Throwback Thursday: Lincoln Way/Beach Ave. Intersection


Photo Courtesy of Ames Public Library

Lincoln Way pictured from the east in 1915.

Ian Steenhoek

Lincoln Way at Beach Ave.

Lincoln Way, pictured in 1915 and 1962.

In the photo from 1915, Lincoln Way is pictured from the east. Cottages lie on the right side where Linden Hall is today. Houses lie on the left side of the street where several fraternities are today. 

In the photo from 1962, the Beach Ave. and Lincoln Way intersection is pictured from the west. Period cars are travelling on the road. Maple, Willow and Larch as well as the Iowa State Center have not been built yet. 

Maple and Willow Halls were constructed in 1967, the MWL Commons were constructed in 1969 and Larch Hall was constructed in 1971. 

Iowa State Center, which includes the C.Y. Stephens Auditiorium, Fisher Theater, Hilton Colliseum, Jack Trice Stadium and the Scheman Building, was built between 1969-1975.

Lincoln Way is part of the Lincoln Highway System. This system was intended to be the premiere highway of its time and was to span from New York to California. It was to be paved and free for all to use. 

The Lincoln Highway Association was formed in 1913 to complete this task. Their tasks included funding the operation, selecting the route and paving it. 

The estimated cost of the project was $10 million. Henry Ford notably objected to donating, as he believed the government should pay for the roads. 

After naming the highway in honor of Abraham Lincoln, it was time to select the route.

The route selection was based on the shortest possible route. Cities east of the Mississippi River were more populated at this time, and the their roads were also in better condition.

The LHA opted for a “Trailblazer Tour” due to the inconsistency in road quality west of the Mississippi River. This tour sent out 19 different vehicles to test out several different routes.

Lincoln Way is this route. There have been several changes to the Lincoln Highway System. In Iowa, it utilizes most of Highway 30. Some cities retain the name Lincoln Way despite no longer being a part of the system.