Photo courtesy of: University of Michigan Transportation History Collection Lincoln Highway Digital Image Collection
Envisioned by Carl Graham Fisher, the Lincoln Highway is the world’s largest memorial to President Abraham Lincoln. Fisher was an entrepreneur involved with manufacturing headlights for automobiles. He also developed the idea of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway,® drove the first pace car for the Indianapolis 500® in 1911, and was an early promoter of Miami Beach in Florida.
Partnering with other industry pioneers, including Henry Bourne Joy, president of the Packard Motor Car Company, and Frank Seiberling, co-founder of the Goodyear® Tire & Rubber Company, Fisher imagined the development of a coast-to-coast highway as a way of showing the public that it would be possible for people to drive automobiles long distances.
The Lincoln Highway Association was formed to map out a route from New York City to San Francisco and to gather private donations to be used for road improvements. The goal was to have the highway finished in time for travelers to use it to attend the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, otherwise known as the 1915 World’s Fair.