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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Near Mt. Vernon in Linn County, Iowa — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
 

The Lincoln Highway

"Seedling Miles"

 
 
The Lincoln Highway 'Seedling Mile' Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Doda, August 30, 2018
1. The Lincoln Highway 'Seedling Mile' Marker
Inscription.  At first, the Lincoln Highway through Iowa consisted mainly of dirt roads, which were fine when dry but impassable when wet. Motorists were advised against trying to cross Iowa in rainy weather.

The goal of the Lincoln Highway Association (LHA) was an all-weather, concrete highway. Towards that end, LHA devised the "seedling mile" program, which aimed to entice communities on the route to pave mile-long sections of the highway with donated concrete.

Linn County supervisors authorized construction of a seedling mile in 1918. This photo shows the grading of the seedling mile in that same year.

Seedling miles were intended to generate pressure for obtaining further improvements. They were to be located at least six miles from any town, so that motorists, coming and leaving on mud, would get a vivid demonstration of the wisdom of paved roads. Here the cement is laid along Iowa's seedling mile in 1918.

Between 1914 and 1920, six seedling miles were built in Ohio, Illinois (two), Iowa, and Nebraska (two). The earliest ones were only 10 feet wide, but the standard was soon raised to 16 feet and eventually to 18 feet. Iowa's (above)

The Lincoln Highway 'Seedling Mile' Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Doda, August 30, 2018
2. The Lincoln Highway 'Seedling Mile' Marker
was 16 feet wide.

Cement for Iowa's seedling mile was donated by Northwestern States Portland Cement Co. in Mason City, and private subscriptions and county funds completed the funding. This photo shows construction work in progress in 1918.

The seedling mile began two miles west of here, equidistant from Mt. Vernon, Marion, and Cedar Rapids. Work began in August, 1918, and was completed in June, 1919. The finished section (shown here in a 1921 photo) actually fell short of one mile by about two hundred feet.

Although the seedling mile was intended to ignite a demand for more miles of paved highways, the east and west connections to it were not completed for another six years. The connecting road to Marion-Bloomington Road--never was paved, and by 1924, the Lincoln Highway bypassed that city.

The connecting road from Cedar Rapids to the west end of the seedling mile was paved as of October, 1921, but paving of the segment east to the Cedar County line was not finished until July, 1925. As of that date, the Lincoln Highway was paved all the way from Chicago to Cedar Rapids.

This is one of eight exhibits created by the Linn County Historic Preservation Commission for the purpose of interpreting the historical importance of the Lincoln Highway in Lynn County. The interpretive themes and sites of these exhibits (also located by numbers on this map) are

The Lincoln Highway 'Seedling Mile' Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Doda, August 30, 2018
3. The Lincoln Highway 'Seedling Mile' Marker
as follows:

1. A Highway to Honor Lincoln (Lisbon)
2. A Highway of Main Streets (Mt. Vernon)
3. 'Seedling Miles" (Abbe Creek School)
4. Engineering the Highway (Squaw Creek)
5. The Highway through Marion (Thomas Park)
6. Accommodating the Motorist (Lincoln Heights)
7. Promoting the Highway (Haskell Park)
8. The Enduring Lincoln Highway (State Patrol Station)

In 2002, the Linn County Engineer's Office reconstructed Mt. Vernon Road from Mt. Vernon to the western terminus of the seedling mile. The Project destroyed vestiges of the historic roadway, but several aspects of design and materials used in the project attempt to pay homage to the historical significance of the seedling mile. Shown above is the same location photographed in 1928 and in 2006.
 
Erected by the Mt. Vernon-Lisbon Rotary Club. (Marker Number 3.)
 
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: LandmarksRoads & Vehicles. In addition, it is included in the Lincoln Highway 🛣️ series list.
 
Location. 41° 56.511′ N, 91° 27.034′ W. Marker is near Mt. Vernon, Iowa, in Linn County. Marker is on West Mount Vernon Road (County Road E48) 0.1 miles south of Irish Lane, on

The Lincoln Highway 'Seedling Mile' Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Doda, August 30, 2018
4. The Lincoln Highway 'Seedling Mile' Marker
the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 877 W Mt Vernon Rd, Mount Vernon IA 52314, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 6 other markers are within 10 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Uranus (within shouting distance of this marker); William Abbe (within shouting distance of this marker); The Old Military Road (approx. 2.2 miles away); Seedling Mile (approx. 3.2 miles away); Linn County Seedling Mile (approx. 3.4 miles away); Freedom Flame (approx. 9.9 miles away).
 
The Lincoln Highway 'Seedling Mile' Marker image. Click for full size.
By Craig Doda, August 30, 2018
5. The Lincoln Highway 'Seedling Mile' Marker
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on October 19, 2020. It was originally submitted on October 19, 2020, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 48 times since then and 12 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 19, 2020, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. • Mark Hilton was the editor who published this page.
 
Editor’s want-list for this marker. A wide shot of the marker and its surroundings. Clearer photo of marker. • Can you help?
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Mar. 8, 2021