland State Line in 1862. He will also talk about the Union Pacific Railroad tracks that were completed along Bitter Creek in 1868. The corridor was also later used by the first transcontinental U.S. air-mail route in 1920.
10:15 a.m. — Break
10:30 a.m. — Mark Mowbray, The Yellowstone Trail: The Other Old Transcontinental Trail.
There is another transcontinental route — “A Good Road from Plymouth Rock to Puget Sound” called the Yellowstone Trail that began in the same period as the Lincoln Highway, but with different destinations. Mowbray will lead a 24-minute video presentation and discussion.
11:15 a.m. — Nolan Stolz, The Lincoln Highway Suite.
Nolan Stolz is a composer and musical scholar living in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where he is an assistant professor and coordinator of music at the University of South Carolina Upstate. Stolz’s Lincoln Highway Suite commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Historic Lincoln Highway 2013.
Noon — Lunch
1:15 p.m. — Dave Mead, A Photographic Journey: The Lincoln Highway Across Sweetwater County.
Mead will give a tour of the Lincoln Highway across southwestern Wyoming, illustrated by historic photos from the Sweetwater County Historical Museum’s collections and from the Lincoln Highway Association’s archives.
2 p.m. — Jim Bonar, Mormon Handcarts.
Bonar’s presentation will describe the trials, tribulations, and the tragedies that befell several Mormon groups making their way to “Zion” for a better life. Why did they attempt such a remarkable journey, and in such an unorthodox way? And how does their “trail” intersect with the future of the Lincoln Highway?
2:45 p.m. — Break
3 p.m. — Doc Thissen, Concrete & Granite, Stories About Markers Along The Lincoln Highway in Wyoming.
The presentation will cover the markers the Boy Scouts of America placed along the Lincoln Highway in Wyoming and how there was a yearlong delay because of mismanagement and confusion. This will be followed with a look at why it took over two years to get the Henry Bourne Joy monument placed at the edge of the Continental Divide basin in south-central Wyoming.
3:45 p.m. — Michael S. Owen, After Ike: On the Trail of a Century Old Journey That Changed America.
Owen is a retired U.S. ambassador. During his 30 years as a foreign service officer, he worked in numerous countries across Africa and Asia. Now that he’s back home, he’s delighting in traveling around his own country, and has driven over the Lincoln Highway several times. In his new book, he tells the story of the 1919 Army Convoy on the Lincoln Highway.
6:30 p.m. at the Holiday Inn for the awards banquet — Jim Cassler, The Centennial Tour of the 1919 Army Convoy.
Cassler will give a preview of the upcoming commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Army Convoy on the Lincoln Highway. President Dwight Eisenhower served as a lieutenant colonel on the convoy. Old Chicago will cater the banquet.
Before and after the conference, visitors can take optional drives to South Pass City and explore Flaming Gorge Loop.
For more about the LHA, go to www.lincolnhighwayassoc.org or contact LHA Field Secretary Russell Rein at firstname.lastname@example.org or Gregory R.C. Hasman at email@example.com.