Road Trip

Culture and Camp Along Lincoln Highway in Pa.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

WHERE: Southern Pennsylvania.

WHY: Drive-through history, a new Gettysburg museum and a gigantic coffee pot.

HOW FAR: About 100 miles from start to finish.

Forget Route 66. Get your kicks on Lincoln Highway, America's original coast-to-coast road.

The epic highway was spearheaded by Carl G. Fisher, an auto magnate from Indiana who funded the road's construction in 1912 with the help of such wealthy donors as Thomas Edison, Theodore Roosevelt and President Woodrow Wilson. The nation's first transcontinental roadway linked New York's Times Square to Lincoln Park in San Francisco with nearly 3,400 miles of sand, gravel, clay and brick. Known as "Main Street Across America," it ribboned through 14 states and 128 counties, connecting more than 500 cities and towns.

In Pennsylvania, Old Lincoln Highway spans the width of the state, connecting Philadelphia to the west via a historic conduit that is today's U.S. Route 30. In 1995, a 200-mile swath was designated the Lincoln Highway Heritage Corridor, a living museum running through five counties. The corridor has 75 points of interest on or near the mostly two-lane road. Some of the stops are cultural or historical, such as Gettysburg National Military Park; others trade in roadside camp, such as Mister Ed's Elephant Museum, home to Miss Ellie Phant, a talking pachyderm.

-- Ben Chapman

© 2008 The Washington Post Company