SWEETWATER COUNTY — A vintage travel guide gives fresh insight into life on Wyoming’s roads a century ago. The original Lincoln Highway extended across the United States from New York City to San Francisco through 13 states and more than 125 counties, including Sweetwater County.
Dedicated on Oct. 31, 1913, the route was different from today’s coast-to-coast U.S. Highway 30 and Interstate 80 corridor. Instead of modern pavement, the Lincoln Highway was little more than a series of dirt and gravel roads.
“A Complete Official Road Guide of the Lincoln Highway” was published by the Lincoln Highway Association, then headquartered in Detroit, Michigan. The traveler’s handbook described the entire route, beginning with its earliest years. It provided geography details and list of noteworthy businesses.
For example, from Point of Rocks to Rock Springs, the pavement was described as a good graded road except for a 7-mile stretch between Point of Rocks and Thayer Junction. When travelers reached Rock Springs, they encountered a community with a “splendid” graded gravel and shale road, three hotels and four garages.
Recently, the Sweetwater County Historical Museum staff reviewed a copy of the guide’s 1918 edition, particularly its description of traveling across Sweetwater County, as part of a research project.
A free informative color brochure about the original Lincoln Highway’s route from Green River to Little America, created by the Wyoming Department of Transportation, is available at the museum at 3 E. Flaming Gorge Way, Green River.
The Lincoln Highway Association, a group dedicated to promoting and preserving the highway’s legacy, will host its annual national conference in Rock Springs on June 18-21. For more details, go to wyominglincolnhighway.wordpress.com.