Lincoln Highway Ideal Section

Demolished
US Highway 30 Between Schererville and Dyer, Indiana

Photos 

West Point

The historical marker indicates the western boundary of the original Ideal Section. The stretch of road is a major arterial route and was badly in need of updating. Although the road (mostly) still follows the original route of the Lincoln Highway, the original paving is long gone.

The gasoline prices should give you an idea of the age of this photo.

Photo taken by J.R. Manning

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Description 

The Ideal Section of the Lincoln Highway was built to demonstrate what a highway could be. The stretch of highway was paved with concrete, four lanes wide and was lighted, decades before four lane, divided highways became the norm. There is a marker, with a memorial to Henry C. Ostermann, along the right-of-way.

Ideal Section: A Model Highway 

Written by J.R. Manning

In 1912, Carl Fisher, entrepreneur and automobile enthusiast from Indianapolis, Indiana proposed a coast-to-coast paved highway. Fisher had built the Indianapolis Speedway and founded the Indianapolis 500 Automobile Race, so he knew what he was talking about. What he didn't realize is how long the project would take and he greatly underestimated the cost.

Construction began in 1913 and was pretty much completed by 1928. Known as the Lincoln Highway to honor the memory of the martyred President, the Lincoln Highway Association set standards before any government highway standards were proposed.

In 1921, the association proposed an Ideal Section, one mile of paved road to act as a demonstration of what modern highway design should be. The stretch of road was built between Dyer and Shererville, Indiana, just east of the Illinois border. The ideal section was four lanes wide, paved with concrete, lighted and landscaped with a design by noted landscape designer, Jens Jensen.

Today, this critical stretch of road still follows the original alignment of the Lincoln Highway. Badly in need of updating, the Ideal Section was pretty much destroyed. The concrete stringer bridge that carried the Lincoln Highway over Dyer Ditch was also updated. Because the bridge has such a historical significance, local officials allowed the Lincoln Highway Association to commemorate the old bridge with Lincoln Highway indicia and text that indicates that this was once the epitome of highway design, a model for highway designers from around the entire world.

Learn more about the Lincoln Highway Association at their website:

Update Log 

  • May 15, 2011: Updated by J.R. Manning: Added to Seedling Mile category
  • October 13, 2010: Essay added by J.R. Manning

Sources 

  • J.R. Manning - thekitchenguy [at] sbcglobal [dot] net